Last Modified on Feb 26, 2014
A practice used in China for thousands of years, acupressure is based on the same principles as acupuncture and functions to promote relaxation and health as well as to minimize disease. The practice is also often called pressure acupuncture and can be considered a form of acupuncture without the use of needles. However, acupressure is its own practice and is used to heal a variety of conditions.
What is Acupressure?
A branch of the numerous Asian bodywork therapies with connections to traditional Chinese medicine, acupressure is a practice that relies on the application of pressure to specific acupoints on the body. Practitioners of acupressure use their fingers, palms, elbows, feet or special devices to apply appropriate, steady pressure to these points on the body. The practice also involves stretching and massage as well as other methods.
The goal of acupressure, much like any other form of Asian bodywork, is to restore health and balance to the body. The practice incorporates the regulation of the opposing energy forces of negative energy or yin and positive energy or yang. Many individuals believe and purport that this form of medicine treats not only the energy fields but also the mind, emotions and spirit.
Health Conditions that May Be Treated Using Acupressure
At the very least, acupressure restores health by reducing muscle tension, improving circulation and stimulating endorphins. As such, the treatment can be used to alleviate a variety of health conditions, using specific pressure points to align with different parts of the body.
The practice is responsible for treating a variety of conditions including digestive problems, skin issues, eye conditions and others. Some of the most commonly treated health conditions include acid reflux and constipation. Headaches, acne and other skin issues, myopia and congestion are also common treated using this practice.
Considered a blend of acupuncture and pressure, acupressure is a traditional Chinese medicine that is closely derived from acupuncture. The practice utilizes physical pressure applied to points by the hands, elbows and other devices to specific pressure points on the body. This form of medicine uses pressure to restore health and balance in the body naturally.
[YEA] 03/14/2009: Ila from Kitchener, Ontario, Canada: "Hi All, Would like to share a trick I use when I get acid reflux at night and have no ACV or other remedy at hand. Fluff up your pillow, get into bed and roll over onto your LEFT SIDE, make a fist and press into the hollow area at centre of chest just under your rib cage, and above the stomach. If you use enough pressure, you should feel relief within a minute or two, it works almost immediately for me. I hope it may work for others also. Never sleep on your right side, as it tends to make the reflux worse. It is very difficult for me to get ACV down my throat ,as I dislike it so much, it gives me shivers just thinking about it. I managed to get it down mixed with some water a few times so I know it works for acid reflux. Now I just sip a little pickle juice but I don't recommend this for others because of the salt content,Thanks for the great site,cheers to all,Ila"
03/07/2010: Joyce from Joelton, Tn: "I just left a site that I thought might interest EC-ers.
It gives pictures, as well as verbal description on how to locate pressure points. I think the description of accupressure without needles defines what it is fairly well. You can also print this one out to keep for references, instead of having to look it up in the computer every time you need it. Have fun, because it is interesting."Replies
04/22/2013: Mayanew from Benton City, Washington replies: "I tried several times just now to go to this website and the link is no longer valid. I also did a limited search on the site with no success. Too bad!"
EC: Looks like you're right, Maya. Does anyone else have a link for a good guide to acupressure points?
04/26/2013: Polly from London, England replies: "I use a book called The Complete System of Self Healing Internal Exercises by Dr. Stephen T Chang. This has diagrams and advice for helping various problems; it works brilliantly by the way!"
[YEA] 07/25/2007: Teresa from Morristown, Tennessee: "I'm 44 and recently had a 19 year old ask me out. I bend over for a few minutes at least once a day to let the blood rush into my face. I also use facial accupressure techniques, which I found out how to do from reading an old book written in the '70s. I've been doing shiatisu facial massage on myself for twenty years, I found this in a book. I also mix rose hips and vitamin E oil and a few drops of ACV into peanut oil and rub my body and face down nightly. I recently started color breathing where you inhale the imagined color pink, (Yvonne Martine's technique) and this is like a mini face lift!"
