Integrative Medicine Blog

Point of the Month: Transforming Food to Nutrients with Acupressure

Christopher Reilly L.Ac., MSA Sunday, March 06, 2016
Istock stram acpuressure digestion

Acupressure tips to help promote healthy transformation of food into nutrients.

As many of us know from experience, eating the right food is not always a guarantee of healthy nutrient levels in the body. Once we swallow our food, a lot has to happen before our cells are provided with essential vitamins, amino acids and carbohydrates. The body has to transform that food from foreign substance, to human sustenance.

This process is the job of the earth "element" in acupuncture. That refers to earth as in soil, not planet earth. Soil takes fallen leaves, animal remains and waste, rain and many other factors into itself, and they are transformed there into nutrients that will feed the next season's growth. It is a fine metaphor for what our digestion does within our bodies.

To promote the healthy transformation of food into nutrients, try this acupressure approach. You will need to know two points: the 12th and 6th points of the Ren channel. Ren 12 is located in the center line of the abdomen halfway between the belly button and the lower edge of the breast bone. Ren 6 is also along the center line about two inches below the belly button.

Calm your mind. Engage with thoughts and feelings of gratitude for all the work your body does, and that you are now taking the time to support your whole being. Warm your palms by rubbing them together, then put your right palm over Ren 12, and your left over Ren 6. Feel the warmth of your palms at each point, and let that spread inward to fill the G.I. tract with warmth and positive intention. Feel the warmth from you hand at Ren 12 moving to connect with the warmth of Ren 6 to form a continuous whole. Enjoy that for as long as you wish.

Next, gently move your hands in a clockwise direction beginning from the lower right side of your abdomen (at a level once again about 2 inches lower than the belly button), up towards the lower border of the rib cage, across to the left side lower border of the rib cage,to the lower left abdomen, and back to complete the circle on the right lower abdomen. Gently circle nine times, then return the palms to Ren 6. You can enjoy the warmth and connected feeling of the entire abdomen before opening your eyes to return to your day, or closing them to enjoy a nap!