How to Use Reflexology to Relieve Shoulder Pain, Tension, and Tightness

Want natural relief from shoulder pain? Learn how to massage your feet so that you can heal faster and be pain-free. The Chinese Reflexology point for the shoulders is incredibly powerful for releasing tension and tightness in your muscles, and it’s great for all types of shoulder pain from an uncomfortable morning crick to an old injury.

Let’s face it. Shoulder pain sucks!

The pain often creeps up your neck or spreads down your back and arms, and that’s a total pain (bad pun intended). Shoulder pain is a burden that nobody should have to shoulder (whoa, two bad puns back to back!).

So if you’re feeling the pain, the burn, or the ache, I’m actually really excited that you’re reading this webpage because you are about to learn how to rub your feet to help relieve your shoulder pain.

Traditional Chinese Medicine Perspective on Pain

In Chinese Medicine, pain is often the result of stagnant qi (life force energy) and blood. When qi and blood are not flowing smoothly through an affected area, this leads to stabbing and throbbing pain—the kind you’d experience from an injury.

It gets a little more complicated when it comes to chronic shoulder pain because there are usually underlying energy disharmonies that make a person more susceptible to experiencing shoulder pain. The qi disharmonies can result in an inadequate flow of blood through the body and over time, this insufficiency can shortchange the body of the nourishment it needs to keep its physical structures strong and healthy. Qi and blood disharmonies can also result in inflammation, which makes the body more susceptible to experiencing pain.

And did you know that there’s even an energy meridian that zigzags right through your shoulders? That would be the Small Intestine meridian. If something is out of balance in this meridian, it can affect your shoulders, too.

While the energetic roots of shoulder pain can be quite complicated, the treatment can be quite simple. For acute injuries, acupuncture is highly effective at breaking up areas of stagnant qi and blood so that everything is flowing smoothly again.

For chronic pain, a holistic approach of strengthening and balancing the body’s energy meridians is very beneficial. That’s a little bit out of the context of this article. But if you are interested in learning more, I’d recommend looking into my online programs or picking up a copy of my new book, Sole Guidance: Ancient Secrets of Chinese Reflexology to Heal the Body, Mind, Heart, and Spirit.

Regardless of whether your shoulder pain is acute or chronic, there’s a brilliant reflexology point to reduce the pain and help your body heal.

The Amazing Chinese Reflexology Shoulder Point

The first time I ever helped someone heal with Chinese Reflexology happened while I was massaging their shoulder reflexology point. When I was a student of Chinese Reflexology, my teacher, Dr. Gilbert Tay, asked us to bring a friend to class so that we could practice on them.

I was massaging the feet of the girlfriend of one of the other students. When I got to her shoulder reflexology point, she winced in pain because the point was really sensitive. It turned out that she had woken up that morning with a pain in her shoulder.

I asked her if she would mind if I gave her shoulder point some extra massage. She was game. Even though she squirmed uncomfortably and was in pain from the point that was supposed to help her pain (isn’t that ironic?), she bravely tolerated the massage. And then an amazing thing happened.

After I stopped massaging her shoulder point, she suddenly sat straight up and exclaimed that her shoulder pain was gone. Dr. Tay casually looked over and remarked, “Many miracles happen here.”

If you suffer from shoulder pain, whether it’s mild or intense, acute or chronic, you can improve the flow of qi and blood through your shoulders so that your body can heal itself and you too, can be free from pain. You can get started by learning how to locate and massage the Chinese Reflexology shoulder point.

How to Locate the Reflexology Point for the Shoulders

shoulder reflexology pointThe shoulder point is located on the sole of your foot just below the pinky toe. It’s shaped like a rectangle where the upper portion of the area corresponds to the upper part of your shoulders (close to the base of your neck), and the lower portion corresponds to the lower section of your shoulders, closer to the shoulder blades. There’s a shoulder reflexology point on each foot, and the left foot is for the left shoulder and the right foot is for the right shoulder.

How to Massage the Chinese Reflexology Shoulder Point

To massage the shoulder point, use your thumb pad to rub the area in an up and down direction where up is towards the tip of your toes and down is towards the heel of your foot. Because this is a fairly well padded area on the sole, you’ll need to use a firm pressure—like what you’d use to try to scrub away crayon marks from the dining room table. (Note to new and aspiring parents: only buy washable crayons for the first five years of your kid’s life!)

You can massage this point for 30 to 60 seconds per foot. As you massage, gently roll your shoulders if you can do this without intense pain. The movement helps direct your qi and blood to flow to your shoulders. If you notice a point on the reflexology area that feels extra sensitive, press into the point with your thumb and massage in a circular motion for a few extra seconds.

The “Interesting” Emotional Roots of Shoulder Pain

Shoulders are interesting because oftentimes, shoulder pain is self-inflicted. And no, I’m not talking about literal self-flagellation, but instead about how we hold tension in our bodies based on the choices we make, the thoughts we think, and the activities we do.

For example, staring down at your cell phone for hours is terrible for your posture. Sitting at the computer for long stretches is a strain on your neck and shoulders (whoops, guilty as charged!). And allowing ourselves to get busy and overworked is a recipe for serious tension in our necks, shoulders and upper backs.

When we take everything onto our own shoulders, this burden creates tightness in our shoulders and may even cause us to stoop over from the emotional and mental load. If you’ve got shoulder pain, it would be a good idea to look at where you may be feeling weighted down in your life. What can you change so that you feel more supported and less like the one who is doing all the supporting?

The Chinese Reflexology shoulder point is a great way to remind yourself that you don’t have to look after everything by yourself, and that it’s okay to take a rest and drop the load. The world won’t fall apart and if it does, it’ll just be by a little bit :). But you’ll feel so much lighter and refreshed so that you can take on the world again and maybe, just maybe, give yourself a break and look for ways to ease your burden.

If you have chronic shoulder pain, it would be very beneficial to massage your shoulder reflexology point for a few seconds here and there throughout your day—and there’s a shoulder reflexology point on your hand so you can do this anytime, anywhere.

As you massage the reflexology point, imagine healing light flowing through your shoulders. When this becomes a regular practice, you’ll be sending healing qi and blood on a regular basis to your shoulders. This helps release tension and tightness, and supports your body’s natural healing process so that you can be free from shoulder pain. Why not start right now? :)

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