Acupressure massage is commonly confused with Acupuncture. Even though the basic principle behind the two massage types is the same, they are quite different. In order to perform an acupuncture massage, the key points of the body are pierced with pins.
Acupressure massage triggers the same key points in the body but there are key differences involved. Instead of puncturing the points with pins (can be scary and painful for many!), the massage therapist applies pressure with their gentle, soft hands This is why it is called acupressure.
Acupressure and acupuncture share many similarities however, including the concept of the balance of the body. Acupressure massage therapy revolves around the theory that the body has a natural balance and if this balance gets disturbed, it can result in pain and other unfavorable medical conditions.
To relieve the body’s pain and medical conditions, specific pressure is applied to the key points of the body (also referred to as trigger points). The idea behind applying the pressure to these trigger points is to bring the body back to its natural balance.
In other words the body’s status quo or from where it started as a default. Restoring the body’s balance back to its default level is believed to relieve pain and diseases. However, there is a lot more to acupressure massage therapy than mere pressure point stimulation. Let’s examine further.
How Acupressure Massage Works?
Understanding acupressure is quite easy. This massage therapy technique relies on the belief that an energy called qi is present in the human body. In some cases, qi is also referred to as the yin and yang. According to this belief, there are 14 channels in the body that harbor energy. Each of these 14 primary channels is vital for keeping the qi in balance. During the course of one’s life, this energy can get disrupted or unbalanced due to externalities beyond our control.
The pain and other medical conditions experienced by the body are a result of this energy imbalance. The symptoms of qi imbalance may not necessarily be noticed in the parts that the qi resides in. From a medical perspective, the 14 energy points in the body can be considered as muscle trigger points. It is believed that pain and discomfort are caused by muscle damage or tightening.
When pressure is applied to the muscle trigger, the pain can be relieved. In many cases acupressure has proven effective against chronic pains and ailments as well. However, if you intend on using this massage therapy technique for yourself, it is best that you get a doctor’s recommendation first.
Even though there are no proven and documented side effects to date, acupressure, like few other massage techniques, this is not for everyone. A doctor should be able to tell you however whether or not this massage will work for you.
What Does An Acupressure Session Entail?
An acupressure session includes stimulation of key points that are located on different areas of the human body. The most commonly stimulated points are located in the feet, spine and hands. Depending on the key points that are to be stimulated, you may be asked to sit on a chair or lie down on a massage table.
The concept of acupressure believes that the key energy points are responsible for muscle pain anywhere in the body. Even if the pain is not exactly at the energy point, stimulating it can provide relief. Acupressure therapy can be used to cure the following issues in the human body:
- Neck Pain
- Arthritis Pain
- Excess Stress
- Muscle Pain
Acupressure massage therapy can also be used to treat larger issues. Specific acupressure treatments have been devised for issues such as:
- Menstrual Cramps And Discomfort
- Pains Caused By Ulcers
- Problems In The Digestive System
- Sinus Issues
Many massage therapists nowadays have come up with self-massage techniques. These techniques involve the stimulation of key points on the hands and legs.
It is easier to access these parts when you are giving yourself a massage. It will help you stay in good shape so that you can continue to deliver solid massage therapy services for your clients.
Tools for Performing Acupressure Massage
Acupressure techniques are used as part of various remedies all around us. Many individuals may be using some of those techniques without even being aware that it involves elements of acupressure massage. For example, in many cases, individuals use wrist bands (also called balance bands) to prevent or cure motion sickness. The wristband, in reality, stimulates a pressure point on the wrist. When stimulated, this pressure point or key point may help relieve nausea.
There are many other similar tools that are used to stimulate key points of the body. Each of the tools used for acupressure work in the same manner. However, depending upon their availability, price points and convenience, you may notice different massage therapists using different ones. Let’s look at some of the most commonly used acupressure tools:
- Energy Roller: The energy roller is a tool which is mostly used on the feet and hands. However, some therapists use it on the spine as well. It has small bumps on the surface which are used to stimulate key points of the body in different areas. There are Kneaders as well that are developed to serve the same purpose.
- Acuball: This instrument is basically a rubber ball. There are small bumps on the surface of the ball and it can either be heated or used as is, depending on the type of treatment it is being used for. You may have seen similar kinds of balls being sold as stress relievers.
- Pyramid Mat: This mat is also known as a power mat and has pyramid-shaped bumps on it. The therapist makes a client walk on the mat. Most tools stimulate specific key points on a particular part of the body. However, the power mat does not trigger specific key points. Instead, it works on the entire foot.
- Teishein: This instrument resembles a needle similar to the ones used in acupuncture. However, it is not used to puncture the body. Rather, this needle is used to swiftly stimulate different pressure points in various parts of the body.
Locating a Reliable Acupressure Massage Practitioner
Like many other practices, one does not have to be certified to be an acupressure massage therapist. However, it is best to utilize the services of someone who is specialized in this form of alternative medicine. Of course, if you are looking to train in the field of acupressure, it is best to look to learn from a practitioner who is licensed in Traditional Chinese medicine.
Acupressure is a reliable source for healing several types of ailments as outlined above. However, you should not rely purely on acupressure as an alternative to modern medical techniques. If you want to learn acupressure massage, seek out someone who is well versed in it. If you want to get one as a client, make sure to ALWAYS consult your physician for clearance prior to engaging in the activity.
Also have a look at our top selling Trigger Points iPhone application available on the iTunes store.