EC: We went searching just now and found a book in our collection from 1976 called Shiatzu Japanese Pressure Point MassageZone Therapy Book by Anika Bergson and Vladimir Tuchak. It covers the entire body, not just the face but may be the book Teresa is referring to. Another book by Anika Bergson from 1974 is Zone Therapy Acupressure Techniques. You can buy these books on Amazon for pennies.
Congestion and Cough
[YEA] 12/24/2011: Crystbear from Mineral, Virginia: "When I was 5 or 6 years old, I fell asleep in front of a large fan on a hot summer night at my aunt's home. That morning I when I woke up my throat was nearly closing up, congested, and could hardly breathe if I coughed in the slightest. (I was/am prone to respiratory..bronchitis/asthma) She rushed me to her doctor, who took off my shoe and sock, barely touched the sole of my foot. I believe it was my right foot, but can't swear to it now- lol been a long time, and instantly, my throat cleared up! That's it.. Nothing else had to be done. No one ever mentioned it again.. Not to me anyway, and I only began hearing about acupressure in the last 15 years or so.. So, I believe that doctor was ahead of his time. I wish all doctors were into natural/homeopathic remedies today. Anyway, that's my one and only experience.
I just found this site, and I love it. Thank you very much."
[YEA] 11/27/2008: Susan from Atlanta, Georgia, USA: "For constipation, I use an acupressure point in the arm. The point is found when you bend the arm - for example, place your right hand on your left shoulder. At the bend of the elbow, use your left hand to locate the acupressure point about halfway between the crease of the bend and the bone. Massage that point for about 15 seconds, then switch to the other arm. Back and forth. I also do this while standing. Usually works within 10 to 15 minutes at most. Also, I have cut out wheat and all gluten grains. I did not think I had a gluten problem but found out that I have that sensitivity."
[YEA] Donna from Aspen, CO: "Every morning, before you get out of bed -- rub your tummy with your fist, not too hard, gently, but make an impression, only for about 10 seconds. It may take two mornings of rubbing, but you'll never be constipated again."Replies
[YEA] 11/03/2009: Boomer from Edmonton, Ab replies: "Make sure if you rub your stomache that you do it in a clockwise motion. Rubbing counter clockwise can result in increased constipation and can cause problems with your intestines."
[YEA] 07/24/2008: Derek from Fort Worth, Tx: "Acupressure helped cure my severe headaches. I have been having severe headaches for about a week now and was tired of medicating myself with Tylenol, Alleve, etc. I remembered I saw an email passed around that listed natural cures for things. I searched the internet and found this website. Once there, I looked up headaches remedies and found the one that mentions having someone squeeze or put pressure in the space between your thumb and index finger for about 5 minutes. It was late at night so I just did it myself and was amazed that in 5 minutes I was completely pain free. I dont know how and I dont know why it worked, but I'm certainly not complaining! Give it a try. Good Luck!!"Replies
[YEA] 05/06/2011: Bill from Newcastle, N.s.w. Australia replies: "Yep. A great point and works well for headaches. You will probably find it works for other aches as well and is good as a temporary measure. But BEWARE. This point is definately NOT to be used if you are pregnant. It can cause damage to the un born foetus.
For more accupressure points I use this site: www.yinyanghouse.com
[YEA] 10/19/2006: Jhon from Defo WI: "When i was little, i used to get a headache every single day, i hated it. my mom didn't want to give my tylenol every day cause it was bad for you, so she used this remedy: If you have a headache or have one coming on, find a person who will squeeze between your thumb and index finger. Do this for about 5 minutes. It is going to hurt but it makes the pain go away"
[YEA] Katie from Chagrin Falls, OH: "I know for a fact a simple way to reduce the pain in headaches is to apply pressure to your temples and rub in a circular motion, it works every time."
[BETTER BUT NOT CURED] 02/01/2009: Christine from Virginia Beach, Virgnia: "Modern day Chinese people have overcome myopia through the usage of acupressure massage techniques. Some of them are listed in the eBook you have mentioned. Today I started doing them.
While it is too early to tell whether they will overcome myopia or not, I can tell you that my eyes already feel more relaxed, and my sinuses are draining better. Perhaps these exercises will help sinus trouble in addition to the myopia that plagues our nation."
