Acupressure has been used for about 2,000 years in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). It’s like acupuncture without the needles. It targets specific points on your body to release energy and facilitate healing.

In the case of erectile dysfunction (ED), experts say this form of self-massage can improve your sexual health.

Acupressure releases energy blocks in the body via pathways called meridians. Blockages in these meridians can lead to pain and illness. Using either acupressure or acupuncture to help release them can correct imbalances and restore wellness.

“Acupuncture and acupressure work by stimulating both the nervous system and the vascular system,” according to Dr. Joshua Hanson, DACM, of Hanson Complete Wellness in Tampa.

Hanson says that, much like pharmaceuticals, these approaches can cause blood vessels to dilate. This allows for an erection to occur.

One of the benefits of acupressure is that you can do it at home by yourself.

Acupressure involves applying firm pressure to specific points throughout the body. Practice at home by taking these steps:

  1. Begin by relaxing, taking several deep breaths.
  2. Find the pressure point and apply firm pressure for 30 seconds to one minute before moving on to the next.

Tip: Use small circular motions on each pressure point. The pressure should be firm, but make sure it’s not so strong that it causes pain.

The pressure points useful for the treatment of ED include:

Ht7 (wrist)

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Ht7 is at the crease of your wrist. It aligns with your pinky and is about one finger’s width in from the edge.

Lv3 (foot)

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Lv3 is on the top of your foot between your big and second toes, about 2 inches down.

Kd3 (ankle)

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Kd3 is above your heel and on the inside of your lower leg, near your Achilles tendon.

Sp6 (ankle/lower leg)

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Sp6 is on the inside of your lower leg and four fingers’ width above your ankle bone.

St36 (Lower leg)

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St36 is on the front of your lower leg about one hand’s width below the knee and on the outside of your shinbone.

Other areas

Acupuncturist Dylan Stein says other areas benefit from self-massage.

“Massaging the lower back and sacrum is very good for ED,” he says. “You can also massage the same area on the front, from your belly button to the pubic bone.”

Stein says acupressure and acupuncture are just a few solutions. For his patients, he often recommends methods such as mindfulness meditation along with diet and lifestyle modifications.

Hanson takes a similar approach, suggesting that patients avoid highly processed foods, eat plenty of healthy foods, and exercise regularly.

It’s important to be assessed by your doctor if you have problems with ED. Tell your doctor about complementary therapies you are trying like this one.

An acupuncturist can amplify the benefits of at-home acupressure, according to Stein. He adds that acupuncture is more powerful than self-massage techniques.