If you’re looking to boost your metabolism and you already eat healthy foods and exercise regularly, you might benefit from acupressure. This traditional Chinese therapy helps to increase the flow of qi—or vital life energy—throughout your body, allowing all your organs to function more efficiently and making sure you get the most value out of the food you eat.
Unlike Western medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, or TCM, views metabolism as the smooth and abundant movement of subtle energies, or qi, throughout the body. The spleen governs the distribution of qi, while the liver ensures that everything flows smoothly. Injury and stress can disrupt the flow of qi, but certain emotions are often the culprit in harming individual organs, according to the Confucious Institute Online. The spleen is especially affected by worry, and the liver is irritated by anger. As you work on your metabolism, strive to avoid or purge these emotions.
What you eat is as important as how well your body absorbs and distributes qi, according to TCM. You derive 70 percent of the qi your body uses from food, according to Dr. Jeorg Kastner, doctor of acupuncture and author of “Chinese Nutrition Therapy.” To boost spleen qi, eat warming, slightly sweet foods like yams, cooked grains and seafood. Warming spices like ginger and cinnamon help the spleen to work more efficiently. Avoid raw vegetables, especially during winter. To help your liver, eat simple, lightly spiced dishes that aren’t too rich or heavy.
Qi circulates throughout the body through energy channels called meridians. Each meridian corresponds to a different internal organ. Pressure points lie on the meridians. When you massage a point in a small circular motion, you release any blocked qi on the meridian, and release tension in the related organ. When you press and hold the point, you draw qi more abundantly into the channel, invigorating the organ, according to the website Eclectic Energies.
Balance your spleen qi by massaging the spleen point located above the ankle bone on the inside of each leg, advises the website Yin Yang House. Place your forefinger on the middle of the ankle bone. Measure four finger widths up. Probe the area until you locate a tender spot. Massage, then press and hold the spot to restore the flow of qi to your spleen. To combat liver qi stagnation, massage, then press and hold the depression between the big toe and second toe on each foot. This area is home to points called the Great Surge and Moving Between. They can help with headaches, irritability and poor circulation to the hands and feet—all signs that your liver is not working efficiently.
Probe for points in natural dips formed by tendons and bones. If your qi is blocked, you may feel a sharp twinge when you find a point, advises PointFinder, the acupressure website of the Standford School of Medicine. Use a firm pressure while massaging the point in small circular motions for one to two minutes, then press and hold the point. When working on spleen qi points, you may experience a rumbling stomach, feel warmer in your hands and feet and your head might become clearer. These are all signs that the acupressure is working.