This Self-Care Tip Helps Remove the Root of Disease

As a practitioner of traditional Japanese acupuncture, I pay attention to the patient’s abdomen as part of diagnosis and treatment at each visit. Patients who have been intrigued by this and are invested in optimizing their health have chosen to practice daily handwork on their own abdomens and have impressed me with the results.

The abdomen is important to pay attention to for two reasons in particular. 1) If the abdomen is harmonized (has uniform temperature and texture) despite the presence of symptoms, then prognosis is good and the effects of acupuncture will be more easily sustained. 2)  If the abdomen is not harmonized and the symptoms are relieved, prognosis is poor and further treatment is required to prevent the return of symptoms.

Patients enjoy the following 5 minute handwork practice as is gives them a stronger awareness of their qi and further, an awareness that they are improving the flow of their own qi.

Do this practice while lying down in order to relax the musculature of the abdomen.


  • With the tips of the middle three fingers on each hand, gently but firmly press down in the soft area below the breast bone while exhaling. With curiosity, allow the finger tips to look for any tenderness or tension as they sink as deeply as is comfortable.
  • Gently but firmly massage any tender or tense areas, knowing that you are liberating stagnant qi as you do so. Once liberated, this qi is free to flow in the body once again, optimizing your health.
  • Slowly release the pressure as you inhale, allowing the finger tips to rise to the superficial level.
  • Move the finger tips about an inch further down the mid-line and continue in the same manner until you reach the pubic bone.
  • After completing the vertical line from the sternum to the pubic bone, go to the navel and move in a similar way from the navel to the right side of the waist and then from the navel to the left side of the waist. (It does not matter whether you do the left side or right side first.)
  • After completing the horizontal line at the level of the naval, continue doing handwork in this way around the perimeter of the abdomen, following a circle that includes the tissue just inside and under the border of the rib cage, the tissue just inside and under the border of the pelvis, and along the waist (the sternum is at 12:00, the pubic bone at 6:00 and the sides of the waist at 3:00 and 9:00).


Let your fingers look for the tender or tense areas each day as you begin your handwork and notice how these areas change over time. If you find many little pebbles (or contractions) in the beginning, six weeks of daily handwork will erase these, liberating your qi for improved symptoms and optimized health.