One of my all time favorite acupressure points, Kidney-1. Also named "Bubbling Spring" this point is located on the sole of each foot where the kidney meridian emerges. The kidney organ in Chinese medicine is associated with the adrenal glands and thus, our stress response. Depending on how this point is stimulated it can have a sedating or energizing effect. (Think, when you're feeling anxious like a "bubbling spring" and you just need to chill out, or you've lost your mojo from being so stressed out that you need to reconnect with your inner "bubbling spring" to perk you back up.)
Either way, Kidney-1 influences a person's nervous system and in many instances bring deep calm by decreasing the "fight or flight" response and increasing our parasympathetic "feed and breed" or "rest and digest" response.
If you've ever wondered why so many health issues are improved by stress reduction, these terms can help us understand. When we're stressed out, even if there's no real "tiger" attacking us, our bodies will gear up for "fight or flight" and funnel blood and energy flow away from our digestive and reproductive systems, instead directing it toward our limbs to help us run away or do battle. As a result, under stress, all kinds of digestive, reproductive, and sleep issues can occur due to the decreased circulation to organs like the stomach and large intestine or the uterus and ovaries. Makes sense, right? No one's stopping while under attack to have a snack, make love or take a nap!
Understandably, anything that helps to calm our nervous systems will amplify the functioning of these other systems for everything from improved sleep to better digestion, bowel movements, regulated menstrual cycles, increased sex drive, fertility and childbirth. Acupressure (and acupuncture) is one powerful tool to achieve this aim.
And that brings us to the healing power of Kidney-1. This point can be helpful for non-pregnant people whenever a desire for calm presents itself. It can easily be added to any foot massage for an added grounding effect. The grounding part makes sense when we notice the location of this point is on the sole of each foot. After all, you can't get closer to the ground than Kidney-1!
For pregnant folks, it should be noted that this point is contraindicated during pregnancy until full term is reached. From 40 weeks onward this point can be used to encourage a baby's engagement and descent in the pelvis in addition to helping calm and relieve anxiety for women who are "overdue".
During labor, stimulating this point can provide a relaxing and grounding effect during or in-between contractions, in addition to its effect on baby's descent. Regarding stimulation of this point during labor, consider applying it when women are leaning forward on their knees, with the soles of their feet turned up. It makes it easy to press down into the point on both sides at the same time while she labors in a natural position. It also works when someone is lying down whenever you can access the soles of the feet.
As for all acupressure points, for greatest effect, burrow into the point with thumbs or other fingers for at least 1 minute with steady, pulsating, or circular motions. Bilateral or unilateral stimulation works equally well.
Good luck giving it a whirl! I'd love to hear how it goes...