Thursday, 2 July 2015

Fainting: Pressure Point Techniques


The following post is a continuation of a long series of articles detailing how the skills of the martial arts can be applied to one’s health in the realm of daily life.

urrently, sections of the globe are being hit hard by heat waves. Some areas, like the UK, are experiencing record summer temperatures.  And relief seems distant.

I remember training in temperatures – and conditions – that resembled the inside of a stove. During one of those hot July moments, when all the oxygen in the Dojo had been sucked up, and the air intake through the open windows wasn’t just listless, it was dead…throwing and being thrown, falling on the mats and getting back up became an exercise in remaining conscious.

Through combinations of heat excess where the body tries to push accumulated heat out to the skin via the blood and fatigue which plays havoc with the nervous system, you struggle not to keel over. Like a solider on parade under an intense sun, it’s expected of you to fall according to the rules if you do faint: in the Dojo, a good, solid breakfall; on the parade square, first on your knees, then on the tarmac. And never…never…lose hold of your rifle.

I suppose like everything else in the martial arts, fainting is an art form.


The spectrum of reasons behind fainting is wide. The main and obvious reason is that too much blood has been drawn away from the brain. Why? Here are some culprits -

1.  Heat stress/heat fatigue

2.  Low blood sugar

GV 26 -  2/3 of the way between the upper lips and the bottom of the nose. This is a great, initial point for pressing right away.

3.  Sudden movements from a prone position to an upright position, especially in people with low blood pressure

4.  An irregular heartbeat

5.   Anemia

6.  A seizure


K 1 -  in the crevice between the mounds on the sole of the foot

Liv 3 -  in the crevice between the big toe and the toe beside it

7.   A failure on the part of the nervous system to regulate the body’s blood pressure

8.   Anxiety/hypertension/fear/even anger – any sudden emotional excess that disrupts the body’s systems

9.   Nausea

10.  Other culprits – drugs/alcohol.

The phrase: “I’m fainting from hunger” can be truly spoken. Hunger can certainly lead to light-headedness.

St 36 -  three thumb widths below the tuberosity of the tibia on the lateral side of the tibialis anterior muscle

And, of course, for us…the martial artists…there is a volume of slaps, kicks, grips, full out punches and kicks against pressure points that, at the least, lead to an opponent’s loss of consciousness. I’d call basic fainting as a result of these techniques a gentle loss of consciousness.  There’s much worse.


All types of fainting hark back to a problem. The problem may be minimal and require a minor adjustment in life style, diet, working conditions, etc. Or fainting might be a sign of things buried deeper in the body signaling dangerous conditions.
So it’s vitally important to consult with a health care professional. And it’s vitally important to do so if your workplace involves machinery, heights and other potentially dangerous situations.

Some things you can do if you’re starting to feel faint –

1.   Lie down slowly and carefully if you can or sit down and place your head between your knees.  If you can, raise your feet 12” above the level of your heart. Have someone call for an ambulance. If someone near you exhibits signs of fainting, do the same for her or him.

2.   If you can, loosen any tight areas of clothing – collar, necktie, shoes.

B 23 and B 47 -  on both sides of the area of the lower back at the level of the waist, two and four finger widths out from the spine

3.   Direct some cool air toward you or toward the other person.

4.   Drink some liquids slowly. Make sure your throat is clear first.

Martial artists also have knowledge of pressure points. The ones displayed in the images throughout this post are some of the basic points you can press to stimulate the body back to a fuller level of consciousness. Press gently and gradually, relax, close your eyes and breathe slowly and deeply while you focus pressing on each point.

A final reminder: martial artists can be obsessive about training to the point of “overdoing” it. Any excess leads to an imbalance of the body’s systems. Feeling faint may be a result. Practise, but practise wisely. Good, solid training achieves more than just good, solid technique: it achieves good health.

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