Acupressure is like acupuncture, sans the needles. Instead, manual pressure from the fingers is applied to specific points on the body. Acupressure follows the principles of acupuncture in traditional Chinese medicine: The important acupressure points lie on the 14 or more meridians that connect the organs to other parts of the body. And because they are interconnected, pressure may be applied to the legs or foot to relieve pain in a faraway part of the body, such as the head.
The acupressure point to target for the benefit of the spleen is the SP6 or san jin yao point. It is one of the most multifaceted acupressure points for spleen health. SP6 is used for urological and pelvic disorders, insomnia, and menstrual cramps. It is also the most sought-after acupressure point because it intersects with the liver and kidney channels, hence its other name, the "three yin intersection." SP6 can be activated to address several disorders, such as digestive, gynecological, and urinary disorders. It can also address mental (anxiety) and sleep disorders.
Applying pressure to SP6 improves overall wellness and also helps in reducing stress, because the liver and spleen meridians are the most affected by feelings of pressure and stress. SP6 can also address gynecological issues (PMS, irregular menstruation) in women and reproductive health problems (impotence, seminal emission) in men. When used in conjunction with the stomach 36 points, SP6 resolves digestive issues that cause diarrhea, abdominal distention, or poor appetite. (Related: Acupressure therapy can be used to restore hormonal balance; here are some acupressure points to try.)
SP6 can be found on the inside of the leg, located just above the ankle. To find the right point, look for the highest peak of the ankle and move two four-finger-widths up. Apply deep pressure just behind the bone for four to five seconds. SP6 should not be activated by pregnant women as it may trigger labor.
The spleen is located above the stomach and under the rib cage, in the upper left portion of the abdomen. It is the largest organ in the lymphatic system, which is a network of tissues and organs that helps get rid of waste. This system is also responsible for transporting monocytes throughout the body.
The spleen consists of two types of tissue: The red tissue, which filters blood and eliminates old or damaged red blood cells, and the white tissue, which consists of immune cells that fight infection. Without the spleen, the immune system becomes considerably weakened and the body will be susceptible to harmful diseases.
Spleen injuries, although not as common as bone fractures or sprains, are also a product of contact sports. When the spleen gets lacerated or ruptured, it can cause internal bleeding, which becomes life-threatening without urgent medical care. The spleen can also get enlarged (splenomegaly) as a result of infections, blood disease, or cancer. These factors can also contribute to the removal of the spleen.
In its absence, the liver and lymph nodes take over the spleen's duties, but they cannot support the immune system the way the spleen does. Spleen removal results in a weaker immune response against all kinds of infections. Therefore, it is in everybody's best interest to take good care of their spleen.