Techniques used during acupressure treatments

Acupressure is a technique derived from the same principles driving the development of acupuncture. Based on traditional Chinese beliefs in life energies and the importance of maintaining their healthy flow, both methods rely on stimulating and restoring the proper flow of these energies to remedy illness. While acupuncture uses needles and other techniques, acupressure more specifically uses the application of pressure through the skin to achieve therapeutic goals.

While modern practitioners have re-interpreted the practices of acupuncture and acupressure in light of our current understanding of physiology and medicine, and while many areas around the mechanisms and effectiveness of both practices remain subject to debate. Despite that, both techniques have proven useful as complementary medical treatments in a variety of different situations, and in this article we look at the techniques used to administer acupressure treatments that can help facilitate recovery.

Acupressure massage techniques

As mentioned briefly in the introduction to this article, acupressure aims to stimulate particular points of the body to restore good health. Massage is one of the main tools in acupressure, as the application of pressure through the skin by means of fingers, thumbs, and elbows can be both therapeutic and relaxing.

Different massage techniques are known by variations in how pressure is applied and where, how much pressure is used, the rhythms of the treatment, and so on. Through these characteristics, each style of massage can be a unique experience aiming to achieve different results.

Shiatsu massage is a popular form of massage which is more vigorous than many of its counterparts. In Shiatsu pressure is applied firmly to target parts of the body for a brief period of time, usually not less than 3 seconds but not more than 5. Shiatsu is actually a Japanese acupressure method which developed after the spread of acupuncture from Chine and into Japan and Korea. Other types of massage include Jin Shin acupressure where multiple points are targeted for longer periods of time, and many other types of massage can be found across the world.

A variety of different techniques are applied in acupressure practices across the world, although many of these focus on particular techniques more than others. Examples include:

  • Firm pressure – is a basic technique which involves the use of virtually any part of the hand to apply constant pressure to a particular point. Pressure is usually applied gradually and built up to a certain point, this is typically held for about a minute.
  • Slow kneading motions – rely on the friction of massage to promote blood flow. Improved blood flow restores valuable nutrients and healing agents to stimulated parts of the body, and also facilitates the clearance of waste materials. Bodyweight is usually applied through an elbow or part of the hand, and this technique can be particularly successful in the relief of stiffness, tension, and spasms.
  • Brisk rubbing – is another friction based technique, however this method usually involves less pressure and is quicker.
  • Tapping – with fingers and thumbs can stimulate muscles and promote relaxation.

These are commonplace acupressure techniques which are often utilised by practitioners of acupressure. They are also very similar to massage techniques employed by massage therapists and physiotherapists, albeit often applied on the basis of different philosophies and principles.

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