Acupressure Basics

Get to know your basic pressure points to address acute pain, relieve stress and more with acupressure.

| November/December 2015

When I began my training as a health-care provider, I already knew that supplements and medications were wonderful allies. But my deepest desire was to learn how to relieve pain and address illness with nothing more than my hands. Since then, acupressure has become a powerful tool to help me fulfill that dream, allowing me to relieve people’s pain through this 5,000-year-old Chinese therapy. Acupressure relies on the same system of channels and points as acupuncture. The difference is the method used to stimulate the points: applying gentle pressure on specific areas of the body instead of inserting needles. Acupressure is safe, effective and easy to learn, making it a wonderful ally for addressing acute pain and common illnesses. Let’s step right into the basics of acupressure. Note: If you have a chronic or significant problem, be sure to discuss acupressure with your health-care provider.

Getting Started: Channels and Meridians

According to Chinese medicine, not only blood but also energy flows through our bodies, following pathways like river beds. Although these streams, or channels, of vitality flow near nerve pathways and blood vessels in the body, they’re considered separate entities in Chinese medicine. Qi, the life force or vitality that flows through these rivers, ultimately connects with our internal organs.

The basic philosophy of acupressure is that, for our organs to be nourished and pain-free, these qi channels must be running smoothly. If a dam develops in any of these channels, pressure will build behind the blockage, and we can experience acute pain. And if these channels run dry, we can experience deficient pain, which is usually a dull and achy discomfort.

The purpose of acupressure is to maintain a smooth, steady flow in the qi meridians, which in turn relieves pain and nourishes the internal organs. Think of each point as an entryway into that qi channel. Some of the points are small access points; others are major harbors. A group of important points bridge multiple channels. These connecting points have deep, broad-reaching effects in the body, extending to much more than pain relief in that immediate area.

Acupressure FAQs

Use this basic information to start experimenting with pain relief using this ancient therapy.

How big is an acupressure point?
Most acupressure points are about the size of a dime or nickel, whereas the major connecting points are the size of a quarter. If you touch any part of that area, you will stimulate the point.

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