What Is Acupressure?
What is it？
Acupressure is a type of massage therapy in which manual pressure is applied to specific points on the body. Acupressure is a practice of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) that is similar to acupuncture, except that it uses fingertip pressure instead of needles.
Acupressure is said to help with a range of conditions, from motion sickness to headache to muscle pain. TCM practitioners say acupressure benefits are achieved by using pressure points along the energy pathways in the body, to encourage the free flow of energy, or qi.
Acupressure has clear roots in the practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM. To properly define acupressure: acupressure is an “alternative-medicine practice in which pressure is applied to points on the body aligned along main meridians (pathways), usually for a short time, to improve the flow of qi (life force).” Another acupressure meaning: a method of activating the body’s self-healing mechanisms to treat illness and alleviate pain.
Like reflexology, acupressure is based on the vital energy theory which says that stress impedes the flow of the “vital energy” that exists in each human body. Reflexology mainly focuses on the feet and hands while acupressure is practiced all over the body. Acupressure, acupuncture and reflexology are all methods that are believed to help optimize that flow of energy in our bodies.
You can perform self-acupressure or you can seek acupressure therapy from a certified specialist. Self-acupressure is great because the majority of acupressure points can be reached, but if someone else does it then all points can be reached plus you benefit from their expertise including what points help what and appropriate pressure timing and intensity.
What is acupressure massage?
It’s a form of massage where pressure is intentionally applied to specific points of the body. This pressure points massage is also referred to as a shiatsu massage. Shiatsu originates in Japan, and the goal of shiatsu is to remove blockages in the body by realigning meridian points, which in turn is supposed to help balance energy in the body helping it feel better in both a physical and mental sense.
Some shiatsu practitioners put more of an emphasis on the body’s meridian lines than on pressure points. In addition to their fingers, shiatsu experts are likely to use their knuckles, elbows, fists and even feet to apply pressure.
History of Acupressure
Acupressure has been used for thousands of years in Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM. Acupressure points, also called acupoints, and their specific applications are said to have first been established by TCM theory. As I mentioned earlier, acupressure has also been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries as well.
Some say that acupressure as well as acupuncture came about as early Chinese healers studied the puncture wounds of Chinese warriors and observed that specific points on the body created interesting results when stimulated. Not only did acupressure reduce pain in the area of the pressure point, but it could be used to benefit other areas of the body no where near the pressure point.
Acupressure uses the same points as acupuncture, but is completely non-invasive. How far back to these fascinating acupressure points go? Thousands of years with one of the oldest known texts specifically on the subject of acupuncture/acupressure points being the Systematic Classic of Acupuncture from 282 A.D.
Does self-acupressure work? I can say from my own personal experience that self-acupressure absolutely can work wonders. Of course, not all acupressure points are possible to manipulate on your own, but so many are in reach such as your hand pressure points. It’s actually pretty amazing to see just how many points are located on your hands alone!
The great thing about self-acupressure is that many points can be stimulated while you go about your daily life. While waiting in line at the grocery store, you can even apply pressure to one of the many acupressure points on your hand and it’s likely that no one will even notice.
Acupressure therapy is used to improve the flow of energy in the body which in China is referred to as qui or chi, in Japan it’s ki and in Indian Ayurveda it’s called prana.
Stimulating acupressure points is believed to improve the body’s circulatory, lymphatic, immune and hormonal systems. Overall, it’s used to boost the body’s natural ability to heal itself.
Acupressure is considered the non-invasive form of acupuncture. It does not involve needles and also does not require any additional equipment.
Acupressure point manipulation has been shown to help a wide range of health problems including chronic pain (like headaches and back aches), PMS, sleep difficulties and nausea. It’s also employed to encourage labor in pregnant women.
It’s essential to educate yourself on acupressure points and techniques (including appropriate pressure levels) before performing self-acupressure.
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