Can Applying Pressure to the Hand Relieve Pain?

Posted on Jun 26, 2013

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, a study led by researchers at the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine examined the potential pain-relieving effects of applying pressure to the “hegu” point on the hand, located between the thumb and forefinger.

While the details of how hegu pressure works, research suggests that it may increase blood flow to the face and stimulate endorphins to relieve pain. Ting Bao, the study’s author and an oncologist and medical acupuncturist at the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center in Baltimore, suggests that hegu “’takes the edge” off acute pain.

The Journal explains how to manually manipulate your own hegu point:

To manipulate your own hegu point, acupuncturists say to put a thumb on top of the fleshy part between the thumb and forefinger of the opposite hand. Place your forefinger on the other side of the hand and press hard. If you're doing it right, it will hurt, Dr. Bao adds. 

To read the full Wall Street Journal article, click here.