kidney beans

Q. My fibromyalgia causes me chronic pain, which makes it very hard to sleep. If I can get to sleep at all, I’ll wake every hour, go to the bathroom and just maybe drop off to sleep before I have to get up again.

You cannot fathom the impact of your simple suggestion about applying kidney bean pressure to the sleep acupressure point in the wrist. I devised a wristlet by cutting a piece from an Ace bandage to go around my wrist twice. I closed the ends, forming a doubled circle, and in between the layers, sewed a toggle button (a one-inch barrel shaped button with a metal eye in its center for sewing).  This slips over my hand easily, and once the button is positioned over the acupressure point, it does not stray.

This simple device puts me to sleep in a few short minutes and I do not wake more than twice during the night. Sleep is so essential to making fibromyalgia a livable condition.

A. People with fibromyalgia frequently have a hard time getting the restful sleep they need. This sets up a vicious cycle of pain and insomnia.

We are pleased that the acupressure approach worked for you. We first learned about this more than a decade ago when a reader told us that he taped a dry kidney bean between the two tendons on the inside of his right wrist. It seems he was using an acupressure point called the “Inner Gate” that is said to promote sleep.

There is more information about using acupressure and other natural approaches to counter insomnia in our Guide to Getting a Good Night’s Sleep.  There is also additional information about the link between fibromyalgia and sleep or our radio show about how to manage chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia (#724) with Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum.

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  1. AJP

    We have found it works best when the pressure is applied to both wrists.. that’s why the SEA BANDS work so great —hard to do that with just your hands!

  2. AJP

    Sorry, the earlier post should have said 2 finger WIDTHS above the wrist crease. My fingers are kind of large, so a small/thin fingered person might want to place it 3 finger widths above that crease. It really does work well.

  3. Cindy M. B.

    I am yet in the dark re the proper point to apply the acupressure! Like, (1) I assume the “inside’ of the wrist to be the inner side when looking down at the backs of the hands? (2) “Three finger widths from the ‘wrist crease?'” Is that where the wrist mainly bends? We’re counting up the length of the arm, not across the wrist… right? Looks like the point is the exact same one where you take the pulse, yes? I seem to have many sinews; I’m trying to determine which are the right two.

  4. JWS

    I assume that the instructions mean proximal to the wrist crease..not distal. A picture of the area would be helpful. Both wrist or only one? I sew very well so I would like to make these.

  5. EG

    I have a difficult time falling asleep, so for the past four nights I have applied pressure between the two tendons on the inside of my wrist with my thumb. It works! I have fallen asleep right away. Also, this method works when I wake up in the middle of the night. I apply pressure and fall right back asleep. I’ll purchase a Sea Band tomorrow and see if it also works.

  6. ye

    You might try an elimination diet for fibromyalgia. I and some of my friends totally lost the pain of this condition by eliminating black pepper from our diet. That is an easy place to start and pain free is a wonderful result.

  7. Ruth Cobb

    Thank you for the information about the inner gate point. Yes, the sea bands are measured by placing three fingers at the bottom of the wrist. Next question, do you have to use both wrists or would one do. I lost one seaband so I wanted to know if I could use one.

  8. Rocket Scientist

    You mean finger-WIDTHS, don’t you?

  9. Marti V.

    I want to try this but am unsure of where to put the bean. I had a hard time understanding the procedure in the article.
    People’s Pharmacy response: Here are the original “kidney bean” instructions:
    Tape a dried kidney bean to the inside of your right wrist. I locate this point between the two tendons by measuring the width of three fingers from the wrist crease.

  10. AJP

    The “inner gate point” is exactly where they tell you to put the Sea Bands… between the two tendons on the inside of your wrist, about 2 finger lengths back from the wrist.
    It has worked great for us, so hope it works for others too!

  11. RC1956

    Wouldn’t work to use the Sea Bands for motion sickness on the inner gate point? Where exactly is the inner gate point. The point for motion sickness is three finger breadths from the wrist and the seabands are applied there.

  12. Kevin B.

    I constantly suffer from aching mainly in the legs but also head pressure. I am a worrier and suffer from anxiety. Sometimes I wake and do not feel refreshed or wake early in the morning.

  13. AJP

    Sounds a lot like the “Sea Bands”… wrist-cuffs with an object sewn in that hits right at the pressure point described. These can be obtained at Walgreen’s and on the internet. They are inexpensive, washable, and work great for motion sickness. I didn’t know they also work for sleep problems!

    • organicgirl

      I was having slight burning,”prickly” achy feeling from the knee down to top of ankle. A website I found said that it might be my lower legs are not getting enough oxygen and that walking is good for increasing oxygen. Bought a Gold’s stationary body cycle and sat in my tv-watching chair that nigh. I pedaled for 45 minutes before I knew it (easy)—— from that night on pedaling every night, no more problems. Hope this helps you.

  14. AJ Payne

    Yes, those wrist bands are available, called “Sea Bands”. I recently bought a pair at Walgreen’s! They are great for motion sickness, but I didn’t realize they could also help with sleep.

  15. Liz B.

    Those wristbands are very effective relief for motion sickness and nausea. Great news: they’re available in all stores next to the motion-sickness pills. Cost: about $10.

  16. Rocket Scientist

    I thought that was the acupressure point for motion sickness relief. Decades ago I bought adjustable bracelets with a half-bead positioned to press on the point on both wrists. Pressing on those points does relieve feelings of motion sickness.
    Perhaps those bracelets are still available in travel catalogs.

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