Chinese Massage for A Good Night’s Sleep 

 September 17, 2019

By  Juli Kramer, PhD

Our minds are bombarded with thoughts all day. What will my boss think? What time do I pick up the kids? How bad will traffic be? What should I make for dinner? In addition to these daily thoughts, we worry about the past, the future, people we love, and even people we barely know. Judgments of self and others, negative thoughts of different shapes and sizes also flood our minds.

Our thoughts and sleep

According to Chinese medicine, overthinking prevents a relaxed state, which in turn affects our sleep. Sometimes it means we cannot fall asleep easily. Other times it means that we wake in the middle of the night and our thoughts start racing. Label it what you will – insomnia, restlessness, difficulty falling asleep – our minds cannot settle and allow us to get the rest we need. In previous articles, we explain how imbalances in Yin and Yang prevent us from calming and having a good night’s sleep. These imbalances also lead to overthinking. Specific foods can help bring the body back into balance (links to articles on food at the bottom of the page). Chinese massage can also help bring the body into balance, AND calm the mind. A calm mind and balanced body can help you sleep better and stay healthy.

Chinese Massage for Sleep

When you massage, you are massaging the outer body. However, according to Chinese medicine and meridian theory, you also affect how Qi and Blood flow throughout the entire body, including internal organs and the brain. You can feel an immediate sense of calm and release when massaging specific points, because you are releasing blocked energy. This sense of calm can help slow the chatter in your mind, preparing you for sleep. Not only do you calm the mind, you calm the spirit, leading to better well being.

Step-by-Step Guide to Chinese Self-Massage Techniques

Perform the following Chinese massage techniques before bed. You might want to practice during the day a few times, so you are familiar with each technique.
Massage the eyebrows moving from the inside out using the index finger second knuckle
  • Bend fingers on both hands
  • Place the bent knuckle of the index finger on the inside of each eyebrow (left on left and right on right)
  • Swipe from the center of the brow to the outside of the brow
  • Repeat 30 times
Massage the temple in a circular motion using the thumb
  • Place right thumb on right temple
  • Massage in a clockwise circle 30 times
  • Repeat on the left side
Massage the scalp moving in a circular motion from front to back
  • Place fingertips on your forehead (left thumb on right temple, and right thumb on right temple)
  • Knead for 2 seconds
  • Sweep fingers of both hands upward to the top of the head
  • Repeat 30 times

Learn more

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Juli Kramer, PhD

Dr. Juli Kramer earned her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, with a cognate in Counseling Psychology and her M.A. in Psychology. She has a diploma in Chinese Medicine Nutritional Therapy, and certificates in Chinese medicine from Dr. Zhang Yifang, Shanghai World Hospital, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. With over 30 years of experience as an educator, Dr. Kramer founded Radiant Shenti to teach people how Chinese medicine (TCM) can help them lead healthy, happy, and long lives.

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I would like to thank you for... the course. It's very much what I need to accomplish my health goals. So much is explained and I truly need the movement exercises to loosen up my body.



From doing qigong, my energy is flowing in a new way and I am finally able to let go of what I no longer need and release the thoughts that were the source of my neck and head pain. I am grateful for the peace I feel knowing I have overcome a lifetime of anxiety and anger for assuming responsibility for the pain of others.



I always feel that I have to push myself, work up a big sweat when that is really not anywhere in my comfort level. I’ve always done a slow and steady form of exercise and thank you for confirming that that was a good thing to do!


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