Acupressure is an ancient Chinese practice used to promote wellness and relaxation and help treat disease and pain. It is similar to acupuncture in that it focuses on the same areas of the body, but acupressure doesn’t use needles.
Acupressure is a type of Asian bodywork therapy with roots in traditional Chinese medicine.It targets special points that lie along the meridians (or channels) of the body. This practice emphasizes the notion that the body’s life flow (also called chi or ki) can be enhanced or improved using this targeted practice.
I have used acupressure and acupuncture both for years. It all started with a horrific tailbone injury and infection thanks to extreme overtraining in figure skating camp as a teen.
I fell so many times on my tailbone (trying to land a double-axel) that it was splintering and breaking.
My father’s acupressure practitioner instantly relieved the awful pressure and nausea I was feeling and sent me to the ER for emergency surgery to address the infection he quickly sensed in my body. If not for him, I don’t know where I’d be today. I still get regular acupressure and acupuncture to this day about once a month, to help with a compressed nerve in my neck (among other issues).
What Are Pressure Points?
Acupressure points are also called acupoints. They lie along the energy channel lines of the body. Each of the twelve lines (meridians) are said to be connected to specific organs or networks of organs.
The meridians start at the fingertips, connect to the brain, and then connect to the organ associated with each specific meridian.
According to this theory, when one of the meridians is blocked or out of balance, illness and disease can occur. Pain can also happen as a result. Acupressure seeks to correct this imbalance, and many people find healing in this modality.
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Do Pressure Points Work?
Targeting pressure points that are blocked or imbalanced works for many people.
There are also few risks to trying this method of healing. While there isn’t much scientific evidence, it does seem to help (and it certainly can’t hurt to try). It is often preferable to prescription medications and invasive procedures.
Visiting an acupressure practitioner while sick is often advised.
“According to reflexologists, rubbing any sore spot along [the lung meridian] can help relieve symptoms associated with a cold, including sneezing, chills, and a sore throat,” Medical News Today wrote in an article.
Acupressure practitioners use their fingers, palms, elbows, feet, or special devices to apply pressure to acupoints on the body’s meridians. Sometimes, acupressure also involves stretching or targeted massage, as well as other methods.
What Can I Expect During My Acupressure Session?
When you get an acupressure session, you lie fully clothed on a soft massage table.
The practitioner gently presses on the necessary acupressure points on your body. They will know what needs to be done based on the ailments and concerns you discuss with them prior to the session.
A session usually lasts about an hour. You may need a few repeat sessions, depending on your health issues.
The goal of acupressure is to restore health and balance to the body’s channels of energy and to regulate opposing forces of yin (negative energy) and yang (positive energy).
Some advocates of Chinese medicine claim acupressure not only treats the energy fields and body but also the mind, emotions, and spirit.
Acupressure essentially sends a signal to the body to address what needs to be healed. The body then sends healing energy and increased blood flow to the affected area or system.
You will leave feeling relaxed and at ease, knowing that your body is gently restoring its natural balance.
Common Acupressure Points To Learn
We will now look at five common acupressure points, discussing where they are located, how to use them, and what the benefits are in doing so.
- Large intestine 4 (LI 4): This is in the soft, fleshy web between your thumb and forefinger. Deals with digestion and detoxification.
- Liver 3 (LR-3): Located on the top of your foot up from the space between your big toe and the next toe. Helps with detoxification and elimination of bodily toxins.
- Spleen 6 (SP-6): This is about three finger widths above your inner ankle bone. Helps to support the immune system and combat dangerous bacteria.
- Spirit Gate: The spirit gate point is located at the crease on your outer wrist, below your pinkie finger. This is associated with sleep and mental wellness.
- Three Yin Intersection: The three yin intersection point is located on your inner leg, just above your ankle. Deals with urologic, pelvic, and menstrual functions.
Bonus points: You can rub, massage, or scratch the top of your head if you are having trouble relaxing or dealing with anxiety. For memory issues, rubbing the bottom of the foot can help you to remember things better. Squeezing the webbing between your thumb and pointer works wonders for headaches and migraines.
The list of helpful acupressure points is truly endless!
How To Apply Pressure To The Points
- Use deep, firm pressure to massage and stimulate each point.
- When massaging acupoints, try relaxing in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and breathe deeply.
- Repeat the massage as often as you want. There is no limit to the number of times a day you can do this.
It is helpful to find a highly-rated acupressure practitioner near you if you are suffering from non-life-threatening health issues or pain. You can also use the suggestions above to target the areas that are bothering you. There are many useful resources online to help you learn about this fascinating method of Eastern medicine. Simply look for acupressure points plus the particular issue in question.
Acupressure is best coupled with a healthy diet and exercise plan. Making sure you have the vitamins and nutrients you need, coupled with an enjoyable exercise regimen that reduces stress will help you maintain overall health and happiness.