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Acupressure for Knee Pain

By Tracey Roizman, D.C. ; Updated August 14, 2017

Acupressure is a convenient and gentle therapy that is similar to acupuncture in philosophical approach. The only significant difference is, that acupressure does not use needles. Acupressure offers relief for many conditions and knee pain is one of them.

Useful Points

A point called Calf's Nose, at the outer part of the front of the knee, below the kneecap, will relieve stiffness and rheumatism. An inch below that, a point called Sunny Side of the Mountain, relieves muscular tension. Three Mile Point, located another inch down, is good for strengthening the entire body. On the back of the knee, points located on the inside and outside of the popliteal fossa, the depression that appears when the knee is bent, known as Commanding Middle and Commanding Activity, are also helpful for stiffness and pain.


Depending on convenience or desired effect of raising or lowering energy levels in the points, various combinations of contact and pressure types can be applied. If the knee is difficult to access for self treatment or if a more advanced approach is desired, an individual should seek the services of a trained and licensed professional.

The Free Dictionary describes three point contact techniques. Tonifying is a technique for raising the energy at a point; it uses sustained, somewhat deep pressure held for up to two minutes. Dispersing is a method of releasing excess energy where it has become stagnant and is accomplished by counterclockwise rotation of the contact. Calming is done by using a stroking motion with the palm of the hand.


Acupressure works on many levels to bring relief of symptoms. The analgesic, or pain relieving, benefits of acupressure have been well documented. A study published in the January 2004 European Journal of Anesthesiology found that acupressure had similar analgesic qualities to general anesthesia. Patients with occlusive artery disease enjoyed improved blood flow to the lower limbs in another study, published in the January 2007 journal Surgery Today. Using acupressure to relieve muscular tension at the knee can also help by normalizing both knee and hip function, Some of the muscles that attach at the knee have their origins at the hip, and when the hip works better, less stress is transferred to the knee.


Practitioners should avoid excessive pressure when treating acupressure points. Stimulation of a contact point should be strong but not uncomfortable. Treatment sessions should not take place immediately prior to or following heavy exercise or meals. A relaxed setting is best, preferably with the patient seated or lying down. Patients should not discontinue prescription medications when starting an acupressure program. Unlicensed persons should be aware of state laws governing the practice of medicine and limit practice to family and friends in circumstances where practicing on the public is illegal.


Each acupressure point has a variety of different effects. Practitioners should not use points that may cause uterine contractions if the patient is pregnant, even if those points are being used for another purpose. Emergencies or serious conditions warrant immediate medical attention. Where the skin overlying a point is damaged or weakened in any way, such as cuts, bruises, moles or scars, those points should be avoided and replaced with other suitable points.

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