Acupressure is a natural alternative therapy which has been around for over 2,000 years. It originated in China, and is even older than acupuncture. It is used to heal many health problems, and it has proven to be effective in preventing problems, particularly those that come with aging.
Chinese medical practitioners, acupuncturists, and massage therapists all include acupressure into their treatments. It is an effective way to help your body regain balance, an important aspect of homeostasis the body and always looking for, especially with the fast-paced, high pressured, and stressful lives we all lead.
Acupuncture uses needles, while acupressure uses the human hand and its parts, like the fingers, thumbs, and knuckles, to press key points on the skin. It should be pointed out though, that both procedures are painless. The needles used in acupuncture are so thin, they are hardly ever felt. They both recognize the same key points, one through the use of needles, and the other through the use of hands or some other blunt object.
It's also possible to buy pressure bands, when constant, continuous pressure is required, such as with relief from nausea. Acupressure can be very useful for treating children who might be frightened by acupuncture needles. In adults, acupressure is often used to decrease stress, with amazing results. You can learn how to use acupressure in a short time and be able to apply to yourself or your family members, unlike acupuncture, which requires many years of specialized education and experience.
Chinese medicine has identified 14 channels, called meridians, which are used to transport the movement of chi or qi, (both pronounced 'chee', which is the 'life energy') inside our body. By applying pressure to key points along each meridian, acupressure helps to improve circulation, reduce tension, balance the body, increase endorphins, and strengthen resistance to illness. It can also be used to treat everyday pains such as headache, stress and eye strain.
A study done at Dankook University in Korea showed acupressure to be successful in reducing the pain of labor as well as shortening the length of labor. It's also been found to be an effective way to induce labor, and for this reason, only someone experienced in acupressure should apply it on pregnant women.
In Taiwan, research showed acupressure to be more effective in decreasing lower back pain than traditional physical therapies, and results lasting longer after treatment. One recent study shows that acupressure applied to the P6 (located in the wrist) had significant results in relieving acid reflux.
Acupressure is not intended to increase your tolerance for pain. It shouldn't hurt. If pressure is applied and pain is felt, stop the pressure immediately. You may feel a slight numbness from acupressure, but you should never feel pain.
I'm not sure why Western medicine seems so reluctant to embrace techniques from other cultures that have been providing proven results for centuries. Perhaps modern day doctors fear their services might no longer be needed if everyone started using alternative therapies and natural remedies for their health related problems.
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