Acupressure is an alternative medicine technique similar in principle to acupuncture. It is based on the concept of life energy which flows through “meridians” in the body. In treatment, physical pressure is applied to acupuncture points with the aim of clearing blockages in these meridians.
Acupressure has been used for thousands of years in China and follows the same principles as acupuncture to promote relaxation and wellness and to help treat disease. Similarly, shiatsu is a Japanese form of acupressure.
Traditional Chinese medical theory describes meridians, invisible channels in your body that carry energy – these are called qi (ch’i). They begin at your fingertips and connect to your brain and then an organ or networks of organs to create a communication system. When one of these meridians is blocked or out of balance, you can begin to feel unwell. Acupressure uses specific points along these meridians to help restore your natural balance.
Some medical studies have suggested that acupressure may be effective at helping manage nausea and vomiting, for helping low back pain, tension headaches and stomach ache, amongst other things.
How Does Acupressure Work?
Acupressure practitioners use their fingers, palms, elbows or feet, or special devices to apply pressure to acupoints on the body’s meridians. Sometimes, acupressure also involves stretching or acupressure massage, as well as other methods.
During an acupressure session, you lie fully clothed on a soft massage table. The practitioner gently presses on acupressure points on your body. A session typically lasts about one hour. You may need several sessions for the best results.
Common uses and tools
* Acupressure wristbands are often used to treat motion sickness and other forms of nausea by providing pressure to the P6 acupressure point
* Acupressure point LI-4 (Hegu), the fleshy point between thumb and fore-finger can be ‘pinched’ to provide some relief from a headache
* The acuball is a small ball made of rubber with protuberances that is heatable. It is used to apply pressure and relieve muscle and joint pain
* The energy roller is a small cylinder with protuberances. It is held between the hands and rolled back and forth to apply acupressure
* The foot roller (also “krupa chakra”) is a round, cylindrical roller with protuberances. It is placed on the floor and the foot is rolled back and forth over it
* The spine roller is a bumpy roller containing magnets that is rolled up and down the spine
* The Teishein is one of the original nine classical acupuncture needles described in the original texts of acupuncture. Even though it is described as an acupuncture needle it did not pierce the skin. It is used to apply rapid percussion pressure to the points being treated.
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