Acupressure for Cough

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All people occasionally cough in response to irritation of the respiratory system. Persistent and repeated coughing, such as that which accompanies certain diseases, infections, and other physical abnormalities, can lead to pain and damage to respiratory tissues. Acupressure, an ancient Chinese form of physical therapy, has long been used to alleviate a variety of recurrent conditions, including disorders of the respiratory system like repeated coughing. Though Western medicine is currently unsure how acupressure functions on a physical level, Chinese medicine experts regularly recommend acupressure or acupuncture to relieve coughing and other respiratory conditions.

How to Use Acupressure to Relieve Coughing
Acupressure is based upon the same system of diagnosis and treatment as acupuncture; only it is performed without the use of needles. The most basic method of using acupressure is to locate an appropriate acupressure point, which is a node on a pathway of energy through the body, and apply pressure using the tip of the finger, the knuckle or a soft rounded object, such as a pencil eraser. Pressure is usually applied for 1 to 3 minutes.

Acupressure points are named for the part of the body they correspond to or their function, rather than the part of the body where the point is found. For instance, an acupressure point commonly used for cough is "Wind Gate," Chinese term "Feng Men," which is located on the upper back about two inches left of the spine and level with the lower border of the second thoracic vertebrae. The acupressure point is also known as BL-12 or "Bladder 12" because it is part of a energy pathway that Chinese medicine doctors believe connects to the urinary bladder organ. In this case, BL-12 is named in relation to the concept that "wind" entering in this upper back region carries pathogens that cause illness into the body, hence the name Wind Gate.

Other acupressure points known to help with coughing include:

Broken Sequence (Lie Que), located towards the outer edge of the right wrist on the radial side of the arm. Used for coughing and other respiratory problems and related to the Lung meridian. Also known as Lung-7 (LU-7).
Great Abyss (Tai Yuan), located just below the base of the thumb on the radial side of the arm. Indicated for coughing, chest congestion, and general lung weakness. Also known as Lung-9 (LU-9).
Lung Shu (Fei Shu), located on the upper back, below the Wind Gate point and level with the third thoracic vertebrae. Indicated for coughing, cold and flu, and other respiratory problems. Also known as Bladder-13 (BL-13).
Wind Mansion (Feng Fu), located in the center of the back of the neck, along the spine and immediately below the base of the skull. Indicated for cold and flu and also effective for persistent cough. Also known as Governing Vessel-16 (GV-16).
Abundant Bulge (Feng Long), located at the midpoint of the lower leg, two fingerbreadths lateral to the shinbone (tibia). Indicated for clearing cough with copious phlegm and fullness in the chest. Also known as Stomach-40 (ST-40).
What is Acupressure?
Medical manuscripts indicate that Chinese healers have been using acupressure for at least 3000 years to treat a variety of physical and emotional ailments. The technique is closely related to acupuncture, which is based on the same underlying theory, but uses needles to puncture the skin rather than applying pressure.

In traditional Chinese medicine and philosophy, the body is envisioned as a series of "energy channels" called meridians, which connect the body’s organs and other systems into a coherent unit. Each energy channel is a pathway for "qi" or "vital energy," which is believed to be an essential component of physical, emotional and spiritual function. It is believed that applying pressure to certain points (acupressure) or piercing the points with needles (acupuncture) alters the pathways of qi and has corresponding effects on the body.

Some Western medical specialists reject the Eastern view of acupuncture and acupressure because medical science has been unable to demonstrate the existence of "qi." However, research indicates that acupuncture and acupressure can alter levels of neurochemicals, which are chemicals that flow through the bloodstream and regulate a variety of bodily processes. Therefore it is also possible that by altering body chemistry, acupressure can have a physical effect on the body.

Experiments indicate that acupressure is highly effective at relieving stress but also has significant effects on certain nervous, circulatory and respiratory problems. Some medical professionals have suggested that, by simply reliving stress, acupressure may have peripheral effects on the body, relaxing and easing tension in the organ systems. Some Western physicians agree that by relaxing the lungs, the diaphragm, and changing body chemistry, acupuncture can have a significant effect on respiratory ailments.

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