Acupressure is as similar to acupuncture as it is different. They are both healing arts originating in antient Chinese medicine and are in frequent use today. They differ in their methods. Acupressure is noninvasive, unlike acupuncture which uses needles. Acupressure uses pressure on the meridians, or locations where it is thought that the Qi flows through, whereby relief is experienced in that location as well as others. Today it is understood that these are neuropathways where nerves are located.

There are a few different types of acupressure; Tuina, Shen Tao, Jin Shin Do, and Anma. Tuina is the most commonly utilized form of acupressure. It utilizes traditional acupressure and massage in treating pain and ailments. Shen Tao uses light pressure and Jin Shin Do only uses a few pressure points while the patient enters a meditative state. Jin Shin is a Japanese derived acupressure and is now referred to as Shiatsu. The practitioner will utilize their fingers, elbows, palms, special devices and even feet to apply the appropriate amount of pressure to the necessary pressure points.

Acupressure is intended to provide relief of the patient’s symptoms or ailments through releasing muscular tension on the meridians. However, this traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is often used as a complementary treatment alongside other therapies to alleviate the patient’s specific ailments. Patients will often turn to this alternative medicine seeking relief from tension and anxiety as it is highly relaxing much like traditional massage. Improved sleep, reducing headaches, improving chronic neck and back pain, helping with digestive issues, and relaxing the muscles and joints are all additional reasons an individual may turn to acupressure. The body’s circulatory, lymphatic, and hormonal systems are all stimulated during acupressure.

Achieving overall health and balance restoration are the primary intended outcomes for acupressure. Many acupressure enthusiasts believe that not only is the body treated but the person as a whole, mind, emotions, and spirit. Some Western practitioners believe in the effectiveness of acupressure, but attribute the undeniable benefits to improved circulation, reducing muscle tension, and endorphin releases which are known to be natural pain relievers.