Acupressure is an ancient Chinese therapy, but the Western world has become acquainted with it only relatively recently. Put simply, it involves applying pressure to the body where it is thought to correspond with channels of energy. When given by trained professionals, acupressure is thought to bring relief from pain, nausea and anxiety, among other common ailments.
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Whether you are already familiar with the practice or don’t know anything about it yet, the information below will provide a brief overview that could help you decide whether this therapy is right for you.
It Was Once Used As A Beauty Treatment
Chinese practitioners commonly used acupressure to help people keep looking youthful. There are also some people who believe it can reduce problems related to aging, such as lines and sagging. Supporters of the practice used for that reason think acupressure is advantageous because it improves facial circulation and therefore has a stimulating effect. However, there has not been significant scholarly research that proves such a thing.
There Is No Consensus About Why It Works
Although acupressure is now much more popular and recognized as a treatment method outside of China, scientists have not been able to reach an agreement about why it’s effective. Although numerous scientific studies have been conducted, there are still many schools of thought about why acupressure works.
Some people think it’s because the stimulation of the pressure points releases endorphins, which would particularly explain why acupressure works as a pain reliever. Alternatively, others believe that the pressure applied to the body has a positive influence on the body’s autonomic nervous system.
In traditional Chinese medicine, it’s believed that acupressure releases blocked energy, or Chi, by restoring natural flow throughout the body. Practitioners say when the energy flow is assisted in that way, the body can begin to heal itself.
You Can Do Acupressure On Yourself
Unlike some types of treatments, acupressure is one you can do to yourself once you’re familiar with the various pressure points on the body and how each one relates to a specific symptom or bodily function.
Although it’s easy to learn about those areas online, it’s also smart to consider getting formal instruction if you plan to apply acupressure to yourself regularly. Always follow any instructions you receive regarding duration and placement.
Generally, acupressure should not be painful. Some people confuse it with acupuncture, which involves using thin-gauge needles on the same pressure points to release blocked energy. Although acupuncture can sometimes be painful, depending on where the needles are placed, the same is not true with acupressure.
There Are Many Reasons To Try It
Acupressure is a non-invasive therapy that has brought relief to people suffering from a wide variety of ailments. Some of the most common ones are anxiety, headaches and nausea.
There’s a specific point on the inner wrist for nausea relief. If you’ve ever seen the motion-sickness bands often sold in travel shops, these products work off the principle of acupressure by targeting that particular spot when worn properly.
You May Have Already Received Acupressure During Massages
Some people are not aware that many well-trained massage therapists are well-trained in acupressure points and characteristically apply them while treating their clients. That means you may have already received acupressure even if you were not aware of it at the time.
If you decide to pursue acupressure in an intentional way by seeking out a practitioner, expect your sessions to last about an hour. You’ll be fully clothed and probably be asked to lie on a massage table. If it’s easier, your practitioner can likely adjust so that you’re able to stay seated instead. You might need to go to an acupressure specialist for several sessions for best results.
Some States Require Acupressure Practitioners To Be Licensed In Another Discipline
Although there is not a governing body through which acupressure practitioners can receive licenses for their discipline, there are some states that require acupressure providers to be licensed in another health-related specialty before they can practice acupressure.
In states where this is mandatory, it’s common for acupressure specialists to get licensed in massage therapy as well. Despite the lack of a national licensing body, many people who practice acupressure decide to enhance their skills by getting training from specialized schools.
Many programs offered at such places require a respectable amount of hands-on practice in addition to classroom lectures. If you have any doubts about the amount of training your acupressure specialist has had, ask about their educational background, and request evidence of certification from acupressure schools, if applicable.
Acupressure Is Not Recommended For Pregnant Women
Although acupressure generally is not thought to cause harm, it’s not something you should pursue if pregnant. That’s because the stimulation provided by acupressure may encourage contractions. If you are not very far along in your pregnancy and really want to give acupressure a try, it’s worth speaking to your obstetrician to weigh the possible risks against the benefits.
It Is Often Used Along With Other Treatments
There are some instances where it’s not appropriate to use acupressure alone to treat an ailment. For example, if you have a problem with a vital organ in your body, it’s not feasible to think that acupressure alone will sufficiently treat it.
However, it’s a good idea to tell your doctor that you are interested in trying acupressure. In most cases, you won’t exacerbate the problem and may get some relief.
However, keep in mind that acupressure should not be given to patients who have osteoporosis because the pressure applied to the body could cause bone fractures. Furthermore, acupressure is generally not as effective when applied to the stomach versus other areas, because the tissue is too soft.
Your Insurance May Not Cover It
Because acupressure is considered by many to be an alternative medicine, you may have difficulty getting your insurance provider to cover the cost of treatment. If cost is a major concern, see if there are any community centers in your area that offer acupressure on a periodic basis.
Some practitioners travel to places in their neighborhoods and provide services for interested persons at discounted rates. If there are any natural healing events, such as trade shows, in your area, those would likely be places where you could get one-time acupressure sessions as well.
In conclusion, because acupressure has minimal side effects in most cases and may provide relief from your symptoms, it’s a good thing to try, especially if you’re not interested in becoming overly dependent on pills and other conventional treatments.
Communicate thoroughly with your practitioner during each session, and pay attention to anything you notice afterwards. Staying in tune with your body should make it easier to determine whether you want to get future sessions.