Acupressure – How Does It Work?

Acupressure is a form of treatment that involves the pressing of specific points on the body with either fingers, knuckles or palms of the hand and sometimes by using the elbows or feet to relieve pain, reduce stress and generally promote a persons good health. Also developed in China some 5,000 years ago, acupressure is part of the holistic system of traditional Chinese medicine that also includes acupuncture, but the use of acupressure predates the use of acupuncture by about 2,500 years.

Certainly in the USA you will find that acupressure is predominantly used to relieve pain, reduce stress and improve and persons overall well being. Whilst in China you will find that it is more likely used as a form of first aid. In fact most Chinese people with practice this form of treatment on themselves or on their own family to treat many every day illnesses such as colds, headaches, sore muscles and even hangovers. However, they will consult a specialist for any more complicated problems or ailments.

Although many people prefer to visit a trained therapist to get their acupressure treatments, the techniques once learnt can be performed on not only yourself by your friends and family as well.

Acupressure works by helping to release the blocked energy in a person’s body by stimulation of specific points (acupoints) along the body’s 14 primary meridians (energy channels). By pressing firmly and steadily on the correct acupoints can help to promote energy flow to a particular part of the body that is experiencing disease or discomfort and helping it to heal it self more easily. As previously stated acupressure typically uses only a acupressurists hands (sometimes feet or elbows) to restore the bodies balance (or gi/chi).

Even though Western science has not been able to find any evidence that the meridians (energy channels) do really exist in the body, a number of studies suggest that by pressing on acupoints releases endorphins (body’s natural painkillers).

When a treatment is carried out, which can usually last from 15 minutes to about 1 hour all depending on the severity of the patient’s problem an acupuncturist will either arrange for them to sit or lie down on a massage table. You may find that your acupuncturist will carry out the treatment through your clothing, whilst another may ask you to undress, but they will cover you with a towel whilst carrying out the treatment.

Once you are settled the acupuncturist will locate and then work on the specific acupoints that specifically relate to your condition, by either pressing a point behind your knee which can help deal with lower back pain or by pressing a point at the top of the foot, which helps to ease the pain caused by migraines.

A acupuncturist will usually press on each point for about 3 to 10 seconds, or in some cases longer and they may press and release these points repeatedly. However if you find that the problem has not responded to the treatment after about 20 to 30 minutes, then it may be because the acupressure has not been effective or that particular day or is not effective for the particular problem you have.

However, after being treated you will probably find that you feel more relaxed and looser and although you may experience some aches you should not feel any pain. Usually within 3 to 8 visits to the acupuncturist you should know if the treatment is working for you.