Used for thousands of years in China, acupressure applies the same principles as acupuncture to promote relaxation and wellness and to treat disease. Sometimes called pressure acupuncture, Acupressure is often thought of as simply acupuncture without the needles. But what exactly is acupressure and how does it work?
Traditional Chinese medical theory describes special acupoints, or acupressure points, that lie along meridians, or channels, in your body. These are the same energy meridians and acupoints as those targeted with acupuncture. It is believed that through these invisible channels flows vital energy -- or a life force called qi (ch'i). It is also believed that these 12 major meridians connect specific organs or networks of organs, organizing a system of communication throughout your body. The meridians begin at your fingertips, connect to your brain, and then connect to an organ associated with a certain meridian.
According to this theory, when one of these meridians is blocked or out of balance, illness can occur. Acupressure and acupuncture are among the types of TCM that are thought to help restore balance.
How Does it 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.
Along with its ability to help treat variety of ailments, patients experience additional benefits of acupressure massage. It's a deeply relaxing experience and — like other types of massage — can help with:
Relieving stress, tension and anxiety
Relaxing muscles and joints
Soothing the pain and discomfort of a sports or other injury
Reducing digestive issues
Alleviating chronic pain
The therapy stimulates the body's circulatory, lymphatic and hormonal systems. It also helps the function of the immune system and the body's natural ability to heal itself.