G-Jo point No. 2 is located on the outer arm near the crook of the elbow.
PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
There are four things that can turn a wonderful hike into
an absolutely miserable experience: sunburn, bug bites,
poison ivy, and twisted ankles. At home, such ills might
seem like small inconveniences, but when one is dealing
with backpacks, bedrolls, and the thought that there are
long miles to go before the itch or pain is relieved, even
minor troubles can become major psychophysical health
problems to all but the heartiest of trekkers.
Fortunately, there's a drugless, immediately effective
method of relieving those problems, as well as about 250
other ailments and injuries we're likely to encounter
during our lives. It's called G-Jo.
A Brief Overview
G-Jo (which means "first aid" in Chinese, but is actually
much more than just an interesting first aid method) has
two simple operating rules: Find the right acupressure
points to relieve your symptom(s), and stimulate that point
Of course, in order to find the correct spot, you'll first
need to know which of the 116 G-Jo points is best for your
problem, and then you'll have to determine its precise
location. [EDITOR'S NOTE: Each G-Jo point is detailed in
The Natural Healer's Acupressure Handbook: G-Jo Fingertip
Technique, available at many bookstores or libraries]
Generally, there are several of the pinhead-sized areas
that—when stimulated—will relieve a symptom,
and it's not unusual to have as many as 15 or 20 to choose
from ... one or two of which will be profoundly effective.
To Hit the Spot
In order to locate a specific pressure point—for example,
G-Jo No. 2, an excellent choice for relieving the
discomforts of poison ivy, sunburn, and other minor burns
or skin irritations—you'll need to use the tip, not
the pad or fleshy part, of your thumb or finger. Begin by
probing as deeply as you can in the appropriate area—in the case of G-Jo No. 2, on the outside of the arm at the
end of the crease found at the crook of the elbow. First,
though, straighten your arm and relax it, since it's much
more difficult to locate a point if the area's muscles are
tense. Now, with the tip of the thumb—using your left
digit if you're probing your right arm and vice
versa—poke around deeply until you discover a very
tender "ouch" spot.
A G-Jo point will, when pressed, produce a unique feeling
somewhat akin to the throb of a pinched nerve or toothache.
Probing an area even as little as 1/4 to 1/2 inch away will
cause a vastly different sensation. In addition, a good
point will often make you break out in an immediate flush
of perspiration—or create a sudden sense of
relaxation or feeling of warmth—when it's deeply
While each G-Jo spot is located in a different part of the
body, the rules for finding and using the points are
generally the same. First, locate the proper place with a
deep, probing pressure from the thumb tip, the bent
knuckle of the index finger, or even the end of a
pencil, pen, etc. (you can use anything that's not sharp
and that can safely generate up to the 20 pounds of
pressure needed to find some of the points). Then stimulate
it with a deep, digging or goading massage. Get in there
and really work the point around! Usually, just 15 or 20
seconds of this admittedly sometimes painful process will
be enough to bring profound relief.
Remember, too, that most G-Jo points are stimulated
bilaterally; that is, after you've found and goaded a
point on one side of your body, you should duplicate that
procedure on the opposite side.
A Few Rules to Observe
If, then, you can tolerate the few seconds of
toothache-like throbbing—a pain that often
actually "hurts good"—you'll have a sure-fire
"anesthetic" that you can employ anytime relief from
discomfort is needed. However, there are a few people who
shouldn't use this technique: specifically pregnant women,
patients suffering from severe heart problems, and folks
who wear pacemakers. Such men and women should generally
avoid G-Jo, except in times of emergency.
Furthermore, folks who do use acupressure should observe a
few precautions. For example, don't employ G-Jo
within several hours after taking drugs, medications,
alcohol, or other intoxicants. Don't use a point that lies
beneath a scar, mole, wart, or other blemish (try another
spot, instead). Wait for about half an hour before using
G-Jo if you've just taken a hot bath, eaten a heavy meal,
or done strenuous exercise. And, if you find you have to
restimulate a point more than four or five times a
day—or use G-Jo for a problem for more than four or
five days in a row—recognize that either you're using the
wrong spot or your illness/injury is beyond the scope of
acupressure, and it's time to see your doctor.
Banish Bug-Bite Bother
There are two good pressure points for dealing with painful bee stings or yellow jacket stings. The first
one (which I used successfully to help a young boy who'd
been attacked by a swarm of angry hornets) is G-Jo No. 20.
The spot is found along a diagonal line between the crown
of the inner ankle and the tip of the heel. Press deeply,
and you can't miss it. Stimulate this point immediately
after getting stung or bitten. Then—if the pain
returns later—simply repeat the procedure as soon as
you notice the discomfort returning!
Your goal, of course, will be to give yourself increasing
spans of relief between necessary restimulations. One or
two massages will often completely eliminate the pain of an
injury (that was the case with the boy's hornet stings) ... but, occasionally, it will take a few more applications
than that. You should get at least an hour's relief from
minor symptoms after the first stimulation, if you've used
the right points properly.
The second bug-bite relief spot—G-Jo No. 24—is also located
on the foot and is useful in relieving sunburn, too! You'll
find it on the outside edge of either foot, just in back of
the bulge that's directly behind the little toe. (Run the
tip of your thumb or finger back from the little toe around the bulge, then dig in!) This spot will be
particularly tender if you're suffering from either sunburn
or bug-bite pain, and is, therefore, usually not hard to
Soothe a Sprain
G-Jo No. 72 is a good point to use for twisted or swollen
ankles. It's found about two inches—twice the width of your
thumb, actually—above the crown of the inner ankle bone on
a vertical line slightly behind that bony bulge. If you
twist or sprain your ankle, immediately reach for that
point and goad it. And don't forget, if you notice any
discomfort returning, to be sure to restimulate the same
spot right away.
The "Point" of the Matter
Summer's warm weather provides many opportunities for most
of us to get out and about, and such outdoor activity,
coupled with the hazards that accompany the sunny season,
can sometimes result in problems. But you can handle
summer's itches and minor ills without resorting to
drugstore sprays or stomach-harming medicine chest tablets.
The key to quick and effective relief often lies in simply
helping your body ease its own aches and pains!