Similar to acupuncture, acupressure is an ancient healing technique originating from China that is based on the principles of balancing the vital energy flow, known as qi, through meridians, or channels, of the body, which are connected to the various organs and tissue.
It is believed that disease occurs when the meridians become blocked, and qi is unable to flow naturally. Acupressure relieves these blockages by applying pressure on specific acupoints of the body, thereby stimulating the body’s natural self-healing abilities.
A substantial amount of research has been conducted on the efficacy of acupressure, and results show that acupressure can increase circulation, relieve neuromuscular tension and decrease pain, as well as decrease disability, increase mobility, function and quality of life. Further research has also demonstrated that acupressure is effective in:
- Improving muscle tone
- Preventing and treating nausea, vomiting, and motion sickness
- Reducing stress
- Improving energy levels
- Reducing acute and chronic pain
- Reducing stress
- Reducing depressive symptoms
- Reducing anxiety
- Reducing fatigue
- Improving symptoms of fibromyalgia
- Decrease sexual dysfunction
- Increase fertility
Additionally, while more research is needed, preliminary studies show that acupressure can improve muscle tone and circulation in the facial muscles and skin, enhancing the condition and appearance of the skin, decreasing fine wrinkles and sagging.
There are several acupressure styles and techniques that apply different rhythms and pressures, which are often performed by Registered Massage Therapists (RMT). For example, shiatsu massage uses firm pressure, kneading, tapping, and stretching techniques, whereas tui na massage uses calm and steady pressure with rolling, pulling, grasping, pinching, and rocking techniques to deeply penetrate acupoints.
Below you will find some of our frequently asked questions about acupressure. If your question is not answered, please feel free to contact us!
Acupressure is a form of touch therapy that utilizes the principles of acupuncture and Chinese medicine. In acupressure, the same points on the body are used as in acupuncture, but are stimulated with finger pressure instead of with the insertion of needles. Acupressure is used to relieve a variety of symptoms and pain.
Acupressure massage performed by a therapist can be very effective both as prevention and as a treatment for many health conditions, including headaches, general aches and pains, colds and flu, arthritis, allergies, asthma , nervous tension, menstrual cramps, sinus problems, sprains, tennis elbow , and toothaches, among others. Unlike acupuncture which requires a visit to a professional, acupressure can be performed by a layperson. Acupressure techniques are fairly easy to learn, and have been used to provide quick, cost-free, and effective relief from many symptoms. Acupressure points can also be stimulated to increase energy and feelings of well-being, reduce stress , stimulate the immune system, and alleviate sexual dysfunction.
There have been no treatment-related adverse effects reported from acupressure treatment, and therefore is considered a safe, well-tolerated, and highly acceptable therapy. However, certain acupoints are thought to stimulate uterine contractions, and therefore, should be avoided during pregnancy. Additionally, individuals with bone cancer or cancerous tumours in the area of treatment, spinal injury, bone disease, varicose veins, bleeding disorders or who bruise easily should consult a health professional prior to acupressure treatment.
While acupuncture uses needles, acupressure uses gentle to firm pressure at the acupoints to stimulate the body and induce healing.
Acupuncture can be expensive, requires a certified acupuncturist to administer the treatment, may not be available in all areas and may be inadvisable for some patients with heart or other medical conditions, whereas acupressure can be self-administered, and therefore, is more accessible and less expensive. Additionally, acupressure may be an effective treatment for those patients who are unable to tolerate acupuncture, such as those with immune disorders, skin disorders, metal allergies, and patients with valvular heart disease.
Acupressure should be performed by certified acupressure practitioners (CAP) or RMT.