What is Acupressure?
Acupressure is the application of pressure, via finger, thumb, elbow or other tool, on specific sites on the body. Sometimes called pressure points, these sites stimulate the nervous system and brain to increase the flow of Qi and blood throughout the body. It is a needle-free, non-invasive, cost-effective and non-pharmacological healing intervention to promote patient’s health well-being.
How does acupressure work?
Acupressure incorporates the Chinese Medicine idea of Qi flow and the Meridian network. What is Qi? Classically it is the vital energy and life force that courses through us. It is the background intelligence that makes us, us. Another way to look at Qi is that it is simply vital information and the meridian system is the network in which this information flows. This information permeates and connects our whole body and because of this we can use points that aren’t always right next to where a problem lies.
When a specific point is stimulated with pressure, it increases the flow of information and application of pressure at different points cause different effects. Some acupressure points reduce pain and increase circulation. Some points cause the release of nitric oxide and endorphins which can help lower blood pressure and just help you feel good. Other points do a litany of other things as well. No matter what the issue, theres a point for that!
How many points are there?
Lots! Basically the hundreds of acupressure points fall into three categories: local points, distal points and tender points. Local points are acupressure points that are close to the area being worked on, such as shoulder points for shoulder pathologies, points on the head for focus, etc. Distal points are acupressure points that are away or distal, from the site of the pathology. This may be points on the leg that help the shoulder, or points on the hand to help headaches, and they make use of the Qi meridian network described above. Tender points are localized points of tension. They can be trigger points, or tight bands in muscle, and these points are used to immediately address pain and restricted blood flow. They differ from local points in that they are less related to the established acupressure point and meridian network.
How long does a point need to be stimulated or pressed to have its desired effect and how long does a session last?
Applying pressure for a minute or so on a point will often have its desired effect. Sometimes points are held much longer in key areas if the pathology warrants. Sessions themselves can last anywhere from 15mins (especially if other modalities like Kinesio-Taping are involved) to an hour.
What can acupressure help?
Everything! But heres a list of some things commonly and effectively seen:
- Pain/ swelling/ tightness
- Stress & anxiety
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