Wave goodbye to frozen shoulder

by Ed

Time To Run
Creative Commons License photo credit: blentley

Frozen shoulder is limiting and it can be painful. In Chinese medicine it is called 50 year shoulder because people tend to get it at middle age. Now you can learn how to avoid it, and how to to recover from it.

The most important thing in avoiding frozen shoulder is keeping it moving. Do gentle range of motion exercises every day, to keep the shoulder joint fully mobile. If you injure your shoulder, get treatment to heal it quickly. Avoid putting ice on it. Ice, though popular in the West, is considered harmful by the Chinese medical practitioners. It causes blood to coagulate and tendons to stiffen.

Treating Frozen shoulder

If you already have frozen shoulder, the therapy obviously changes. Exercise to increase range of motion, although painful, is vitally necessary. See an acupuncturist who specializes in injury management, or a physical therapist, for a good set of exercises targeted to your limitations. Regular deep massage, to break up the adhesions is very helpful. Use moist heat on the shoulder joint, daily. Wrap a hot moist towel around the shoulder and leave it in place for about 15 minutes.

Using Chinese herbal plasters and liniments: There are many liniments and herbal plasters designed for

701 Plaster

701 Plaster

various stages in injury management. 701plasters are the best plaster for frozen shoulder. It comes in a long roll, and you can cut off a piece with scissors. You may want two or three pieces at a time, as it won’t stick as well going around the joint. Peel off the plastic and place the plaster on the joint. You can leave it on for 24 hours. After a break for a day put another one on. Some people don’t like to walk around smelling like Chinese medicine, so they only leave it on over night.

The most easily available liniment that is useful for Frozen shoulder is Zheng Gu Shui. Like 701 plaster, Zheng Gu Shui is very warming, it panetrates the muscles and improves blood circulation. Massage the liniment in to the shoulder and the tight muscle around the shoulder, twice a day.

Click image to buy

Click image to buy

As both 701 Plasters and Zheng Gu Shui are very warming, they should not be used on acute injuries, or

when inflammation is present. However they are useful other chronic injuries and arthritis, and other aches and pains that are worse when it is cold.

Acupressure Points for Frozen Shoulder

There are a number of points on the body that you can press or massage, that speed the healing of frozen shoulder. Generally it is best to use the point on the opposite side of the body from the frozen shoulder.

TH3 is on the back of the hand, between the last two bones of the hand, just above the fingers. The point should be tender.


ST38 is on the shin, just outside of the crest of the shin bone, half way between the knee cap and the ankle.


GB39 is one hands width above the outer ankle bone, just in front of the leg bone that runs down to the ankle.


Press or massage each of these points for about one minute, two or three times a day. Do it immediately before massaging liniment into the shoulder.

Check out Tom Bisio’s book, A Tooth From The Tiger’s Mouth, for more on treating yourself for frozen shoulder and other chronic and acute injuries.


1 Liara Covert 02.22.09 at 8:10 am

These are delightful tips, especially for someone who believes in the benefits of such practices. What would you recommend for a person who favors traditional medicine even if it does not alleviate the perceived issue? I know a retired physician with a similar condition to that which you describe. He initially thought he would require surgery. Yet, after 3 consutlations, he went for a shot of cortisone, and has been focusing on physiotherapy. Although he picked up a few pamphlets about alternative healing, he resists investigating further as he does not believe in the potential results of non-traditional practices.

2 Pamir | Reiki Help Blog 02.26.09 at 4:36 am

Thanks for your contribution to the 177th Carnival of Healing. I’m wondering why the trackback isn’t showing here as I did link & it does improve your blog’s visibility.

Cortisone, ugh! Liara, it’s a slow learning curve for the mainstream unfortunately.

3 Ed 02.26.09 at 11:02 am

Pamir, Thanks for the include. I don’t know what happened to your trackback. It did not get spammed.

Liara, That is a difficult one. We can tell people what we think, but they have to make their own decisions. You could try giving the book I mention to someone who is unsure. It does a good job of explaining why and how it works.

4 farhana 03.29.10 at 10:38 am

I’m suffering from frozen shoulder and searched on the website Acupressure Points for Frozen Shoulder and find this page ..the article mantionTH3-ST38-GB39 well these are highly technical words and how a person can understand without the picture I don’t understand ..
plz add the picture that we the lay people can get benefited from this article

5 Ed 03.29.10 at 8:05 pm

Thanks for the feedback, Farhana. I have added pictures to the descriptions.

