What is Acupressure?In the Chinese system of medicine, it is believed that we have life-giving energy flowing around the body. This ‘chi’ as it’s known, keeps us in perfect balance; healthy mind, body and spirit. This energy flows along channels called meridians which can be accessed at various points in the body. These pressure points or acupoints are close to the skin all over the body. Light but firm pressure is applied to them in order to unblock and restore the flow of energy to normal.
You can learn this complex set of points around the body, with their Chinese names and numbers. It’s often at this point though, that Westerners give up on the idea. Being presented with ‘spleen 5’ when working on the ankle just doesn’t make logical sense since it’s nowhere near the spleen.
But a system from a completely different and very ancient culture can’t be thought of in terms of our logic, so you really have to take it or leave it.
How You Can Use Acupressure at HomeYou don’t have to understand the whole system, nor even know the names or numbers of the points to be able to get some good results. But as with many things, a little tuition can make it easier to more accurately find the points, and this means your results will be better. You can do that with a book. Pressures can be applied using straight pressure, circular rubbing, pinching lightly or tapping.
Doing your own treatment does have some limitation because it can be pretty difficult to access all the points adequately – much of your back, for example, is inaccessible when applying pressure. You don’t need to have a whole body treatment though; useful results will come from working on 2-3 points or sometimes, just one. If however, you want to treat a complex condition, you’ll do better having a professional treatment. But in general, individual complaints can be treated by pressure on just one or two points.
Who Benefits From Acupressure?Acupressure works well for most people in most situations, but you should take care to follow instructions because it is an effective technique, and you could potentially produce unwanted results. If for example, you use a pressure designed to lower blood pressure, and yours is already low, you risk fainting and possibly injuring yourself. If you are pregnant, you should be careful to note which points should NOT be used.
Acupressure is a very portable treatment; you can be in any position, and it can be done through clothing. It’s often the technique of choice when doing treatments in public, such as workplace or chair massage.
What Conditions Benefit From Acupressure?Always seek advice if the complaint you’re treating doesn’t improve quickly after applying acupressure. You might find it useful for some of these common conditions:
- Headache – Place your finger tip in the centre of the forehead directly between the eyebrows. Use a light tapping motion for 15 seconds, stop for 30 seconds, then repeat. Repeat for a few minutes. Move your finger tip across to 2.5cm out from the outer edge of the eyebrow, towards the ear. Use circular pressure on both sides. Do short periods then have a rest in between.
- Ear ache – With the palm facing down, pinch up the skin between the 4th and 5th fingers, right in the web. As before, do it for 15 seconds, rest for a short time then repeat.
- Colds – Find a spot on the hairline at the back of the skull, 2.5cm either side of the midline. Use your middle fingers, and stretch your thumbs a further 2cm out till they fall onto the bony points just behind the ears. Use a pinching movement on the tissue that falls between fingers and thumbs.
- Pain – With palm facing down, spread thumb and forefinger. With the other hand, thumb above and index finger below the web, rub the muscle area between the base of thumb and forefinger.
Find an acupressure therapist in your area to have a professional treatment or learn more about acupressure.