Practicing an Ancient Art
Acupressure is an ancient healing art developed in Asia over 5,000 years ago that uses the fingers to press key points on the skin to supposedly stimulate the body’s own natural defences. Of course, science didn’t exist in those days, so acupressure is more of an art than a science. But there are almost no side effects, and you can use it on yourself, so what have you got to lose by trying it?
When acupressure points are pressed, they are believed to release muscular tension and promote the circulation of blood and the body’s life force energy to aid healing. Acupuncture uses the same points as acupressure, but employs needles. Acupressure on the other hand uses gentle but firm pressure.
Acupressure is part of a complete medical system known as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which is quite different form Western medicine. From a population point of view, TCM is the most widely used healing system in the world. Acupressure can be used to on numerous conditions, including headaches, neck and shoulder pain, allergies, menstrual difficulties, fatigue, anxiety, insomnia, digestive problems, nausea, and back pain.
The nice thing about acupressure is that you can do it on your own with a little guidance. Much of what might be at play is the placebo effect, but it is a very mild and safe modality. Not only can you perform it on yourself, you can do it someone else, or even on your pet. The best place to start is by purchasing a book on the subject. Alternatively you can find support on the internet. One such resource is acupressure.com .
As an example, two acupressure points traditionally used to relieve insomnia are the Spirit Gate and the Inner Gate. Pressure on these points can help promote sound sleep. Both are located on the inner wrist, so you can easily reach them yourself. The Inner Gate can be found in the middle of the inner side of the forearm, two and one-half finger widths from the wrist crease. The Spirit Gate is located on the inside of the wrist crease, in line with the little finger.
- Pressure should be applied for at least half a minute, preferably one to two minutes.
- Apply slow, moderate pressure on the point at a 90-degree angle from the surface of the skin
- Acupressure works best when you work identical points on both sides of the body.
- Finding acupressure points can be tricky. They are only about 0.5 mm in diameter. Touch the point location area gently. You will find one spot that is more sensitive than the surrounding area. With a little experience you will detect a slight hollow there.
- Another way of locating a point is to purchase an electronic point finder. Check out this site for a listing of such devices.
If you become interested in acupressure and want to learn more check out Acupressure.com’s blog for advice on treating maladies.