Feet Tired and Achy? Learn the Top Stress Relief Foot Massage Pressure Points for Instant Relief!

Stress is considered a widespread pandemic worldwide. Many people still associate stress with mere mental irritation, but in reality, stress involves chemical reactions that affect all the systems in the body. It should be noted that stress per se isn’t detrimental to health but rather a defense mechanism that shifts our attention and prepares our body to take action in case of imminent danger. On the other hand, stress sustained over long periods undermines health and performance. Chinese medicine offers an organic option for releasing daily tensions with stress relief foot massage pressure points that you can do at your home.

What Causes Stress?

Whereas stress itself isn’t bad, sustaining stress regularly can lead to dysregulation of the human body and brain. This experience of being exposed to multiple stressors and not turning off the physiological responses efficiently lead to allostatic load and overload. Allostasis is the active process involving the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal gland axis responsible for hormone secretions and the autonomic nervous system, the immune system, and the metabolic system. All these systems must work together in a non-linear manner to maintain a relatively stable equilibrium.

According to Chinese medicine, stress sustained over long periods leads to wear and tear of the Liver, Heart, Spleen, Kidney, and all other organs. According to the Five Phases theory, these organs, or zangfu, are responsible for non-linear metabolic functions, immunity, and involuntary physiologic processes. Therefore, stress management, according to TCM, can be done by integrating daily therapy with pressure points to relieve stress that will help to regulate the dynamics of qi which become disrupted through stressful states.

Why Keeping Your Feet Warm Is Important From TCM’s Perspective?

Photo by Alex Geerts on Unsplash

Traditional Chinese medicine is based on prevention medicine. The yin-yang paradigm is related to the body’s balance between Heat and Cold. The feet pertain to the yin, and the head to the yang. Since the feet are already yin by nature, they tend to be cold. To avoid this, we must keep our feet warm in our daily lives.

Does Acupuncture Cure Stress?

Acupuncture can definitely help to get rid of stressful states and allopathic overload. The scientific community has been committed to understanding the complex physiological mechanisms behind acupuncture for the past decades. As a result of this, there are many studies out now on the effects of acupuncture on patients with stress, anxiety, depression, etc.

One study at China Medical University has shown how acupuncture reduces the corticotropin-releasing hormone’s biological actions, which are directly responsible for the body’s response to stress. This study carried out in mice revealed that acupuncture recovered the gastrointestinal motility that was attenuated by the release of corticotropin-releasing hormone.

Although there’s still a long way for science to explain thoroughly how acupuncture works, Chinese medicine won’t need to wait since it has always been practical medical knowledge and has thousands of years of supporting evidence. You can carry on with your therapy using stress relief foot massage pressure points at your home. Make sure that you consult with your doctor in case you feel unwell. You can also check out the back massage pressure points for stress relief.

Below are the 6 pressure points in your feet that you can use easily at home.

Acupoint: Liv-3 (Other Names: Liver-3/Tai Chong/Supreme Rush)


Acupoint: Liv-3 (Other Names: Liver-3/Tai Chong/Supreme Rush)

You can find this point on your both feet, in between the big toe and the next toe, approximately 2 cm from the web.

Liv-3 is a command point to treat stress among all stress relief foot massage pressure points. Liver Qi Stagnation is the primary syndrome corresponding to stress in Chinese medicine. In TCM, the Liver is the first organ to be affected by stress and Liv-3 is the best point to resolve the Stagnation in the Liver caused by stress. This point affects the parathyroid, pancreas, and ovaries. It’s an excellent acupoint for reducing severe PMS and the anxiety and depression related to it. Liv-3 is also among the acupressure points for anger.

Massage this acupoint applying firm pressure for about ten minutes. You can moderate the pressure if painful.

Acupoint: KI-1 (Other Names: Kidney-1/Yong Quan/Gushing Spring)

This point is located on the sole, in the slumpy area formed when you flex your feet.

KI-1 is the only acupoint located on the soles of the feet. It brings about the earth element energy. Applying heat to this point strengthens the entire body. This acupoint is known for ‘returning the unrooted back to its source’. It refers to the Heat and Fire that naturally tends to ascend to the upper parts of the body, causing headaches and irritation when the body is worn out by stress. You can combine this point with pressure points on the head to relieve stress for an enhanced synergic effect. Heat thermotherapy at this point has a hypotensive potential. KI-1 is also among the acupressure points for menopause.

