Acupressure is a mainstay therapy most commonly associated with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and uses the same principles as acupuncture to help the patient achieve health and fight disease.
Acupressure uses simple finger pressure on specific points of the body to relieve tension, promote the flow of positive energy, and help treat many illnesses. According to National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), millions of people around the world believe in and use acupressure as part of their wellness routine.
What is Acupressure?
The principles of acupressure and acupuncture rely on TCM’s belief in a vital life force or energy that flows through your body. This energy, known as chi (qi in Chinese), is responsible for health and wellness, and it connects the human body to the forces of the universe. There are specific channels, known as meridians, through which the chi flows. When these channels become blocked, energy is not able to flow, and this results in pain, inflammation, disease, and other maladies.
TCM has identified various points along the meridians that can be used to unblock and rebalance the flow of energy, thus healing the body. Acupressure is simply the application of pressure, usually by the fingers, to one or more of these points to treat whatever is wrong with a person. Where acupressure uses touch, acupuncture uses very fine needles placed in these points along meridians to accomplish the same goals.
The Key Benefits of Acupressure
The practice of acupressure has been used for centuries as a part of TCM and other alternative medical traditions. It continues to be used to this day because of the many benefits it offers to patients.
Acupressure is effective at reducing tension, which can help with pain, inflammation, and other issues with joints and soft tissue. Many people experience relief using acupressure to treat headaches, motion sickness, and nausea due to pregnancy and even after surgery or the use of anesthesia.
Acupressure can reduce stress, which can also help to relieve pain and inflammation associated with a number of conditions. Those who have lower back pain can use acupressure to find relief, as well. Acupressure is effective at treating arthritis, including lowering the inflammation that leads to suffering.
Acupressure can also help improve mood and reduce the symptoms associated with depression and anxiety. This includes reducing fatigue as well as elevating mood. Because it promotes relaxation, acupressure can help improve the quality of your sleep as well as relieve tension. For those with chronic pain, injuries, and inflammation, acupressure can be a useful treatment option.
How Does Acupressure Work?
When receiving acupressure, a practitioner will apply pressure using fingers, palms, feet, elbows, or even special apparatus to apply pressure to various acupoints on your meridians. Some forms of acupressure also use stretching or massage techniques as well as simple pressure.
Pressure is generally mild and not meant to cause pain in any way. Most acupressure sessions are conducted while you are fully clothed and while laying on a table. Acupressure is usually performed over a series of sessions to achieve optimal results.
By placing pressure on these points along your body’s meridians, the practitioner is restoring the flow of energy to specific body parts or areas. It is essential that the energy of your body is balanced for optimal health, and acupressure is a practice that focuses on restoring this balance to help you be healthy in mind, body, and spirit.
While some are skeptical as to the benefits of acupressure, it is known to reduce muscle tension, improve blood circulation, and stimulate the release of feel-good hormones, which can naturally reduce pain. So, while the mechanism by which it works may be doubted, its benefits should not.