Sore throats are uncomfortable, especially when speaking or swallowing. Western medicine attributes sore throats to infections such as the cold or flu. In Chinese medicine, sore throat is known as a “hot” symptom, and the pathogen is “wind-heat.” In this article, I’ll tell you about 5 effective acupressure points for sore throat.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) otorhinolaryngology studies ear, nose, and throat diseases under the guidance of TCM principles and teaches that these sensory organs are connected to various internal organs. The throat, for example, is connected to the stomach, lung, and spleen. Not surprisingly then, the acupressure points for sore throat are along the long intestine and lung meridians.
In addition to acupressure for sore throat, it is recommended that you drink peppermint tea and eat cooling fruits such as oranges and other citrus. You should also avoid dairy, sugar and sweets, and rich or fried foods. You should also get plenty of rest, particularly in warm clothes and blankets to promote sweating. This will allow the body to expel the pathogens causing the sore throat.
While acupressure for sore throat is effective, you should also know when to consult your physician. If you have an extremely high fever, a fever that lasts more than three days, you develop wheezing, or it becomes difficult to breathe, you should go to the doctor.
If you are using our Dragon Acupuncture ear seeds, do not forget to check out this free ear seed placement chart for sore throat.
Can Acupuncture Help Sore Throats?
Yes. According to a 2015 study published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, “Compared with usual treatment, battlefield auricular acupuncture was associated with reduced sore throat pain for 24 hours and decreased use of pain medication for up to 48 hours.” Battlefield auricular acupuncture is a method of applying treatment to specific points in the ear to treat acute pain from various ailments. Its purpose is to balance the flow of qi, or energy, within the body.
Another randomized controlled trial showed that balanced acupuncture can relieve sore throat in acute pharyngitis patients. Balance acupuncture used acupuncture stimulation of bilateral “Yantong” acupressure points for sore throat.
5 Acupressure Points For Sore Throat
1. Acupoint: LI-1 (Other Names: Large Intestine-1/Shang Yang/Metal Yang)
- Acupuncture Point: Large Intestine 1 (LI 1, LI1)
- Chinese Name: shāng yang
- English Name: Metal Yang
The LI1 pressure point for sore throat is located on the radial end of the distal phalanx of the index finger, 0.1 cun from the corner of the nail. It is classified as the Jing-Well point of the large intestine meridian. The Jing-Well points are a subset of the five Shu points. They are located on the tips of the fingers and toes. This is where the channel’s qi begins and moves toward the trunk of the body.
Its indications include sore throat, toothache, fever-induced coma, fingertip numbness, and deafness. It functions by clearing heat and stagnation from the opposite end of the channel, reviving consciousness, calming the spirit, and treating fullness below the heart.
Because this acupressure point area is so limited and not convenient to use massage manipulation methods, TCM specialist Mr. Mengfei (Devin) Yuan recommends to use the finger nail or one toothpick to press the acupressure point gently for 3-5 minutes until you feel like some liquid is hydrating your throat.
Together with the PC 9 acupuncture point, they are the favorites of many office workers.
2. Acupoint: LU-11 (Other Names: Lung-11/Shao Shang/Lesser Metal)
- Acupuncture Point: Lung 11 (LU 11, LU11)
- Chinese Name: shào shāng
- English Name: Lesser Metal
The second of our acupressure points for sore throat is LU-11. It is located on the radial side of the thumb, 0.1 cun from the corner of the nail bed. Like LI-1, it is the Jing-Well point of the lung meridian. Its indications include sore throat, cough, nosebleed, fever, coma, manic disorders, and fingertip numbness. It functions by expelling interior and exterior wind, which benefits the throat, clears heat, and resuscitates.
To stimulate this acupoint, Dr. Mengfei (Devin) Yuan suggests that you also use the same massage method applied to LI-1. In addition to this, he advises that you press the point, to strengthen the function, using the 3 edged-needle to bleed a few drops of blood. This can get a quick but satisfied result.