You can heat up this point using a warm receptacle or deep your feet in warm water for about ten to fifteen minutes daily.

Acupoint: SP-4 (Other Names: Spleen-4/Gong Sun/Grandfather Grandson)

In the depression distal and inferior to the base of the first metatarsal bone, at the junction of the red and white skin.

SP-4 is widely used in the treatment of emotional disorders such as Mania-depression and lack of motivation and hope for the future. Gonsun, as this point is known, is also very effective in treating gastrointestinal problems that are common symptoms of stress such as epigastric pain, distention, borborygmus, oesophageal constriction, etc. SP-4 is also one of the acupressure points for Spleen inflammation.

In a comfortable position, use your fingers to press on this point for a few seconds and then release it. Repeat this procedure for about three minutes on both sides.

Acupoint: Liv-4 (Other Names: Liver-4/Zhong Feng/Middle Margin)

You can find this acupoint on your ankle, just in front of the prominence of the medial malleolus, in the significant hollow in the middle of the tibialis anterior tendon when your ankle is extended.

This point is especially recommended for Liver Qi Stagnation, which manifests with symptoms in the lower abdominal region, such as pain and swelling in the navel area, difficulty defecating, and discomfort after eating. Besides its actions in the lower abdomen, the ability of Liv-4 to treat Liver Qi Stagnation due to stress extends to the chest, being useful in people with excessive sighing, or “sighing as if [the patient is] about to die”.

Press the spot where this acupoint is located using your fingers for a few seconds, then release it and repeat the procedure for about three minutes.

Acupoint: KD-6 (Other Names: Kidney-6/Zhao Hai/Shining Sea)

This point is located between the tibialis posterior tendon and the flexor digitorurn longus tendon. By flexing and inverting the foot, these tendons may be highlighted.

This point is the best stress relief foot massage pressure points point of the Kidney channel to nourish the yin aspect of Qi. When there’s a lack of proper sleep, the yin gets consumed, giving rise to many problems ranging from agitation to infertility. KD-6 is known as the “joyous sleep” acupoint because sleep is regulated by nourishing the Kidneys and recovering the yin/yang balance. The Kidneys in Chinese medicine are responsible for sexual development and KD-6 point releases sex hormones, regulating menstruation and increasing fertility. In addition, KD-6 is one of the acupressure points for menstrual cramps.

In a comfortable position, use your fingers to press on this point for a few seconds and then release it. Repeat this procedure for about three minutes on both sides.

Acupoint: SP-3 (Other Names: Spleen-3/Tai Bai/Great White)

This acupoint is located on the inner side of your foot, inferior and proximal to the first metatarsal joint, where the red and white meat meet.

This point is handy when feeling heavy and low energy, even when eating well. It is the tonification point of the Spleen channel. In TCM, the Spleen is responsible for the digestion and absorption of nutrients. It is said that when excessive mental activity is sustained over long periods, the Spleen gets affected, causing further weakness due to poor digestion. This point is essential to strengthen the body, improve the quality of Blood, calm the mind, and promote vitality. SP-3 is one of the acupressure points for skin inflammation.

In a comfortable position, use your fingers to press on this point for a few seconds and then release it. Repeat this procedure for about three minutes on both sides.


Stress sustained over long periods leads to chronic allostatic overload, a state of dysregulation of the brain and body that leads to a lack of energy, poor immunity, and metabolic function. Stress relief foot massage pressure points can help reduce stress and re-establish homeostasis when properly stimulated daily. Also, if you’re suffering from anxiety, you can check this article on acupressure points to release anxiety attacks.

  • Liv-3 is the command point to release tension and the sensation of anxiety due to stress.
  • KI-1 is a rooting acupoint that strengthens the body and has hypotensive properties.
  • SP-4 balances the emotions of demotivation and hopelessness and treats gastrointestinal problems.
  • Liv-4 treats symptoms in the lower abdominal region and excessive sighing.
  • KD-6 nourishes Qi’s yin aspect, helping with insomnia and releasing sex hormones.
  • SP-3 is a tonification point of the Spleen, improving digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Author: 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. S he 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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