The Five-Minute Qigong Solution for Neck and Shoulder Pain

Qigong is the Chinese art of energy cultivation for health and longevity and is practiced by millions of Chinese people every day. Qigong includes gentle movements, meditations, and self-massage techniques.

The most popular forms of qigong in the US are tai chi and acupressure. Acupressure uses the same energy meridians and points as acupuncture, but rather than inserting needles into the skin, acupressure only requires finger pressure. In addition, you can safely practice acupressure on yourself.

The following qigong routine for neck and shoulder pain should take no longer than five minutes and should be repeated several times a day as needed.

(1) If you are primarily experiencing neck pain or a stiff neck, stimulating the acupuncture point Luo Zhen could be the only thing you need for relief. According to this article "Luo Zhen is the name of an acupuncture point used specifically for a stiff neck. The point is found on the back of the hand in between the two bones in the depression just past the knuckles of the pointer and middle finger. Massage the point on the opposite side of the body from the neck pain. If the right side of your neck hurts, massage the point on your left hand." (60 seconds.)

Luo Zhen acupuncture point.

(2) According to the book Acupressure's Potent Points, by Michael Reed Gach PhD, "Curve the fingers of both hands and place them on the tops of your shoulder muscles close to the base of your neck. Gradually apply firm pressure directly on your shoulder tension." (This is acupuncture point GB 21.) (45 seconds.)

GB 21 acupuncture point.

(3) "Curve your fingers and place all of your fingertips on the thick, ropy muscles of the back of your neck." (This is acupuncture point B 10.) (30 seconds.)

B 10 acupuncture point.

(4) "Use your thumbs to press underneath the base of your skull into the hollow areas on either side, two to three inches apart depending on the size of your head." (This is acupuncture point GB 20.) (This point is also recommended by Dr. Maoshing Ni in Secrets of Self-Healing.) (45 seconds.)

GB 20 acupuncture point.

(5) "Use your right thumb to press GV 16 in the center hollow at the base of the skull. Use your left thumb and index finger to press B 2 in the upper hollows of the eye socket near the bridge of the nose." (30 seconds.)

GV 16 acupuncture point.

(6) "Place your right index, middle, and ring fingertips on the top of your left shoulder (GB 21) [see above], and your left fingertips on the outside of your right upper arm (LI 14) and press both points. This is a powerful combination for relieving chronic shoulder tension." (30 seconds.)

LI 14 acupuncture point.

(7) According to the book Buddhist Healing Touch, by Ming-Sun Yen M.D., Joseph Chiang M.D., and Myrna Louison Chen, "In order to treat neck or shoulder pain, apply heavy pressure to the area 2-4 cun [inches] above the elbow crease in line with your thumb on the affected side. Use the second and middle fingers of the other hand. You should distinctly feel soreness and pain while applying pressure. While pressing on these points, keep moving the neck or shoulder until you feel relief." (60 seconds.)

There are several different ways to stimulate acupuncture points. The first method is with gradually increasing pressure. The second is by massaging with pressure. The third method is to gently touch the point, relax the whole body, and try to direct energy into the point. Try all three methods to see which one you prefer. You will be surprised at the different sensations these methods can create.