Acupressure is the name given to the technique of pressing acupuncture points with a finger or thumb. In Chinese, it is known as zhizhen, which literally translates as ‘finger needle.’ This name is very appropriate since acupressure is a great alternative to acupuncture when needles cannot be used for any reason.
How does Acupressure Work?
Acupressure works in a similar way to acupuncture – by stimulating certain points on the skin to cause a reaction deep within the body. However, while acupuncture is performed by using needles, acupressure can be done using a finger, thumb, or blunt object such as the end of a pen.
Acupuncture and acupressure aim to relieve the symptoms of various conditions by influencing the body’s central nervous system. Although acupuncture is generally considered the more powerful treatment of the two, there are many benefits of acupressure too.
What are the Benefits of Acupressure?
Like acupuncture, acupressure can help to relieve a whole range of conditions by stimulating specific points on the body’s surface. Some of the best-known benefits of acupressure are relieving symptoms such as pain, headaches, and anxiety, although it may be useful for other symptoms too.
Another major benefit of acupressure is that does not require any special equipment or skills to be effective. Although it is best when acupressure is performed by a professional therapist, you just need your fingers and the knowledge of a few basic techniques to give it a try. This means that acupressure can be used as a ‘top-up’ treatment in between acupuncture sessions, or as a first aid treatment when you need on-the -spot relief.
Acupressure can be done anywhere by anyone, making it one of the most convenient natural therapies around. It is safe for people of all ages, although pregnant women may need to be careful with some of the points. If you are unsure about which points are safe to use, speak to a qualified acupuncturist before starting your acupressure treatment.
Acupressure is also great for people who are nervous around needles. Although the needles used in acupuncture are extremely fine and most people do not even feel them going in, the idea is still a little too much for some. Acupressure provides a fantastic alternative solution, allowing even the most needle-phobic among us to experience its benefits.
How to Experience the Benefits of Acupressure at Home
There are many different acupressure techniques and some require more skill than others. However, there are a couple of simple techniques that you can try in order to experience the benefits of acupressure from the comfort of your own home.
The easiest acupressure technique to learn is the finger pressing technique. All you need to do is find your chosen acupoint and apply medium to firm pressure with a finger or thumb. You may feel some tenderness or a dull ache, but acupressure should not be painful, so ease off the pressure if necessary.
You can stimulate the point further by moving your finger or thumb in small, circular motions. Massage or press each point for at least 1–2 minutes and repeat on the opposite side. It is best to perform acupressure in a calm and comfortable environment where you can relax to fully enjoy its many benefits.