Acupressure vs. Acupuncture

Improve your health and quality of life through acupuncture or acupressure. These treatments use different approaches but both offer amazing benefits.

| July 2018

  • acupressure treatment
    Acupressure treatment is based on acupuncture, but rather than using needles, acupressure applies pressure to an acupoint to smooth imbalances within the body.
    Photo by Getty Images/ChesiireCat
  • acupressure cover
    “The Essential Step-by-Step Guide to Acupressure with Aromatherapy” by Karin Parramore discusses acupressure treatment and the number of ways readers can use it to naturally heal themselves with it.
    Cover courtesy of Robert Rose Inc.

  • acupressure treatment
  • acupressure cover

In The Essential Step-by-Step Guide to Acupressure with Aromatherapy: Relief for 64 Common Health Conditions, Karin Parramore provides detailed instructions on using acupressure treatment to stimulate the body's ability to heal naturally. With step-by-step instructions and detailed photos, readers can easily manage daily symptoms naturally and begin living their best life in no time. The following excerpt is from Chapter 1, "Understanding Chinese Medicine and Its Therapies."

Acupressure is based on acupuncture, a treatment in which filiform (hair‑like) needles are inserted into acupuncture points (acupoints) to stimulate a number of different responses. From a purely biomedical perspective, acupuncture is known to stimulate the immune response that occurs at anytime we insert something foreign into the body. There may be changes in the tissues at the site of the insertion, among other things. Hormonal changes can take place, for example, leading to a sense of calm and relaxation. From a Chinese Medicine perspective, the needle is a conduit for the qi (energy, or life force) in the universe to interact with the qi of both the practitioner and the patient. The patterns of nature guide the patterns within our bodies, and sometimes we need to reconnect with those universal blueprints to maintain a sense of well-being.

As an acupuncturist, I can sense changes in the patterns and I work with patients to help smooth the flow of qi. Most times, I am working to remove blockages and encourage qi to return to those places in the body where it is deficient, in order to restore order to the system; in other words, such treatments help the body remember the pattern of health by removing the blocks to health. There are several tools that assist with this process — needling, massage, herbs and essential oils, for example. In most cases, it takes many years to attain both proficiency at needling and a license to practice acupuncture. For practitioners attempting to work with the root pattern, it makes sense that we would need a great deal of training. The ability to address the symptoms, however, is something everyone should be able to achieve. Reducing discomfort or improving digestion, for example, can greatly improve the quality of life as we work through the process of returning the body to a place of balance.

As mentioned, simply pressing on the acupoint with the intention of smoothing the imbalances can be remarkably effective. With the addition of essential oils to the treatment, we take advantage of the temperature, nature and direction of the oil to further adjust the imbalances of qi. Temperature refers to the influence of the oil on the body, while direction influences whether the qi will move up, down or circulate. Applying essential oil dilutions to an acupoint before pressing allows the chemical compounds, and their message of change, to enter the channel at the places best suited for correcting change, and these are the points Chinese medical practitioners have been using for thousands of years. Channels are the rivers of movement in the body, along which qi (vital force) travels. In other words, the oils may be able to function in place of the needles.

More from The Essential Step-by-Step Guide to Acupressure with Aromatherapy:

Courtesy of The Essential Step-by-Step Guide to Acupressure with Aromatherapy by Karin Parramore, LAC, CH, © 2016 Reprinted with permission. Available where books are sold. Image credit: Kacey Baxter.

Karin Parramore, LA C, CH, has been interested in herbal medicine her entire life. She has been a practicing aromatherapist since 2002 and obtained her degree in Chinese Medicine a few years later. She has her own clinic and teaches at her alma mater, the National College of Natural Medicine and East West College of the Healing Arts.



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