Self Touch Energy Healing
[YEA] 04/16/2012: Dennis from Calgary, Alberta, Canada: "Hi Earth Clinic, I just wanted to let you know of a book that I found very useful. Applying the technique taught in this book relieved my anxiety in a few minutes. The author has also used the method in the book to treat depression, anger, and PTSD.
The book is called "The Happiness Code" by Dr. Gary Laundre. The technique taught in the book is a form of self-touch energy healing -- very simple and quick to apply with your own hands, and for myself it gave me immediate relief from anxiety. I would suggest that people experiencing anxiety, depression, anger, PTSD, or even muscle twitching (or muscle tremors) check it out on Amazon, and if you Google search this book, the author has also set up a website.
In addition to relieving my anxiety, the technique also reduced some muscle twitching I have recently been experiencing, so it seems that the technique also is able to relieve stress-induced physical ailments as well (at least it did for me)! If people just try the technique in addition to whatever other treatment they are using, there is nothing to lose.
If applying the technique doesn't work the first time, keep trying for several times-- you are just using your fingers anyways, so it's all natural. For myself, I thank God that I purchased this book. Hope other people experience similar results. Cheers."
[YEA] 09/29/2009: Dublinanne from Dublin, Ireland: "Hey
I'm an acupuncturist studying to be a naturopthy.
My slim husband is pretty robust and not very interested in health. He's slim and fit, eats crap, drinks a fair amount and when he started smoking again he started snoring heavily waking me about 9 times a night where i'd have to push him onto his side.
So he's not good at sitting still for the acupuncture, so I did three things. Bought one of those spray's full of essential oils (from boots) for your throat. Massaged the pads of his thumbs (thenar eminance) a few mins each, very basic up and down rubs anyone can do.
And lastly made my own cheapie acupuressure thing. In boots the ring is 50 bucks or something crazy
Just get any bandage, put a few grains of rice on it and stick it at the base of the inner baby finger (just above where it joins the finger). that's it.
No snoring. Tedious a little though as somehow I have to do the little hand rub thing every night and not him. Even thought it's simple. Bah
But I shouldn't complain he's fab in every other way! :)
12/03/2009: Rob from Detroit, Mo replies: "Could you give more details on the bandage-rice? did you paste the rice on to the gum side of the bandage and keep the bandage at the bottom of the ring finger? please explain how this works or prevents the snoring?"
06/23/2011: Acupressure from Dublin, Ireland replies: "hi,
Just put the grains of rice so that they would be at the inner base of your little finger where the finger joins the hand and stick on with a bandage.
You can google acupressure snoring rings and also see you tube demonstrations of the rings. I've seen some that aren't so expensive around recently so it may be handier?"
[YEA] 05/04/2009: Bev from Long Beach, CA/USA: "Several years ago the right side of my jaw would swell and my jaw would lock. This condition would be aggravated by my salivary gland when I "thought" of eating a cookie. Strange indeed. I went to the dentist and he sent me to an Orthodontist that pryed my mouth open. That helped at the time but it wasn't until a co-worker suggested I see a Chiropractor that I was cured. I couldn't open my mouth but he managed to put a finger inside my mouth on the "left" side and applied pressure to a muscle. That afternoon the swelling was gone. I have used this technique myself over the years to cure myself and it's always worked."
Trigger Point Therapy
[YEA] 10/02/2012: Pr from Houston, Texas: "I had been suffering from sensitive teeth for over 10 years. Using the usual sensitive teeth toothpaste, mouth washes plus a stronger version of toothpaste from my dentist with some relief. I was reading a post on EC on Morton's toe (foot and body pain) the person posting recommended the book "The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook " by Clair Davies with Amber Davies the rest is history. I am no longer suffering from sensitive teeth. If I have a flare up I massage the trigger points and I am good.
I have read several books over the years on trigger points but none have ever helped me with all kinds of pain like this book. Recently I had problems with my heart beating so loudly and of course use the recommend remedies with a little relief. Then one night when I couldn't sleep from my beating heart. Got up found reference points for rapid heart beat and slept well. Thanks EC and everyone who posts."