Hit the spot: everything you need to know about Acupressure

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What is Acupressure Massage?

Acupressure is a traditional and popular form of massage. In this treatment, pressure is applied to points on the body and sometimes face, in correspondence with energetic flow-lines known as “meridians”. By applying pressure with a hand, elbow or cupping device, a therapist is able to unblock these channels, promoting a sense of physical and emotional balance.

What are the benefits of Acupressure?

Acupressure stimulates the body’s lymphatic, circulation and hormonal systems, in order to address a wide range of concerns. There are many potential benefits to acupressure massage, which may include:

  • Relief of anxiety, stress and tension
  • Alleviation of pain and nausea
  • Reduce digestive issues and stomach aches
  • Minimise tension headaches
  • Assist in management of chronic pain
  • Improve sleep quality and promote deep relaxation

Who invented Acupressure?

Acupressure is thought to have originated in China more than 5,000 years ago. It is based on the theories of qi (chi), which literally translates to “breath”, but figuratively refers to a life force or energetic flow within every living thing. This force moves through energetic lines, or meridians, in the body, which can become blocked. This theory has been well tested and demonstrated over time, but even if you don’t subscribe to Eastern philosophies, you can think of qi as the desire to find balance in your own body and life.

Because of the way that energy flows through the body, in massages that utilise acupressure-style techniques, such as Reflexology or Shiatsu, treatment may be administered on an area other than where the pain or discomfort is actually being felt.

What is the difference between Acupressure and Acupuncture?

Although both acupressure and acupuncture stimulate the acupoints in the body, acupuncture does so using an ultra-fine needle. In contrast, acupressure is non-invasive, and uses only the hands, fingers or blunt tools designed for the purpose. Both styles of treatment encourage blood flow to particular muscles or nerves.

Acupressure may feel intense, much like a Deep Tissue or Sports Massage, but should never be more painful than you can handle.

What are the main Acupressure points in the body?

There are more than 400 acupoints on the body, along 12 major meridians. Some of the most well known include:

  • Joining the Valley (LI 4): rubbing the fleshy area between the thumb and index finger may help in alleviating headaches.
  • Third Eye (GV 24.5): positioned on the knobbly spot between your eyebrows on the bridge of your nose, applying pressure here may relieve sinus pain and congestion.
  • Commanding Middle (B 54): at the centre back of each kneecap, this point may reduce back and hip pain, and might relieve arthritic knees.

Who should try Acupressure?

Like many forms of Chinese medicine, acupressure can be used to address a wide range of concerns; from supporting injury recovery and assisting with pain management, as well as simply restoring a sense of balance and calm to daily life. For this part I would turn it the other way round, because by working on meridians the aim is to re-balance the entire body, so I would go more for this:  Restoring a sense of balance and calm to daily life, re centralise the energy, or simply supporting injury recovery and assisting with pain management.

Pregnant women and those with specific health concerns should make sure to verify with their doctor that any type massage treatment is appropriate for them.

 

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