Acupressure is essentially the practice of applying pressure to specific points of the body. It achieves the same goal as acupuncture, which is to open up blocked or compromised energy pathways within the body, but they differ in that acupressure does not use needles. The philosophy behind acupressure is that we all have meridians, or internal lines, that guide the flow of energy within the body. When certain symptoms or conditions arise, it may be due to a block in the meridian or stagnant energy, causing the body to become imbalanced and manifest illness.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), stimulating specific points on the body with either acupressure or acupuncture is thought to restore the proper flow of energy to address stagnant or blocked energy. In Japan, acupressure is called Shiatsu.
There are 360 points and 12 meridians on the human body, according to acupuncture and acupressure practitioners. The pressure points act as accessible surface extensions of our internal organs. By pinpointing where the energy flow is compromised, skilled practitioners can help to naturally restore the body’s energy flow and balance. Establishing a proper flow of energy is a fundamental aspect to good health in many Eastern health disciplines. Learn more about energy healing and the power of meditation.
Research has shown that acupressure is a valuable tool for combating nausea. Some studies have even shown acupressure as a better remedy for nausea than anti-nausea and anti-vomiting drugs. By simply stimulating points on the wrist, acupressure techniques cause the brain to release feel-good chemicals such as serotonin, dopamine or endorphins that block chemicals responsible for feelings of nausea and vomiting. Acupressure can also benefit those dealing with fatigue, as shown in one study that compared one group receiving acupressure and another group receiving “sham” acupressure. The group receiving acupressure improved by 19 percent while the other group receiving sham acupressure only improved by 0.6 percent.
The traditional practices of ancient health care systems are kept alive for a good reason: they help people. Combining the time-tested methods of ancient health care with the discoveries of modern science is a truly unique and holistic strategy to achieve wellness. Focusing on the person and the body, rather than only the symptoms, allows the freedom to personalize a plan best suited for an individual’s condition. If you have not yet found the best solution for a condition you have, consider speaking with a certified acupuncturist or acupressure therapist. Learn more information about these and other helpful treatment modalities here.
By Dr. Isaac Eliaz M.D., L.Ac., M.S.
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