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What is acupressure? 5 health benefits

May 11, 2016

In a world where many of our lives are impaired by aches and pains, a plethora of research and different methods to help cure ailments goes back thousands of years.  In the modern world, we have an abundance of tools used to help release tension and relax the body. Vibrating massage chairs to foam rollers, the list is endless. Physiotherapy or even the humble Swedish massage, all treatments have arisen from the same idea, stimulation of an area is great for the body. The thing they all have in common is that pushing on tension releases pain and improves circulation, which in turn has other beneficial effects.

Acupressure, an ancient healing technique derived from Chinese medicine, is the less daunting sister treatment of acupuncture. Both treatments revolve around the same fundamental belief, except acupressure uses physical pressure without the needles.

 Growing bodies of evidence in the Western world suggests that we need to take a leaf out of the Chinese Health Journals: apply pressure, and release tension. A simple, yet effective method. Cochrane reviews, an organization that reviews scientific medical studies for validity, concluded that there was enough evidence to suggest that acupressure relieves headaches, digestive issues, muscle pain,  digestive and sleep issues, and provides a calming response.

Acupressure uses physical pressure by hand, elbow or other devices on different pressure points on the surface of the body (which may be far distant from the symptom).  Traditional Chinese medical theory describes special acupoints that lie along meridians, or channels, in the body. For the body to function harmoniously,  these channels need to be in working balance, and acupressure brings relief through providing greater balance and circulation of fluids (blood, lymph)  and metabolic energies in the body. It is also believed that these meridians connect specific organs, organising a system of communication throughout your body.

Acupressure helps to encourage the body’s natural healing systems through stimulation. As these points are stimulated, muscular tension releases, blood circulation is promoted, and healing is enhanced. Increased circulation also allows toxins to be released and eliminated. 

Benefits of acupressure

Acupressure is beneficial in helping with a number of ailments in the body, and the experience for those who receive it is deeply relaxing. Here are 5 of the many benefits:

  1. Relieves stress, tension and anxiety

Stress, tension and anxiety arise from different factors in our day to day lives, creating stiffness and sore muscles in the body. Acupressure points around the body can be targeted to relieve these symptoms and bring a sense of relaxation and all-round well-being.  Acupressure can also assist in the healing of emotional pain, because when you have an overload of negative emotions, imbalances occur in the body. Techniques using pressure points release tension and restore the movement of vital fluids around the body.  

  1. Improving sleep

Acupressure has shown to help provide a more restful and deeper sleep, through targeting certain pressure points. This can be a healthier alternative to sleeping pills and can positively effect the quality of sleep. Stress can block the movement of energy in the body, causing unrest. However acupressure therapy helps to distribute this energy and relax the body.

  1. Aids digestion

Our digestion can be compromised due to an overload of processed, packaged foods, and also unrecognized food intolerance. Most of the digestive disorders arise from inflammation of the digestive tract that leads to decreased digestion and absorption of nutrients. To improve your digestion is to adjust your diet, and eat plenty of raw and fermented foods. In the meantime however, acupressure can be used effectively to relieve the painful side effects of digestive disorders, by healing the inflamed digestive linings by restoring the balanced flow of energy throughout the body. 

  1. Relieving headaches

Whether caused by stress, muscle tension, eyestrain, sinuses, or hormones, headaches can be debilitating and hugely effect your daily life. Acupressure assists with increased blood flow in the body, taking away the strain that causes you to get a headache. This remedy is effective in decreasing and preventing many headache symptoms , including pain, nausea and pressure. The instant relaxation that the therapy brings provides a natural pain relief.

  1. Relieving nausea

Whether you’re experiencing a hangover, sickness or general nausea, acupressure is a great way to treat nausea by healing the uneasiness and discomfort with various pressure points, which stimulates an endorphin release in the body. 

There are many acupressure techniques that you can administer to yourself to provide relief from the issues stated above. Keep your eyes peeled for the next blog about where the points are in the body, and how to do it yourself.