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Acupressure (Tui Na in Chinese) , or medicall massage, is thought to be one of the oldest healing traditions in the world, predating even acupuncture. The Chinese are credited with having discovered that pressure on specific points of the body could relieve common ailments and discomfort.

Acupressure is based on the same concepts of meridians and acupoints as acupuncture, but fingertip pressure is used rather than needles. The aim is also the same, to balance the flow of Qi (vital energy) and Yin and Yang within the meridians, thereby creating healthy functioning of the internal organs and preventing or curing disease.

The invisible meridians carrying Qi are said to reside within the body's interior. However, there are specific places on the skin called acupoints, where Qi may be accessed and guided suing deep, focused finger pressure. By improving Qi circulation, practitioners encourage the harmonious equilibrium of mind and body believed to be essential for physical and spiritual health. And once this internal harmony is achieved the body is able to invoke its self-healing capabilities.
The present chief methods of acupressure are:

  • Rolling acupressure,
  • Internal exercises acupressure,
  • Digital acupoint pressure acupressure,
  • Bone-setting acupressure,
  • Viscera and channels acupressure,
  • Keep-fit acupressure,
  • Health-preserving acupressure,
  • Physical excise acupressure,
  • Beauty acupressure.

The method of acupressure depends on patient's condition and age.

Same as acupuncture, acupressure has been well accepted as a safe, effective, comfortable, harmless to people health and life-prolonging

What the differences between acupressure and conventional massage?

Although acupressure is also simply called "massage" in the US, it actually is not the same as conventional massage.
Like acupuncture, acupressure is based on the concept of Qi (sometimes called "Chee"), defined in Chinese medicine as an essential life force that flows through the body, circulating through invisible passageway called meridians. The movement, or flow, of Qi varies with the mental, physical, and spiritual changes of daily living.

When Qi flows freely and evenly, harmony and good health are possible; however, if Qi circulation is stagnant, over-stimulated, or unbalanced, illness is likely. Acupressure is closely related to acupuncture in its use of the meridian system and is considered to be effective for a similar range of health problems. That's why acupressure generally produces better results than conventional massage.

How does acupressure work?

Acupressure is based on the theory of meridians and collateral. According to this theory, the body is networked by a system of pathways which function to transport Qi and blood, to regulate Yin and Yang (internal opposing forces), to protect against external pathogens and to link the internal organs with the exterior. The concept is simple. When Qi flows freely, the body is healthy. Blockage of the Qi results in the unbalance of Yin and Yang and causes pain and is intimately connected with all health problems. Acupressure uses pressure, manipulation and a variety of approaches to promote Qi (energy) and blood flow with the body.
In addition to the selection of acupoints, touch is another fundamental medium of acupressure. While acupressure methods can be described in the terms of a series o techniques performed, it is important to understand that touch is not used solely in a mechanistic way in acupressure therapy. There is also an artistic component in the acupressure. Because acupressure usually involves applying touch varying degrees of pressure, the acupressure therapist must use touch with sensitivity in order to determine the optimal amount of pressure to use for each point on the body. Touch used with sensitivity also allows the acupressure therapist to receive useful information about the body,

such as location areas of muscle tension and the other soft tissue problems. Because touch is also a form of communication, sensitive touch conveys a sense of caring, which is an essential element in the therapeutic relationship for the person receiving acupressure. Acupressure also animates the tactile sense, which is the body's primary sense. This has another psychological effect of bringing people in the here and now and away from a constant preoccupation with problems and the tension generated by mental hyperactivity. This has a centering effect that often leaves people feeling mentally refreshed and restored. Acupressure therapy recipients often describe this as a "mental vacation". It is recognized that many illnesses in the beginning or acute states are on the "surface" of the body, defined in Chinese medicine as aches, pains and other symptoms found in the muscles, neck and head. Later on, if the disease is strong or goes untreated, it can move deeper into the "interior" of the body, affecting the chest, abdomen and internal organs.

What is the key effects of acupressure treatment?

Acupressure primarily affects the body as a whole. Taking a look at the key effects of acupressure gives insight into how acupressure works and what the benefits of acupressure are:

  • Activating Qi and blood (increasing
    its activity)
  • Regulating Qi and blood (dispersing
    stagnation and guiding counter flow)
    Dredging the channels (removing
    external pathogens like Cold and
  • Reduce muscle tension
  • Improve blood circulation
    Improve lymph movement
  • Increase mobility and range of motion
    of joints
  • Stimulate or smooth nervous system
  • Enhance skin condition
  • Relief of acute and chronic pain
  • Reduce swelling
  • Reduce stress
  • General relaxation

It is always a good idea to receive a combined treatment of acupressure together with acupuncture therapy, or Chinese herbal medicine if necessary, for better results.

Case Study - Acupressure for protruding Discs
Source: Journal of TCM, June 2002; 22(2); 126-127

Acupressure were performed on 82 patients diagnosed with protruding lumbar discs to activate Qi and blood and alleviate pain. Most patients experienced improved curvature of the spinal column, increased range of motion and decreased back pain after being massaged.

© 2004, The Sun Clinic of TCM
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