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By P. Sze | Last updated: December 16, 2022

7 Important Acupressure Points For Heart Palpitations You Can Use In Emergency


Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Quyen Le

Dr. Quyen Le is a qualified doctor of medicine in Traditional Medicine. She graduated from Hue University of Pharmacy and Medicine in Vietnam in 2019 and currently works at Danang Traditional Medicine Hospital, a Traditional Medicine hospital in Da Nang, Vietnam.

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Have you ever felt your heart beat so fast that it felt like it could’ve exploded out of your chest? Most likely, you were experiencing heart palpitations. During one of these episodes, we often are more aware of our heart beating than usual, which can induce significant anxiety for many. However, please be reassured that this is a common phenomenon and doesn’t always signal a more serious underlying condition. Unless your condition worsens, there isn’t any specific medical intervention for the occurrence of palpitation. To ease your nerves, you can consider treating acupressure points for heart palpitations

What Is The Main Cause Of Heart Palpitations? 

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Heart palpitations occur when it feels like your heart is fluttering, beating fast, pounding, or skipping beats, whether you’re active or at rest. Sometimes you can also feel them in your throat and neck alongside your chest. Although they’re harmless for the most part and often go away on their own, it can still be extremely worrisome to feel your heart rate suddenly elevate. Palpitations can arise due to various reasons, including: 

  • Stress or anxiety
  • Physical activity
  • Caffeine, nicotine, cocaine, amphetamines, pseudophedrine (common in cold and cough medications)
  • Changes in hormone levels during menstruation, pregnancy, or before menopause
  • Fever
  • Abnormal electrolyte levels

Occasionally, there is a small chance that palpitations could be a sign of a more serious heart condition. It is highly recommended that you consult a physician if you experience difficulty breathing, dizziness, chest pain, and/or fainting. 

Can Acupuncture Help Heart Palpitations?

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For thousands of years, acupuncture has been used to treat a variety of health conditions and diseases. In this traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practice, professional acupuncturists pierce the skin with thin needles at strategic “acupuncture points” (also known as acupoints) around the body. These acupoints are believed to lie in energy channels that flow throughout and connect different parts of the body. Any disruption in the energy flow results in pain, disease, and other abnormalities. Acupuncture aims to remove energetic blockages by stimulating various acupoints. 

While acupuncture is still relatively new to Western medicine, more studies over the years have shown that it can improve your overall health. A study from UCLA showed that acupuncture treatment significantly improved heart health and stress levels in heart failure patients. In a disease like heart failure, the sympathetic nervous system (a group of nerves that regulate life-dependent body processes) is on overdrive. In this environment, the heart is forced to work harder, making these people more vulnerable to serious heart rhythms. After acupuncture treatment, they found significantly reduced sympathetic nerve activation. Although this is a promising first step, more research is still needed to substantiate these findings before acupuncture can be recommended as an official treatment for improving heart health

Can Acupuncture Cure Heart Palpitations? 

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In TCM, it is believed that heart palpitations are a result of disturbance of the shen, Qi, and blood deficiency and Fire due to Yin deficiency. Blood loss, chronic diseases, weakness, and overthinking can damage the normal production of Qi and Blood. Chronic disease and too much sexual activity could deplete the Kidney Yin and cause Water to not be able to harmonize with Fire. The Heart Fire can then disturb the shen. Other causes of palpitations include dirty water stagnation and chronic Spleen and Kidney Yang deficiency. 

Treatment of heart palpitations through acupuncture is commonly done and can be effective, but the science still has yet to fully back this up. One promising study from 2012 found that treatment of the Neiguan spot, one of the acupuncture points for heart palpitations, resulted in anti-arrhythmic effects on patients with both persistent and paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. Based on the data, there is no evidence so far that acupuncture can cure heart palpitations, but it may be helpful for those who suffer from the condition. 

Does Acupressure Work For Heart Palpitations? 

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If you’re not yet ready to commit to acupuncture treatment, acupressure for heart palpitations is a similar alternative that doesn’t involve needles and can be done by yourself at home. It is similar to acupuncture in that it is based on the same theories and principles of qi. In treatment, you are also targeting the acupressure points for heart palpitations, but instead of using needles, you are applying firm direct pressure and massage at each acupoint. Even though acupressure is increasing in popularity as a form of treatment for many conditions, there is not enough scientific evidence to substantiate the results. However, a study from 2019 determined that treatment of the acupressure points for heart palpitations helped to decrease heart rate and the systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels in patients with atrial fibrillation. While this does not prove that acupressure works for heart palpitations in all instances, it doesn’t hurt for you to try.

