Acupressure Medicine

Acupressure is a form of touch therapy that uses the principles of acupuncture and Chinese medicine. In acupressure, the same points on the body are used as in acupuncture, but they are stimulated with finger pressure instead of with the insertion of needles. Acupressure is used to relieve a variety of symptoms and pain.

Acupressure massage performed by a therapist can be very effective both as prevention and as a treatment for many health conditions, including headaches, general aches and pains, colds and flu, arthritis, allergies, asthma, nervous tension, menstrual cramps, sinus problems, sprains, tennis elbow, and toothaches, among others.

Unlike acupuncture, which requires a visit to a professional, acupressure can be performed by a layperson. Acupressure techniques are fairly easy to learn and have been used to provide quick, cost-free, and effective relief from many symptoms. Acupressure points can also be stimulated to increase energy and feelings of wellbeing, reduce stress, stimulate the immune system, and alleviate sexual dysfunction.

Acupressure is easy to learn, and there are many good books that illustrate the position of acupoints and meridians on the body. The procedure can also be conducted anywhere, and it is a good form of treatment for spouses and partners to give to each other and for parents to perform on children for minor conditions.

As effective as acupressure may be, it should not be used to the exclusion of allopathic methods that provide more reliable relief or cure for certain diseases and disorders. While giving self-treatment or performing acupressure on another, a mental attitude of calmness and attention is important, as one person’s energy can be used to help another’s.

Loose, thin clothing is recommended. There are three general techniques for stimulating a pressure point.

  • Tonifying is meant to strengthen weak chi and is done by pressing the thumb or finger into an acupoint with a firm, steady pressure, holding it for up to two minutes.
  • Dispersing is meant to move stagnant or blocked chi, and the finger or thumb is moved in a circular motion or slightly in and out of the point for two minutes.
  • Calming the chi in a pressure point utilizes the palm to cover the point and gently stroke the area for about two minutes. There are many pressure points that are easily found and memorized to treat common ailments from headaches to colds.
  • For headaches, toothaches, sinus problems, and pain in the upper body, the ‘‘LI4’’ point is recommended. It is located in the web between the thumb and index finger, on the back of the hand. Using the thumb and index finger of the other hand, a person applies a pinching pressure until the point is felt and holds it for two minutes. Pregnant women should never press this point.
  • To calm the nerves and stimulate digestion, a person finds the ‘‘CV12’’ point that is four thumb widths above the navel in the center of the abdomen. Calm the point with the palm, using gentle stroking for several minutes.
  • To stimulate the immune system, a person finds the ‘‘TH5’’ point on the back of the forearm two thumb widths above the wrist. The dispersing technique, or circular pressure with the thumb or finger, is used for two minutes on each arm.
  • For headaches, sinus congestion, and tension, a person locate the ‘‘GB20’’ points at the base of the skull in the back of the head, just behind the bones in back of the ears and then disperses these points for two minutes with the fingers or thumbs. The individual can also find the ‘‘yintang’’ point, which is in the middle of the forehead between the eyebrows and disperse it with gentle pressure for two minutes to clear the mind and to relieve headaches.

Acupressure is a safe technique, but it is not meant to replace professional health care. Aphysician should always be consulted when there are doubts about medical conditions. If a condition is chronic, a professional should be consulted; purely symptomatic treatment can exacerbate chronic conditions.

Acupressure should not be applied to open wounds or to places that are swollen or inflamed. Areas of scar tissue, blisters, boils, rashes, or varicose veins should be avoided. Finally, certain acupressure points should not be stimulated on people with high or low blood pressure and on pregnant women.