The Chinese discovered more than 5,000 years ago that pressing certain points on the body relieved pain, sometimes at the pressure point, but sometimes in other parts of the body. Gradually, they discovered points that not only alleviated pain, but also influenced the functioning of the internal organs and promoted healing and balance of the body as a whole. Later these points were understood as lying along channels (called meridians in Traditional Chinese Medicine) of energy flowing through the body in a predictable pattern. Many other traditional cultures incorporated similar systems of healing through pressure at particular points of the body.
Acupressure uses the same points that later were incorporated in the Chinese system of acupuncture. Acupuncture uses needles, whereas acupressure uses mechanical pressure applied with the hands or other parts of the body, or with special tools. Traditional Chinese Medicine theory explains that stimulation of the acupoints, whether with pressure or needles, helps to balance the flow of vital energy (Qi) in the body, releasing areas of blockage, strengthening energy where it is weak, and draining energy where it is excessive.
There are other theories about how acupressure works. Some focus on electrical energy movement in the body, and suggest that acupoints are locations where electrical conductivity is highest. Research on muscular "trigger points" in the 1950s and 60s identified common places where layers of tissue adhere due to stress or injury, and refer pain to other parts of the body; many acupoints coincide with these trigger points. Finally, medical studies have shown that stimulation of acupoints causes the release of endorphins, chemicals that promote relaxation while suppressing pain signals in the body.
Acupressure can be done virtually anywhere, any time, without the need for any special equipment. A trained acupressurist can work with you to identify points to address your symptoms and their root causes. In my work with clients, I am also happy to share suggestions for points you can use at home to increase the effectiveness of treatment.
Asian Bodywork Special Tools
The following Asian Bodywork therapies can be added to massage sessions upon request. The links below to external websites provide more information about each approach.
Contact me with your questions or to discuss how acupressure might support you in meeting your goals.