6 farhana 04.10.10 at 10:30 am

I highly appreciate that you’ve posted the picture it helps a lot to me
Thankyou very much for kind and considerate ways ———–and would like you to remind that when I clicked on—–(A good video example of some of the exercises you can do can be found here. )
it is not opened at all despite my best effort…..kindly fix it too!
Thanks in advance

7 farhana 04.10.10 at 10:36 am

plz can you provide the acupressure point for yeast infection
Thank You

8 Ed 04.11.10 at 8:48 am

I have removed the link to that video. Unfortunately that web site seems to have disappeared.

9 Ed 04.11.10 at 10:47 am

Farhana, yeast infections are complicated. I could not provide one or more points for doing acupressure on yourself, without a thorough knowledge of your symptoms. I suggest you see an acupuncturist.

10 Ramesh Menon 08.14.10 at 8:48 pm

I suffered a major accident in 1996 ,which effected my spine C4,C5,C6.Got the initial treatment and since then have been practicing accupressure .Off late suffering from frozen shoulder ,possible due to extensive computer work .Tried therapy with 2 different doctors but no relief , I do exercise my shoulders regularly and also have added the 3 points as mentioned by your self .
Is there any other solution for this problem .Im 51 , and fit but this problems has been worrying me as I do have travel involved in my job and feel this problem will effect performance at work ,
Kindly advice .

11 Ed 08.23.10 at 9:43 am

Hi Ramesh, If what you are doing is not helping enough, I’d go see an acupuncturist. If you are spending a lot of time at the computer, check out Pain Free At Your PC, by Pete Egoscue. He has great exercise programs in there for dealing with postural challenges of pc overuse.

12 Julie 04.03.11 at 12:31 am

I’ve had a frozen shoulder for about 5 months now (over it) and found your useful info on acupuncture points just today (hope it helps). You mention doing movement excercises so could you please explain how to do them & which ones would be best.
Thanks Julie.

13 Ed 04.04.11 at 8:45 am

Hi Julie,
The book A Tooth From The Tiger’s Mouth, has great descriptions of the exercises for frozen shoulder. I suggest you pick it up.

14 ashfq 04.30.11 at 6:23 am

Hi Ed, I normally do not reply on web , but I could,nt resist to say Thank you. Your teqhnique for frozen shoulder has worked for me. Would you have a technique for hand tremour as my mothers hands have started shaking.

Thank you

15 Javid Khan 07.15.11 at 6:31 am

Thanks for advise on Frozen Soulder. I am going to try using pressure points. I am already using Malayasia’s chinese oil. I have also started using TENS unit (small 4 patch, 2 controls $80+/-). Seems like it is helping relaxing muscles. I used this for my Sciatic Nerve(Using correct points) and my sciatic pain gone for ever(15 years). Thanks ALL.

16 elaine shammal 01.28.12 at 3:21 pm

thank you iam going to useing your advise on frozen shoulder. i will try the pressure points. let you no how i go. hope it works. i feel like cuteing my arm off.

17 S.S.GATTANI 12.01.12 at 10:06 pm

I am having frozen shoulder for last 5 months. I am going to acupuncturist for the last one month. No relief so far, he puts needle at 4-5 places on the left hand and puts mild current into for 20 minutes. Any exercise or movement is very painful so cannot do it. Any help you can render? Thank you

18 DS 02.08.13 at 2:37 pm

You can massage your bicep, your deltoid, and your upper traps. Go
See a physical therapist who can mobilize your scapulothoracic and your glenohumeral joints. You might even need gentle traction of the neck,
This has helped many a people. Acupuncture isn’t enough to improve range of motion but it is good for reducing pain, tightness, and open energy flow.

19 Ed 02.08.13 at 3:01 pm

Actually acupuncture is very good for range of motion. I put one or two needles in the leg and within seconds their range of motion is at least 50% better. I see a new frozen should patient at least once a month, with excellent results about 80% of the time. You just need to find the right acupuncturist.

20 Katie McNeal 03.25.13 at 8:15 pm

I’m disparate! Had rotator cuff surgery after 9 months of pain and frozen shoulder, now I am in excruciating pain Physical Therapist is concern he can’t help me. PLEASE refer me to an experienced acupuncturist that can help me with the pain and regain motion. My life has been on a standstill, I can’t work, play with my kid do anything! This condition has affected me and my family and hearing my surgeon and PT telling me that there is no light in my tunel right now is driving me to insanity.

21 Ed 03.26.13 at 7:42 am

Hi Katie,
I’m very sorry to hear about your suffering. I don’t know where you live, but were ever it is, I suggest you call around the local acupuncturists and ask them about their experience with frozen shoulder and rotator cuff injuries. Good luck to you.

Comments on this entry are closed.