Back acupuncture pressure points showing acupuncture point model

About Acupressure Technique and Pressure Points Benefits

Acupressure is a traditional East Asian healing method to relieve pain, promote relaxation, wellness and to treat some diseases. During the acupressure session, a therapist stimulates acupuncture points along the meridians using fingers instead of acupuncture needles. Therefore, acupressure is sometimes called acupuncture without the needles.

Acupressure is one of massage procedures with its roots in ancient Chinese medicine.  Tuina can be considered a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) form of acupressure, shiatsu is a Japanese form of acupressure. While tuina and shiatsu have been developed as systemic professional massage procedures, a single point acupressure has been used as home remedy to eliminate or ease some minor health issues.

In this section of, we introduce some of the commonly used acupressure points for different health conditions and symptoms.

Acupressure Point for Constipation

Important Acupressure Tips

  • Unless specifically specified, use the thumb to apply a steady, firm pressure. Certain acupressure points can be more effectively stimulated by using the tips of other fingers (index, middle or baby fingers) or palms of the hands.
  • Moderate pressure on acupoints may induce a sensation of dull ache or tenderness.   However, the pressure should not cause any pain or discomfort.
  • Do not use the nails to apply pressure.
  • Spend 3-5 seconds to apply a gentle, gradual pressure, then slowly release the pressure.  Repeat the process several times.
  • In general, a direct pressure on bones and joints is not recommended.
  • Do not apply acupressure to areas of swelling, redness, or wounds.
  • Acupressure should be avoided for individuals with acute injuries, fever, osteoporosis, cancer and some other illnesses.
  • Certain acupressure points are contraindicated during pregnancy.

Differences Between Acupressure and Acupuncture

Although acupuncture and acupressure are both used to stimulate meridians, they do so differently. Acupuncture involves inserting hair-like needles into specific points in the body. The needles are very flexible, and the procedure is usually painless. In some cases, the acupuncturist may stimulate the points by twirling the needles. Although it can vary, the needles may stay in your body for about 30 minutes.

Acupressure uses firm pressure instead of needles to massage and stimulate the meridians. Pressure can be applied using the fingers, palms, hands or a tool.

When it comes to acupuncture and acupressure, one practice is not better than the other. Acupressure has been around longer, but more clinical studies have been conducted involving the effectiveness of acupuncture.  Although acupuncture is usually not painful, some people do not like the idea of needles and may prefer acupressure.

Risks and Precautions

Acupressure and acupuncture are considered safe for most people and usually do not cause any negative side effects. Although side effects are very rare, when they do occur, it is usually the result of a poorly trained acupuncturist or acupressurist.

Since acupressure does not involve inserting needles, there are virtually no side effects. Slight tissue damage is a rare complication, which again is usually due to poor technique by the practitioner. Although most states do not currently license acupressurists, it’s still essential to go to a qualified practitioner.

Look for an acupressurist who completed formal training in acupressure and is certified through a professional organization. The top national certification agencies include the National Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and the American Organization of Bodywork Therapies of Asia.

Characteristics of Acupressure

Relaxation **

Therapeutic ****

Intensity: Moderate to Very Strong

Lubrication: no

Undressing: no

Tip: Depends on facility

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