What Is Acupressure?

Acupressure works along the same beliefs as acupuncture, only without the needles.

Like acupuncture, acupressure dates back more than five thousand years! It is even older than acupuncture, believe it or not. But then again, we had fingers before we invented needles, so it makes sense.

Acupressure is based on the belief that the body’s life energy, or qi, creates the body’s balance. Qi moves through the body along fourteen pathways, or meridians. If the qi is moving freely throughout the body, health is good. If the flow is blocked, health is not so good. Stimulate a certain acupoint, and you can help the flow of qi return to normal.

Acupressure is relatively easy to use if you are familiar with the locations of the acupoints. Have you ever seen someone wear those grey “seasick bands” for motion sickness? Those bands use knowledge of acupressure to place pressure on a known acupoint in the wrist. The wrist point is known as the Nei Guan point, if you are curious.

Acupressure also helps relieve pain and tension. Do you rub your temples when you have a headache? You are unconsciously using acupressure to help relieve your pain. The pressure you put on your temples helps to open up channels for qi and increase blood circulation in the area. Spas are starting to offer acupressure facials to help relieve tension in your facial muscles. The renewed circulation and qi flow can make your skin glow.

It is relatively easy to use acupressure on yourself because you know your own pain limits. Acupressure performed correctly is not supposed to be painful. There are several different techniques of acupressure that use the same acupoints but different lengths and strengths of pressure. Shiatsu, for example, uses only three to five seconds of firm pressure on an acupoint, while Jin Shin uses a minute of gentle pressure.

You can learn more about acupressure from The Acupressure Institute of Berkeley California.