Acupressure is an ancient therapeutic method used to relieve stress, promote good health and treat various diseases. It is similar to Acupuncture except that it’s done without use of needles.
Acupressure involves application of physical pressure on trigger points that lie along the Meridians. Meridians are channels within the body where Qi or energy flows to maintain equilibrium and health.
As per Chinese medicine and Ayurveda, blockage in flow of Qi and circulation are responsible for disease and pain. Acupressure helps remove blockages from the Meridians allowing proper flow of Qi.
The meridians are connected to organs and tissues throughout the body. Pressing specific points on the body can help relieve pain at the local site and also treat areas in other parts of the body. The pain relieving effect is theorized to be due to release of endorphins in the body, which have a pain relieving effect like morphine. In addition to pain relief, acupressure helps improve functioning of various organs and system promoting good health.
How To Perform Acupressure?
In a typical acupressure session, the practitioner will gently massage the pressure points using the palms, elbows, fingers, thumb, knuckles, feet or specific tools for applying pressure.
To promote relaxation or relieve pain, pressure has to be applied firmly and held for few minutes. The fingers can be used to create a steady penetrating pressure directly on the point. Each pressure point can have a different sensation especially if the related body part or organ is experiencing a specific problem. An acupressure session usually lasts for about an hour. After the session drinking plenty of warm water is recommended to eliminate toxins released during the session.
Benefits of Acupressure
• Boosts immunity
• Stimulates proper blood circulation
• Opens blockages
• Helps with pain relief
• Promotes good health
• A natural sedative
• Strengthens the body
• Relieves stress and tension
• Promotes relaxation and a sense of well-being
Acupressure For Injuries And Pain Relief
I have found acupressure to be extremely helpful for recovering from injuries. Listed below are some common musculo-skeletal problems and specific acupressure points for pain relief:
1. Acupressure For Headache And Migraines
Nasa Mula / M-HN-3 is located the between the eyebrows. Apply firm pressure using the thumb or the middle finger. Move in a circular fashion for 1-2 minutes or until the pain subsides.
Angushtha Mula / Hegu LI-4 is in the web space between the thumb and index finger. Squeeze and hold for 1-2 minutes.
2. Acupressure For Knee Pain
ST 36 Zusanli (Leg Three Miles) – 4 fingers’ width below the bottom part of the kneecap in the depression on the outside of the shinbone. This point is often tender when pressed firmly.
Janu (posterior) / BL-40 Weizhong (Middle of the creek) point is located in the center at the back of the knee at the level of the crease. Apply pressure for one minute or until the pain subsides.
3. Acupressure For Lower Back Pain
Kukundara points are located one finger width on either side of L5 spinous process (last lumbar vertebrae). Apply firm pressure to relieve low back pain and sciatica.
Janu (posterior) BL-40 Weizhong (Middle of the creek) point. Apply pressure at the back of the knee for one to two minutes. This not only relieves back pain but also helps with knee arthritis.
4. Acupressure For Neck Pain
Vidhuram / HTJJ C1 are located at the base of the skull 1 finger width from the midpoint of the first cervical vertebrae. Apply firm pressure for one to two minutes.
Manyamani is at C7 (cervical vertebrae) or just below C7. This area is known as your cervico-thoracic junction, it’s the protruding vertebrae at the base of the neck. Apply firm pressure in circular motion for 1-2 minutes.
Types Of Acupressure Therapy
There are various acupressure techniques being practiced throughout the world. Listed below are some of the more common ones.
1. Shiatsu is a Japanese massage technique which is similar to acupressure. It utilizes finger and palm pressure to stimulate the meridians for relaxation and health.
2. Tui Na is a type of Chinese massage which uses acupressure therapy incorporating rubbing and kneading techniques in addition to traditional use of fingertips. The primary purposes of this procedure is to open up channels and get the energy moving, promote circulation and alleviate pain.
3. Marma Chiktsa is the Ayurvedic acupressure therapy. It incorporates various herbal oils with acupressure massage techniques for pain relief and bringing balance to the body.
Acupressure Precautions And Contraindications
When performing acupressure, the following must be taken into consideration:
1. Finger pressure must be applied in a slow rhythmic manner.
2. Abdominal points must be avoided for women who are pregnant.
3. Do not apply pressure on a blood vessel.
4. If you suspect a fracture, avoid over site of injury.
5. Avoid acupressure directly on a cut, burn, wound or bruise.
6. Avoid areas which are infected.
7. Avoid if there is a serious illness, seek medical attention.
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