Like acupuncture, acupressure is a traditional Chinese healing technique that helps remove blockages to the flow of energy and blood and restores balance in the body. Unlike acupuncture, acupressure does not use needles to treat conditions but instead uses gentle but firm manual pressure through the help of various devices, the foot, elbow or hand. This pressure is employed to specific pressure points on the body to attain the required therapeutic effect. Acupressure is widely used by a lot of East Asian martial artists to disable their foes. According to historians, acupuncture is a relatively recent technique compared to acupressure although acupressure lost popularity when acupuncture was came into being. Still, it remains one of the most effective ways to tension associated with pain and ailments.
When we talk about acupuncture and acupressure, we unceasingly allude to acupuncture or acupressure points based on the principles of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). According to these principles, the human body is seen and treated as a whole; the body stands for the different levels or jiaos of the ventral body cavity. An imbalance in the yin and yang forces in the body results in disease and the aim of treatment is to alter the activity of one or more systems of bodily function. According to TCM, acupressure or acupuncture works by regulating the smooth movement of vital energy (chi), body fluids, and blood throughout the body. The relief of pain is achieved by rectifying systemic or local deficiency or excess. The sensation of pain signifies stagnation or blockage in the circulation of fluids, blood, and/or chi. In TCM, the fragile balance between blood and chi is an important primary concern. Chi is the controller of blood and blood is the mother of chi. Blood and chi both work together to nourish and move the fluids of the body.
Acupuncture or acupressure points are found along different levels of channels, called the twelve main meridians or 12 energy channels. These meridians are found throughout the body. Aside from these energy channels, there are also eight unusual channels named sinew channels, divergent channels, luo vessels, and the Chi Jing Ba Mai. Ten of the main meridians are named after the different body organs of the body, while the name of the eleventh meridian is taken from the membrane that enfolds the heart; the San Jiao or ‘three spaces’ is the last meridian. The twelve main meridians run symmetrically, bilaterally, and vertically, and every meridian connects internally and corresponds to one of the twelve body organs. In total, there are six yang meridians and six yin meridians. There are three yin and yang meridians for each leg and on each arm, there are three yang and three yin meridians also present.
All the pressure points of a meridian are found on its external channel. The internal channels are located deeper than the external channels. They enter the cavities of the body as well as the associated organs. The twelve meridians’ external channels outline three complete body circuits, feet to chest, chest to hands, hands to head, head to feet, etc. Electronic devices that create a noise when the right acupuncture/acupressure point is pressed are now sold in the market. Muscular tension is relaxed by the pressure as soon as an acupoint is pressed. This allows the muscle fibers to relax and stretch, blood flow to increase, and toxins to be carried away by blood to be eliminated from the body through various bodily processes. The strengthening of blood flow also sends in nutrients and more oxygen to the problematic part of the body. This promotes a more vital, healthier, and longer life and reinforces the body’s ability to resist illness. A greater sense of well being, health, and harmony arises when the bioelectrical energy and blood flow properly. An acupressure practitioner in Linwood is able to distinguish what points to treat by questioning and observing the patient in order to come up with a diagnosis based on TCM. Four diagnostic methods are used by practitioners: palpation, inquiring, auscultation, and inspection.
A session of acupressure is generally pain free. Penetrating, steady, gradual pressure lasting about three minutes on the targeted acupoint is ideal after extended finger pressure has been directly applied on the acupoint. It is suggested that the pressure applied should be firm enough so that it borders between the sensation of firm, pleasant pressure and sheer pain. The finger that’s best suited for employing the right pressure is the middle finger as it is the strongest and longest of the fingers. Although the thumb also can apply strong pressure, it usually lacks the sensitivity that the middle finger has. Other tools, the fist, or knuckles can also be utilized based on the needs of the person. As a rule, firm but slow pressure should be applied on the acupoint at a 90 degree angle from the skin surface. It’s advised to employ and release finger pressure slowly as this give the tissues enough time to react, facilitating healing. The patient will start to sense a pulse at the acupoint after successive acupressure sessions involving various levels of pressure. This throbbing is a positive sign since it signifies that flow of blood has risen in the problem area. Each body and each body part necessitates a different degree of pressure.
Several types of acupressure procedures are being practiced at present. To date, all of these procedures still use same age-old acupoints. Different techniques, pressures, and rhythms generate different methods of acupressure. For example, the most well-known style of acupressure, Shiatsu, is traditionally vigorous, with strong pressure applied to each acupoint lasting only three to five seconds. One other type of acupressure holds gently each acupoint for a minute or so. Applying fast beating, intermittent pressure is stimulating while a slower pressure produces creates a profoundly calming effect on the body.
The heels of the hands as well as the finger and thumbs are used in slow motion kneading to firmly squash large group of muscles. This movement is akin to the kneading of a large mass of dough. The benefits of this type of acupressure include the alleviation of spasms in the calf muscles, constipation, neck and shoulder tension, and general muscle stiffness.
Vigorous rubbing produces friction to activate the flow of lymph and blood. Light rubbing is administered on the skin to boost circulation and alleviate numbness, swelling, and chilling, as well as to tonify the skin and strengthen the nerves.
Fingertips applying rapid tapping tend to stimulate the muscles on tender, unprotected areas of the body like the face. Loose fist is used on the buttocks, back and other larger parts of the body. This helps enhance nerve function and the inactive muscles in the region.
Acupressure can be extremely capable of relieving tension, muscle aches, arthritis, backaches, neck pain, sinus problems, eyestrains, and headaches due to stress. It also helps you get to sleep at night, and relieves anxiety, indigestion, constipation, low back pain, menstrual cramping, and ulcer pain. Perhaps, the best thing about the treatment is that it does not require the use of medications and drugs and therefore has no side effects.