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Acupressure is an ancient Chinese healing method that involves applying pressure to certain meridian points on the body to relieve pain.
The human body has fourteen "meridians" that carry energy throughout the body. These meridians start at the fingertips, connect to the brain, and then connect to the organ associated with the specific meridian.
Acupuncture and Acupressure use the same points, but acupuncture uses needles, while acupressure uses the gentle but firm pressure of hands. There is a massive amount of scientific data that demonstrates why and how acupuncture is effective.
Acupressure is the most effective method for self-treatment of tension-related ailments by using the power and sensitivity of the human hand. Acupressure deals with all the aspects of a person as a whole: body, emotions, mind, and spirit as one, not as separate parts. It relaxes muscular tension and balances the vital life forces of the body.
Acupressure uses the fingers to press key points on the surface of the skin to stimulate the body's natural self-curative abilities. When these points are pressed, they release muscular tension and promote the circulation of blood and the body's life force to aid healing.
Acupressure can be effective in helping relieve headaches, eyestrain, sinus problems, neck pain, backaches, arthritis, muscle aches, and tension due to stress. There are also great advantages to using Acupressure as a way to balance the body and maintain good health. The healing touch of acupressure reduces tension, increases circulation, and enables the body to relax deeply. By relieving stress, acupressure strengthens resistance to disease and promotes wellness.
Acupressure focuses on relieving pain and discomfort as well as on responding to tension before it develops into a "disease," that is, before the constrictions and imbalances can do further damage. By using a combination of self-help methods, you can improve your condition as well as feel more alive, healthy, and in harmony with your life.
This treatment involves stimulating the vital-energy points along the meridians on our body to effect maximum energy flow.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, there are over 800 vital energy points along the meridians that run from the head down to the heels, especially along either side of the spinal column. (The meridians connect the interior and exterior of the body). Every point has specific therapeutic effects on the related organ. By massaging these points, the corresponding body area receives specific therapeutic treatment. It can be used to treat internal organ diseases, relieve internal discomfort, and relax yourself; or to promote overall well-being of the body.
Western scientists have shown that many of these points are located at key crossways of the autonomic nervous system. This may explain in part why they can affect pain that the patient experiences in a part of the body far from where the pressure is applied.
How to Apply Pressure
Firm pressure is the most fundamental technique. Use thumbs, fingers, palms, the side of the hand, or knuckles to apply steady, stationary pressure. To relax an area or relieve pain, apply pressure gradually and hold without any movement for several minutes at a time.
You can use prolonged finger pressure directly on the point; gradual, steady, penetrating pressure for approximately three minutes is ideal. Each point will feel somewhat different when you press it; some points feel tense, while others are often sore or ache when pressed. How much pressure to apply to any point depends on how fit you are. A general guideline to follow is that the pressure should be firm enough so that it hurts a little.
The more developed the muscles are, the more pressure you should apply. If you feel extreme sensitivity or pain, gradually decrease the pressure until you find a balance between pain and pleasure. Do not continue to press a point that is excruciatingly painful.
Usually, however, if you firmly hold the point long enough (up to 2 minutes using the middle finger with your index and ring fingers on either side as support), the pain will diminish. Note that sometimes when you hold a point, you'll feel pain in another part of your body. This phenomenon is called referred pain and indicates that those areas are related.
It's important to drink plenty of warm water after the massage, to help clear away toxic substances in your body.