By Kathleen Regan, ND

Spring is a natural time for detoxification. The warming weather provides a supportive environment to detoxify without putting too much strain on the body. The natural warmth in the spring/summer environment supports the organs of detoxification especially the digestive system and kidneys that are most sensitive to cold temperatures. Detoxification in the spring and summer rather than the winter prevents injury to these systems according to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) theory.

The internal organs that are most responsible for effective detoxification are the liver, kidneys, digestive system, lungs and skin. While nutrition and supportive supplements are the mainstays of most detoxification programs, lifestyle choices and supportive therapies are also important to help the body flush toxins.

For example, TCM cupping and acupuncture can be helpful in supporting the removal of toxins from our bodies. Where daily acupuncture is not be possible during a detox program, acupressure may be used.

Acupuncture and acupressure are both techniques rooted in TCM that involve stimulating specific points on the body to promote healing and well-being. While acupuncture requires a registered provider, acupressure can be done in the comfort of your own home and is a great addition to self-care in detoxification programs.

The 4 main points which are supportive of detoxification include:

Liver 3: Located on the top of the foot in the depression between the big toe and the second toe, this point is believed to promote liver health and remove stagnation or blockage from the system. It is a strong point and sometimes gentle massage is as effective as an acupuncture needle.

Liver 3 Acupressure Point Location Visual

Large Intestine 4: Found on the hand in the mound between the thumb and index finger, this point supports the large intestine and helps relieve constipation. Moving the bowels is an important part of any cleanse. On a side note, this point is also used to relieve headaches, shoulder and neck tension. Apply pressure lightly as too much pressure may cause dizziness.

Large Intestine 4 Point Location Image

Spleen 6: Situated on the inner side of the leg, about four finger-widths above the ankle bone, SP6 is believed to support the spleen, liver, and kidney functions, which are vital for detoxification.

Spleen 6 Acupressure Point Location Visual

Kidney 3: Located in the depression between the inner ankle bone and the Achilles tendon, this point supports the flow of energy and liquids through the body.

Kidney 3 Point Location Visual

Stomach 36: Situated on the front of the leg below the knee, about four finger-widths from the kneecap, ST36 is believed to harmonize digestion, transform toxins (dampness) and expel pathogens. Overall, this point will strengthen the body’s energy and ability to cleanse.

Stomach 36 Point Location Visual

To practice acupressure effectively:

Locate the Points: Use diagrams or guides to find the acupressure points relevant to your needs. These points are often located along meridians, or energy pathways, throughout the body.

Apply Pressure: Using your fingers, thumbs, or palms, apply firm pressure to the chosen acupressure points. Start gently and gradually increase pressure to a comfortable level.

Focus and Breathe: As you apply pressure, focus your attention on the point and take slow, deep breaths. Relaxation is key to allowing the body to respond positively to acupressure.

Massage or Hold: You can massage the point in a circular motion or simply hold steady pressure for 1 to 2 minutes, or until you feel a release of tension. Apply pressure to each daily.