Acupressure is an ancient Chinese therapy based on similar ideas to acupuncture. By applying pressure to areas of the body that are causing blockages in blood-flow, nerve function, or even the spiritual energy known as qi, acupressure can bring one to a state of health previously unknown. Rather than using needles to open up blockages in energy pathways, as in acupuncture, acupressure involves placing physical pressure on various pressure points on the body by hand, elbow, or with the aid of various devices.
The pressure points used in acupressure are interconnected throughout the body by that which is called the meridian system. The meridian system is a kind of nervous system that spans the entire body, only the pathways carry energy. The energy is called qi, or chi. By using the meridian system an acupressure therapist can work on various areas of the body from a single point of focus. This brings about relief and greater balance and circulation of fluids (blood, lymph nodes) and metabolic energies in the body (heat, qi). Many have also felt a new level of energy, clear-mindedness or heightened perception from a single acupressure session.
There are literally hundreds of acupressure points. They were mapped out long ago by researchers of alternative medicine and spirituality. Research into the health benefits from a western standpoint is still in its infancy, but many patients report positive results for a number of health concerns, all of which are related to poor circulation and tension. The concept that energy flows through the meridians of the body is fundamental in the work of qi gong, tai chi, acupuncture and acupressure. In the past, our understanding of the meridian pathways was not scientifically aligned to our actual physical veins or nerves in the cardiovascular and nervous system, but as of recently there seems to have been a connection found via modern medical technology.
According to a study published in the Journal of Electron Spectroscopy and Related Phenomena, researchers found by using a new combination of imaging techniques and CT or computerized tomography scans, they could clearly indicate concentrated points of microvascular structures that obviously correspond to the map of Chinese acupressure points discovered over 2,000 years ago. The concentrated points of micro blood vessels indicate an energy storage center. This may suggest the potential reality, as believed by the ancient Chinese acupressure practitioners, that by systematically applying pressure to these energy centers that have developed blockages over the course of life and stress, that these blockages may be relaxed or stimulated to allow for proper energy flow to ensue.
The goal of acupressure is to restore balanced energy levels and health to the body’s meridian channels necessary for regulating the opposing forces of negative yin energy and positive yang energy. By clearing all energy blockages, the body is able to experience complete harmony, thus lifting the vibration of emotions, mind, body, and spirit. It is also considered that the therapist themselves transmit positive qi to the recipient of the therapy. This is similar to Reiki.
Though it has been proven these energy channels exist, some believe that the improved health benefits are simply factors of reduced muscle tension, improved circulation, or stimulated endorphins. All of these are likely to be true, but this only further validates the beneficial results of properly applied acupressure. A body relaxed and free of stress and dis-ease will be healthy and vibrant. Using acupressure is merely another one of the many tools in the ancient healing arts passed down through the ages.
Gach, Michael Reed. Acupressure's Potent Points: A Guide to Self-Care for Common Ailments. Bantam Books, 1990, www.amazon.com/gp/product/0553349708.
Davies, Clair, et al. The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief. New Harbinger Publications, www.amazon.com/Trigger-Point-Therapy-Workbook-Self-Treatment/dp/1572243759.