Acupressure massage treatment uses the same points on the body as acupuncture and shares some similar philosophies that come from Traditional Chinese Medicine. The practice involves the therapist using their hands to do manual manipulation on the patient. Acupressure relies primarily on using the thumbs, fingers and palms to apply pressure to various points on the body. Therapists may use various rhythms, pressures and techniques in the practice. Acupressure is often a choice for people who prefer a natural form of pain relief instead of using medication.
By applying pressure to specific points of the body, practitioners manipulate the flow of chi (qi) energy in the patient. Acupressure points, or acupoints, are locations on the body where chi may become congested or completely blocked. Acupressure massage is a natural holistic technique to address blockages that may be causing additional health problems.
Acupressure is done by targeting local points or trigger points and adding a firm but gentle pressure to both of those points. The pressure lasts from 30 seconds up to 2 minutes, after which it is slowly eased off. The area around the point may also be massaged or stretched. Local points are the actual spots on the body where the patient is experiencing pain or discomfort. Trigger points are those that are connected to the points of the body experiencing pain or discomfort. These two types of points, known as a network of meridians, give the practitioner multiple avenues to approach a patient’s problem.
Meridians are basically the highways on which chi flows through the body. The meridians begin at your fingertips, connect to your brain, and then connect to an organ associated with a certain meridian. Therapists use their knowledge of this network to address specific disorders and diseases in patients. There are 14 main channels throughout the body, that practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine follow. They are: lung, spleen, pericardium, liver, heart, kidney, small intestine, bladder, triple warmer, gallbladder, large intestine and stomach, du and ren channels.
Benefits of Acupressure:
Along with its ability to help treat anxiety of ailments, patients experience additional benefits of acupressure massage. It is a deeply relaxing experience and like other types of massage can help with:
- Relieving stress, tension and anxiety
- Improving sleep
- Relaxing muscles and joints
- Soothing the pain and discomfort of a sports or other injury
- Reducing digestive issues
- Minimizing headaches
- Alleviating chronic pain
Acupressure massage 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.
Most people try acupressure for the first time to manage symptoms of conditions, such as: cancer-related fatigue, headache, menstrual cramps, motion sickness, muscle tension and pain, nausea or vomiting after surgery or chemotherapy, nausea and vomiting during pregnancy and morning sickness and stress management.
Some people may feel lightheaded for a short while after a session of acupressure, and may even feel sore or bruised at the pressure points, but this will soon wear off.