Acupressure is a method of massage therapy that is performed by a massage therapist who is also trained in acupuncture. Specifically, it entails applying pressure in the form of a massage that is either static or in motion to designated areas of the body that are considered to be acupuncture points.
What is acupuncture?
The discipline of acupuncture is an alternative form of healing that originates in ancient Chinese traditional medicine that has been used for more than 2,500 years. Acupuncture, as a form of non-conventional medicine, strives to stimulate the body’s natural healing process in order to promote healing.
According to the Acupuncture Foundation of Canada Institute, acupuncture is a practice that brings “a person’s body into harmony, into balance, into homeostasis.” The discipline uses specific touch points – known as “acupoints” – that are found on specific locations within the body in order to stimulate and encourage the natural healing process.
The ancient Chinese originally determined an elaborate map of acupoints, which are generally located on passageways that carry energy throughout the body. The belief behind the practise of acupuncture is that one’s energy must be balanced and it must be free-flowing. The use of needles that are strategically-positioned along energy pathways seek to restore a person’s ideal flow of energies.
What is acupressure?
Acupressure is an alternative medicine technique similar to acupuncture that blends the worlds of acupuncture with massage therapy. It is based on the concept of life energy which flows through “meridians” or energy highway in the body accessing all parts of the body. It uses the acupoints that form the basis of acupuncture, however, massage techniques that use fingers, hands, arms, elbows and forearms are used to activate these acupoints instead of needles.
Through the pressure that is skillfully applied by a practitioner, acupressure aims to promote the flow of energy within the body, which is known as a “vital force.” Ideally, that energy – or vital force – should be flowing freely throughout the entire body. When there is some sort of blockage or congestion, there result may be pain, discomfort, disease or illness. However, a series of acupressure massage sessions can open up the energy pathways by unblocking whatever is obstructing the movement of energies. The goal of acupressure is to restore the natural flow of energies to a balanced state within the body of the person that is undergoing treatment.
By applying direct pressure to a recognized acupuncture pressure point – or the technique of acupressure – is used to treat a variety of conditions. Some common ailments for which people seek acupressure treatment include:
- Back pain
- Frequent colds
- Joint pain
- Menstrual cramps
- Sleeping problems
Acupressure is a form of physical therapy that may also induce psychological benefits by restoring a person’s life force or overall balance and internal harmony. While there are many people who espouse the benefits of alternative medicines, such as acupressure, it should not be confused with conventional medicine. As such, it is not recommended to use acupressure in lieu of conventional medicine when in any type of emergency situation.
In summary, acupressure is an ancient form of traditional Chinese medicine that fuses the concepts of acupuncture with more mainstream massage therapy.