Acupressure is the older, massage version of Acupuncture. It is used mainly to reduce stress but is also used to treat the conditions for which Acupuncture is used. Acupressure is administered by someone specially trained in the technique or may be practised at home by anyone who learns the location of the points, their corresponding symptoms or conditions, and how to apply the pressure. The following represent a few key points to note about practising Acupressure.
The force recommended for different points varies. In general, most points call for a steady, downward pressure lasting one to two minutes.
If you plan to apply pressure to a specific point several times in a row, do so on one side of the body before switching to the corresponding point on the other side. For any conditions other than minor muscles spasms or tension. It’s best to see a trained professional for an evaluation and treatment.
The risks of Acupressure are minimal, provided certain cautions are observed.
Pregnant women should never use the point’s designated Large Intestine 4 and Spleen 6 nor any points in the abdominal area.
Never apply pressure to open wounds, varicose veins, tumours, inflamed or infected skin, sites of recent surgery, or areas where a broken bone is suspected.
To find the appropriate Acupoint gently probe the area until you find that point which gives you a “funny bone” feeling or is sensitive, tender or sore. Then press hard enough to make the point hurt.
You can use a steady pressure or five seconds on and five seconds off, rotating pressure for the time that you stimulate the point. Usually, one minute is sufficient for each treatment session.
Regular, systematic treatment usually gets the best results because the effects of Acupressure are cumulative. At first, frequent treatment is recommended. Treatment three times daily for five to ten minutes may be necessary. Or treat more frequent, such as every two hours, until you start feeling relief. You cannot overdose.
There are many pressure points that are easily found and memorised to treat common ailments from headaches to colds.
For headaches, toothaches, sinus problems, and pain in upper body, the “L14” point is recommended. It is located in the web between the thumb and index finger, on the back of the hand. Using the thumb and index finger of the other hand, apply a pinching pressure until the point is felt, and hold it for two minutes. Pregnant women should never press this point.
To calm the nerves and stimulate digestion, find the “CV12” point that is four thumb widths above the navel in the centre of the abdomen. Calm the point with the palm, using gentle stroking for several minutes.
To stimulate the immune system, find the “TH5” point on the back of the forearm, two thumbs widths above the wrist. Using a dispersing technique or circular pressure with the thumb or fingers for two minutes on each arm.
For headaches, sinus congestion and tension, locate the “GB20” points at the base of the skull in the back of the head, just behind the bones at the back of the ears. Disperse these points for two minutes with the fingers or thumbs. Also, find the “yintang” point which is in the middle of the forehead between the eyebrows. Disperse it with gentle pressure for two minutes to clear the mind and to relieve headaches.
The Basic Principles of Acupressure
- Acupressure is a specific type of massage that relies primarily on using thumbs, fingers and palms to apply pressure to various points on the body.
- By applying pressure to specific points in the body, practitioners manipulate the flow of Chi (qi) energy in the patient.
- When a therapist is using the Acupressure massage technique, they target either one of the two types of pressure points – local points or trigger points (Local points are the actual spots on the body where the patient is experiencing pain or discomfort. Trigger points are those that are connected to the points of the body experiencing pain or discomfort.)
- The points used in Acupressure massage exist among a network or meridians, which are basically the highways on which chi flows throughout the body.
7 Common Benefits of Acupressure
Apart from simply correcting flaws in our internal organs, Acupressure has a large number of other benefits. The following are few of the benefits.
- Over all well-being: Acupressure is the science of applying light pressure on certain areas or points on the body that correspond to various organs and muscles. The science is based on the belief that the entire body is made up of vital energy called “chi” that flows through the body along invisible lines or ‘meridians’. It is when these meridians are blocked that the body manifests a disease. This is where Acupressure can help. It not only unblocks those areas but also helps the body to function optimally.
- Promise healing: Due to its very nature, Acupressure is known to release muscular tension, promote circulation of blood, enhance the body’s life force energy to aid healing. So, if you are suffering from an illness, using Acupressure can help you heal faster.
- Relieves Pain: Acupressure is a great way to relieve pain. When pressure is applied to the point that corresponds to the area of the body that is aching, the body responds by releasing the blockages in that area, helping with pain relief. Another reason why it helps is that by applying pressure to a corresponding point, the blood circulation to the area increase, helping in pain relief.
- Makes you calmer: Since the practice of Acupressure involves stimulating pressure points in the body, the practice helps your mind function better. According to the beliefs of Chinese Medicine, having all your meridians unblocked helps make you calmer as your body is more capable of handling stress
- Relieves Muscular Tension: Acupressure helps relieve tension from muscles by stimulating the action of nerves feeding the muscles. It also helps bring down stress levels and relaxes the entire body helping in the release of tension from them.
- Promotes proper circulation of blood: When used properly, Acupressure helps in promoting the circulation of blood. When you apply pressure to certain points. It helps in activating and opening up the flow of blood in the blood vessels present below the skin. This increase in blood flow helps almost all organs in the body regenerate and perform optimally.
- Reduces the need for OTC drugs: Acupressure has been known for centuries as the best remedy for common ailments like a headache, sinusitis and cold. The practice helps relieve pain and has been found useful especially, to treat headaches – drastically reducing your dependence on over-the-counter medicines.
Source: Centre of Excellence