3. Acupoint: LU-7 (Other Names: Lung-7/Lie Que/Broken Sequence)
- Acupuncture Point: Lung 7 (LU 7, LU7)
- Chinese Name: liè quē
- English Name: Interrupted Sequence
The third pressure point for sore throat is LU-7. It is located on the radial margin of the forearm, above the styloid process of the radius, 1.5 cun above the transverse wrist crease. According to Dr. Mengfei (Devin) Yuan, to find this point quickly, cross the thumb and index finger of one hand with those of the other hand; the point lies on the edge of the index finger, in the depression point between the sinew and the bone.
Lie Que is classified as a Luo-Connecting point of the lung meridian, which means that it can communicate with two meridians. In addition to treating conditions on both meridians, these points can also be used to treat chronic diseases, particularly those of Zang-Fu organs. LU-7 is also a master point of the Ren meridian which, when coupled with KD-6, treats genitourinary and gynecological problems. It is also a command point for the head and neck.
When used in acupressure for sore throat, LU-7 expels exterior wind, which helps with body aches, chills, fever, runny nose, scratchy throat, and sneezing. As you’ll recall, sore throat is a symptom of “wind-heat” pathogens. It also functions by releasing the exterior, helping descend lung qi, and it benefits the neck area and bladder.
Other indications include head and neck problems, migraines, neck rigidity, facial paralysis, toothache, cough, asthma, nasal problems, urogenital system problems, abdominal distention, and weakness of the thumb and index finger.
Dr. Mengfei (Devin) Yuan advises that pressing this point or pushing this area with the pulp of the other thumb or index finger for 5-10 minutes can relieve sore throat.
It is also one of the most used acupressure points for the immune system.
4. Acupoint: LI-4 (Other Names: Large Intestine-4/He Gu/Joining Valley)
- Acupuncture Point: Large Intestine 4 (LI 4, LI4)
- Chinese Name: hé gǔ
- English Name: Junction Valley
Located on the dorsum of the hand, between the first and second metacarpal bones, in the middle of the second metacarpal bone on the radial side, LI-4 is classified as the Yuan-Source point of the large intestine meridian. This means that, in addition to being one of the great acupressure points for sore throat, it is important in the treatment of diseases related to internal organs. This is where the primary qi of the Zang-Fu organs passes and stays.
It functions by expelling wind and releasing the exterior, as well as tonifying qi and strengthening immunity. Additionally, it stops pain, regulates the head and face area, and can be used to induce labor.
LI-4 is very common and useful, particularly for wind-heat conditions like the flu or sore throat. It is the pain point for the entire body. Wherever there is pain, LI-4 can be used for treatment.
According to TCM, LI-4 and the spleen 5 acupuncture point is frequently used to detox different organs.
5. Acupoint: LI-11 (Other Names: Large Intestine-11/Qu Chi/Pool at the Crook)
- Acupuncture Point: Large Intestine 11 (LI 11, LI11)
- Chinese Name: qū chí
- English Name: Pool at the Bend
Our final pressure point for sore throat is LI-11. It can be found at the lateral end of the transverse cubital crease, halfway between LU-5 and the lateral epicondyle of the humerus. Due to its near location to the epicondyle, Dr. Menfei Yuan upholds that it is the main point to treat epicondylitis
Meanwhile, in addition to the treatment of sore throat, LI-11 can be used to treat fever, malaria, hemiplegia, shoulder and knee pain, headache, dizziness, redness, and swelling of the eye, blurred vision, toothache, irregular menstruation, rubella, eczema, urticaria, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, depressive psychosis and madness.
It functions by clearing heat, cooling blood, resolving dampness, expelling exterior wind, regulating qi and blood, activating the meridian, and relieving itching.
It is classified as a He-Sea point, which is where the meridian’s qi collects and goes deep into the body. These points treat rebellious qi as well as diarrhea.
LI-11 is also typically used in reflexology for arthritis.