Acupressure Therapy: What it is and does it work

This article was originally published November 9th, 2019. 


Acupressure is a therapy in the same family of Reflexology, Zone Therapy, Concentrated Massage and Acupuncture. 

This therapy is based on the oldest system of natural treatment; the scientific method of pressure-based massage. It is based on the concept of life energy that flows through the meridians in the body. 

This method of treatment is not through needles but by pressing certain reflex points in hands, feet and other parts of the body, with thumbs, fingers or some gadgets especially prepared for this purpose. 

Acupressure helps to release tension, increases blood circulation and reduces pain. 

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), there are over 800 vital energy points along the meridians that run from head down to the heals. The meridians connect the interior and exterior of the body. Every point has specific therapeutic effects on the related organ. Normally Qi (vital energy) circulates through natural pathways in the body called meridians. Blockages of this flow or an imbalance in yin and yang can cause illness and pain. 

Acupressure helps to correct functional imbalances and restore the flow thus returning the body to a more natural state of well-being. 

Is Acupressure the same as Acupuncture?

Acupressure is also known as acupuncture, but without the needles. Both are traditional ancient therapies which focus on targeting the body reflex points which help activate energy and bring around relief. 

Both systems are based on holistic health – that is, taking a look at your whole-body health both physical and energy levels to treat conditions.

The key difference between the both is the method of application. 

While acupressure uses a non-invasive pressure applied by the hands or a pressure device, acupuncture provides relief through needles which are tactfully placed along your reflex points. 

Acupressure is a safer system of therapy which you can even apply yourself. It is non-invasive and can be targeted through points on your hands and feet and compared to acupuncture – there is nothing really to lose. 

Acupressure or Massage?

Acupressure is not the same as massage. Whereas massage focuses on shifting the muscle tissue in a systematic way to help induce relaxation, acupressure therapy focuses on pressing on one of the hundreds of reflex pressure points along your body – the effect of which helps your body heal by “opening up” passages along your natural energy network. 

Benefits of Acupressure

While there are limited studies on acupressure, it has become more widely adopted as a therapy in recent years. 

In a 2017 study, researchers examined the effects of applying a 3-minute acupressure session on athletes who had sustained a sports injury. They found acupressure was effective in reducing the intensity of pain sustained in the group who had acupressure therapy vs the group who did not; but with no change to anxiety levels [source].

Acupressure has also been studied to help improve sleep time and sleep quality [source].

Common benefits of acupressure therapy include:

  • Relief of stress and tension 
  • Helps relax the mind and body 
  • Increases blood circulation 
  • Aids in the removal of toxic wastes 
  • Provides relief from head, neck and shoulder aches 
  • Promotes the healing of injuries 
  • Increases energy levels 
  • Increases overall feeling and well-being 


Acupressure therapy has been used for thousands of years and can be traced back to Ancient Egyptian times. While the research is limited, it is growing and is a safe therapy to include for relief against physical conditions. 

About the Author

Asante Editorial
Asante Editorial
Asante Wellbeing is dedicated to producing holistic health and wellness information easy to understand and implement so you can make the best decisions and begin to live your best life.


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