The Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners have enjoyed the benefits of pressure acupuncture, or acupressure therapy, for thousands of years.
The technique involves the application of pressure to 400 acupressure points found on the body, all of which lie along meridians, and thus promoting relaxation and treating various illnesses.
There are 12 major meridians, which are energy pathways and vital energy called qi (chi) flows through them.
They are related to specific body organs, and in the case of a blockage or imbalance of the meridians, one develops a certain health issue.
Kamal Sehgal, from the M.K.P (Mahadevi Kanya Pathshala) College, Dehradun, India, explains:
“The meridians begin at your fingertips, connect to your brain, and then connect to an organ associated with a certain meridian.
The following is a quick summary of what each finger and corresponding toes on your hands and feet, respectively, are responsible for:
- the ring finger corresponds to the heart
- the middle finger to the kidney, the blood circulation
- the middle finger and index finger together consists of points for your eyes
- tip of the thumb corresponds to the brain and the length of the thumb corresponds to the spine
- the base of the thumb corresponds to the tailbone, back
- the little finger is associated with water in the body and is also linked to the ears In addition:
- the ears are our energy webs
- the nose corresponds to the center bone in the chest (can be implicated in colds etc.)
- the back of the hands correspond to the chest
- the sides of your feet correspond to your spine”
According to Annie Price, CHHC:
“In addition to having a long history in Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupressure is also utilized in Ayurvedic Medicine.
Ayurvedic acupressure is also called Marma therapy and it can be defined as an ancient Indian practice that uses the manipulation of subtle energy (prana) in the body with the intention of supporting the body’s healing process.
Prana in Ayurveda is like qi or chi in TCM. Marma therapy uses 107 acupressure points, which are believed to be access points to the entire body as well as the mind and consciousness. “
Acupressure is believed to effectively relieve pain and aches, by pressing the acupressure point moderately for a few minutes. Remember to take slow, deep breaths while pressing the points.
Yet, do not practice it on an empty or full stomach, and avoid acupressure on areas with broken skin or healing skin.
Here are the most important points you need to know to reap the benefits of acupressure:
1. Joining the Valley- Headaches
It is located in the fleshy area between the index finger and the thumb. Press the point and massage for a few minutes and repeat on the other hand.
This will help you soothe neck pain, hangovers, headaches and toothaches, arthritis, and constipation.
2. Sacral Points- Menstrual Pain
These points can be found on the sacrum, or the base of the spine, just above the tailbone.
Press the area firmly for a few minutes while lying on the back to relax the uterus, soothe menstrual pain, reduce back pain, and treat sciatica.
3. Leg Three Miles- Stomach Problems
Bend the leg, put the fingers below the kneecap, and at four finger-widths downward, you will find this point where the little finger rests, just to the outside of the shin bone. Press it for a few seconds daily on both legs at the same time.
This treatment will help you treat constipation and diarrhea, indigestion, gas, bloating, vomiting, and nausea.
4. Pericardium- Nausea and Vomiting
You can find this point between the two large tendons on the inside of the wrist, about three finger-widths below the palm base.
You should press it with the middle and index finger for a few minutes to treat nausea and vomiting, as well as chest pain, upset stomach, and carpal tunnel syndrome pain and discomfort.
5. Commanding Middle- Arthritis and Sciatica
This point is found at the center of the backside of the kneecap. Press it for a minute on both legs to soothe knee and back pain, sciatica, and arthritis.
6. The Third Eye- Chronic Fatigue and Eye Strain
Close your eyes, and find this point on the knobby spot on the bridge of your nose between the eyebrows.
Press it for a minute with the middle finger, to treat fatigue, eye strain, insomnia, headaches, and lower stress.
7. Heavenly Pillar- Insomnia and Stress
This pair of points is located at one finger-width below the base of the skull on both sides, on the prominent neck muscles found 1/2 inch out from the spine.
Press them for a few minutes daily for a month to lower stress, treat headaches and anxiety, relieve eye strain, reduce exhaustion, and soothe neck pain.
8. Shen Men- Smoking
This point is found on the upper half of the ear, above the apex of the triangular fossa.
Massage it with the index finger on this point and the thumb behind the ear on the same point a few times daily. This will help you give up smoking, relieve stress, treat depression and insomnia, and fight diseases.
9. Bigger Rushing- Improving Concentration
This point is located on the top of the foot, on the place where the second and big toe meet. Press it for a few minutes gently, and repeat twice daily.
This massage will boost your concentration and memory, and stimulate your mental clarity and focus.
10. Sea of Tranquility- Emotional Healing
It is found on the center of the breastbone, four finger-widths up from the base of the bone. Join the palms with the fingers pointing up and the knuckles of the thumb pressing the point for a few minutes. Keep the spine straight and breathe deeply and slowly.
This will treat depression, anxiety, emotional imbalances, hysteria, and boost the immune system.
Acupressure is generally safe, but it is not recommended during pregnancy, as some acupoints might stimulate uterine contractions.
Additionally, consult your doctor before you try it in case you suffer from cancer, a heart disease, arthritis, or some other chronic condition.