How to work on acupoints


Cindy working with a student to locate and work a point

How to massage or apply pressure to acupoints (acupressure points) is a bigger question than it seems.

I received an email today from someone asking this question – I am posting our exchange as I know so many people wonder the same thing.
I started to work on my body (using pressure on acupoints)  and I’m not sure if my work is correct.
Should I simply press the point or massage it?
My response:
How to work with the points is a big question!
Use a combination of your linear mind to locate the point precisely, then use your ability to feel and sense (your intuitive mind) to contact the point. Sometimes you will feel drawn to holding deep pressure without movement, sometimes you will want to add a little circular motion. Sometimes you will be drawn to use lighter pressure with or without movement. This develops with practice.
The main guideline is to never cause pain or contraction. When you get it right you will notice yourself taking a deep, easy breath, relaxing, and calming down. When you work on other people watch for these signs in them.
So, practice as much as you can both on yourself and on others. Ask them what they are feeling and what type of pressure feels better to them. Do they prefer deep or light pressure, movement or contact without motion?
Getting the correct method with different people requires talking and listening to each other. You need to know what they are feeling in order to make adjustments, and you need to watch their breathing pattern to notice if it changes.  If they look tense and are taking short breaths, that usually means they are in pain, so lighten your pressure and ask them to tell you when you get the pressure just right.
“Getting it just right” is a lifelong skill that evolves with practice and patience.  Enjoy your practice!
Here is a video I made with a little more information on feeling and locating acupoints:

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Cindy Black

Cindy Black is the Founder of Big Tree School of Natural Healing and the author of Meridian Massage, Pathways to Vitality. She is appreciated for her ability to make the complex accessible, fun, and practical.


  1. Sandra Hurst on January 19, 2016 at 5:33 am

    Thankyou Cindy …love your work. Do you have any printed manuals or books for location of the points. I prefer easy visual locations for my study in printed form. Thankyou so much Sandra

    • Cindy Black, L.Ac., LMT on January 19, 2016 at 9:05 am

      Hi Sandra,
      I am in the final stages of publishing a book – shouldn’t be too long now

  2. Cathi on July 7, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    Thank you so much, Cindy, for sharing this great tutorial. Where were you when I was in massage school 10 years ago and sooo confused???
    Appreciate you!

    • Cindy Black, L.Ac. on July 7, 2014 at 12:34 pm

      🙂 10 years ago I was spinning around trying to figure this out! I’m glad to hear this helped.

  3. Mikki on July 3, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    OK…though I don’t do confusion very graciously or easily, I am beginning to see how amazing this meridian work is. Thank you so much for putting this info out there Cindy.

    • Cindy Black, L.Ac. on July 3, 2014 at 2:57 pm

      Happy to hear this Mikki! Keep practicing and you will “get it”.

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