Acupressure is a traditional Chinese technique described as acupuncture without the needles. It has been known to create instant relief to chronic pain sufferers. A form of touch therapy, it involves the use of manual pressure to specific points of the body, using fingers or any suitable blunt object. Because it does not involve needles or invasive objects, a layperson or even you can perform it.
According to the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, your body contains special pathways or meridians through which life energy flows, connecting organs to other parts of the body. The energy is known as chi, or ki in Japan. If this energy becomes blocked at any point on the meridian it is believed that the blockage can cause ailments or disease. Stimulation of acupressure points, the junctures of the meridians, is believed to create endorphins, the body’s natural pain -killer. When the pain is blocked, blood and oxygen flow is increased to the affected area, the muscles relax and the healing process is activated.
Acupressure is usually administered by an acupuncturist. You may lie on a massage table or reclining chair. Pressure on the chosen acupressure points is applied using the thumb, finger or knuckle. Sometimes the elbow or knee may be used. This pressure may be increased or decreased for a certain amount of time and may be repeated up to five times.
Cupping Therapy Acupressure Points
Cupping therapy is an acupressure method which creates a vacuum next to the your skin. Cups, bells or balls may be used, heated inside, then placed on the skin. As the cup cools and the air inside contracts, the skin is pulled inside slightly. This method can also be created using a mechanical suction pump. Fire cupping involves the same principles but a flame is introduced to the cup before being placed on the skin. Wet cupping or blood cupping involves making a skin incision then, using the usual cupping method, the vacuum drawing blood from the wound. A more modern method involves using silicon cups, which, it is claimed, prevent the bruising which often takes place after traditional cupping methods.
When self- treating, it may be advantageous to use suitable safe everyday objects to stimulate acupressure points. An eraser-ended pencil, using the rubber end to administer pressure, may be suitable. Other home methods have included taping small ball bearings to specific areas, similar to the wristbands used for travel sickness. Using a map of acupressure points will allow you to experiment with your specific type of pain.
The New Generation of Acupuncture
New devices are being brought onto the market creating a new generation of acupuncture. There are electronic devices offering ‘electro-acupressure’, which will identify acupressure points, administer the required amount of pressure and determine treatment time. These come in the form of probes and pens, and are usually battery operated.
While acupuncture and acupressure may not suit everyone, they are certainly worth considering when looking for chronic pain relief.