Acupressure Points For Heart Palpitations

Acupoint: PC-6 (Other Names: Pericardium-6/Nei Guan/Inner Pass)

Acupoint: PC-6 (Other Names: Pericardium-6/Nei Guan/Inner Pass)

PC-6, also known as “neiguan” or “inner gate”, is located on the anterior forearm, three finger-widths above to the wrist crease, between the two tendons. According to Dr. Quyen Le, PC 6 is an important point to move Qi and Blood in the chest, calm the Shen, calm the mind and reduce anxiety. This way, it can help to regulate the heart rate. PC-6 is also very helpful in treating insomnia, nausea and vomiting.

Acupoint: HT-7 (Other Names: Heart-7/Shen Men/Spirit Gate)

HT-7, also known as “shenmen” or “spirit gate”, is located on the crease of the inner wrist and below the pinky finger. It is known to nourish the qi and blood in order to strengthen the heart for relief of heart palpitations and anxiety. Additionally, it is also one of the acupressure points for hot flashes.

Acupoint: PC-4 (Other Names: Pericardium-4/Xi Men/Xi-Cleft Gate)

PC-4, also known as “ximen” or “xi-cleft gate”, is located on the anterior forearm, about seven finger-widths above the wrist crease. Dr. Quyen Le confirms that its primary clinical usage is for heart palpitations and cardiac pain as it helps cool and move the Blood, remove Blood stagnation, and calm the Shen.

Acupoint: Ren-12 (Other Names: The Conception Vessel-12/Zhong Wan/Middle Epigastrium)

Ren-12 is also known as “zhongwan” or “middle epigastrium.” Dr. Quyen Le explains that it is located on the upper abdomen, at the midpoint of the line connecting the bottom of the sternum and the belly button. While it is one of the 10 best acupressure points for weight loss, ren-12 indirectly helps with heart palpitations by calming down feelings of anxiety and worry.

Acupoint: LI-4 (Other Names: Large Intestine-4/He Gu/Joining Valley)

He Gu

LI-4, also known as “hegu” or “joining valley”, is located on the dorsum of the hand, radial to the midpoint of the second metacarpal bone. According to Dr. Quyen Le, this acupuncture point is a yuan-source point of the Yang-ming meridian, rich of qi and blood. It strongly moves the qi and blood in the body. Clinical evidence shows that LI-4 brings relief to stress and reduces the heart rate. Besides, LI-4 is also useful for any condition related to the face and head, and it is also known as the pain point of the body.

Acupoint: Ren-17 (Other Names: The Conception Vessel-17/Shan Zhong/Middle of the Chest)

Ren-17, also known as “shanzhong” or “middle of the chest”, is located at the center of your chest, on the sternum, at the same level of the nipples. Ren-17 is a powerful acupoint for heart health and releasing anxiety and fear. When stimulated, it is believed that it helps free the heart of tension and connect the heart to the rest of your being. It is also known as one of the acupressure points for asthma.

Acupoint: Bl-14 (Other Names: Urinary Bladder-14/Jue Yin Shu/Absolute Yin Transporter)

Bl-14, also known as “jueyinshu” or “absolute yin transporter”, is located below the fourth section of the thoracic spine and about 1.5 cun lateral to the spine. It helps to regulate the Heart for cardiac pain and palpitations. It is also one of the acupressure points for bronchitis.

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P. Sze

P. Sze

P. Sze is the founder of TCM Tips and Dragon Acupuncture®. She graduated from the National University of Singapore with a first-class honor in Civil Engineering. She also holds a master’s degree in Engineering and is the brain behind the innovative TCM products of Dragon Acupuncture®. She is the author of The Beginner's Guide to Auricular Therapy: Application of Ear Seeds (ISBN 978-1520451398) and Facial Gua Sha - Fight the Signs of Aging Naturally and Inexpensively (ISBN 978-1980678922). She has dedicated her life to ensuring that the complex theories behind oriental medicine and the seemingly dangerous techniques that involve needles and fire do not scare you from trying oriental medicine. This is why she writes endlessly about acupressure and its countless health and wellness benefits.

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