Acupressure is a soft tissue technique which uses the same pressure points as acupuncture, but uses pressure from the fingers instead of needles.
Acupressure is a form of treatment which has developed from traditional chinese medicine. It uses the fingers and thumbs to apply pressure to certain points in the same way as acupuncture, just without the needles!
It stems from the belief that the energy flows throughout the body in channels known as meridians. Acupressure points lie along these meridians.
In traditional Chinese medical theory, if one of these channels becomes blocked or out of balance, then injury or illness occur.
How Does Acupressure Work?
Acupressure is traditionally thought to help unblock the meridians and allow a free flow of energy within the bodies channels.
Acupressure therapists do this by applying direct pressure to specific pressure points, using their thumbs, fingers or even their elbows! Acupressure is performed over the top of clothing and so is not intrusive at all.
Pressure ranges from gentle to firm and is held for anywhere between 30 seconds and two minutes. The pressure may be gradually increased, held and then gradually decreased throughout each pressure point.
Many western medical professionals do not agree with the traditional theory behind how acupressure works. However, they do not deny that it does seem to have some benefits. Instead, they contribute any successes to increases in circulation and the production of endorphins, as well as a decrease in muscle tension.
What Conditions Can It Treat?
Acupressure can be used to treat a wide range of conditions, including:
- Nausea (caused by numerous issues from motion sickness to pregnancy)
- Muscle pain and tension
- Menstrual pain
Precautions / Contraindications of Acupuncture
In some cases acupuncture will not be suitable, or should be applied with extra caution. These may include:
- Circulatory problems
- Those on blood thinning medications
- Blood disorders
- Recent fractures
- Over varicose veins
- Over bruises
- Over open wounds
- The abdomen for pregnant women (and certain points on the legs)
- Sore or tender areas where pressure was applied