The practice of Acupuncture and Acupressure has been around for hundreds if not thousands of years. Both are based off of the same basic principle, that your own body has the power to heal itself from any ailment. Both therapies, which originated in ancient China, are based on a belief that health relies on maintaining a balanced flow of qi, (also referred to as chi), a vital life energy present in all living organisms. Qi supposedly circulates along 12 major energy pathways in the body, called meridians. Each is linked to specific organs and systems in the body (Acupuncture and acupressure, 2010). When all meridians are properly balanced, your body can properly circulate qi and function at its optimal potential.
Many individuals pursue this type of therapy for a number of reasons, but usually as a result of traditional medicine failing to provide relief to a condition. Acupuncture and Acupressure specialists say that the conditions this alternative therapy is usually used to treat include relief from the effects of daily stress, headaches, neck and shoulder pain, aches and pains, allergies, menstrual difficulties, fatigue, anxiety, insomnia, digestive problems, nausea, and back pain. Results are extremely high for those that suffer from high anxiety and migraines.
As with any type of medical therapy, an Acupuncture and Acupressure specialist must obtain a full medical history before the therapy can begin. This is extremely important to ensure the specialist avoids causing further damage to any current condition. It is also important for you as the patient to understand the therapy prior to going to the specialist so that you know exactly what your body will be going through and what to look for in the results. There is a major difference between the two therapies which may sway your decision on which to pursue first.
Acupressure is done by applying a light pressure to what s referred to as an acupoint and is rotated in a circular motion similar to receiving a massage. Usually, the acupressure professional will use their fingers, thumbs, hands, elbows, or knees, depending on the amount of pressured needed to be applied. The length of the pressure applied can last from 30 seconds to 20 minutes, depending on the amount of pain the patient is in or the severity of symptoms being treated.
The major difference between the two lays in the use of needles. Where Acupressure is solely based on the use of pressure, Acupuncture uses the insertion of thin needles, typically made if stainless steel, into specific acupoints on the body. Specialists explain that sometimes the needles are slightly heated or twirled into the skin to provide a different therapeutic benefit. Sometimes they are left in for a few minutes while other times, a few hours to even a few days. While you feel a slight prick in the skin, pain should not really be felt.