Acupressure has been used for thousands of years in China. Acupressure applies the same principles as acupuncture to promote relaxation and wellness and to treat disease. Acupressure is often described as acupuncture without the needles.
Acupressure has its roots in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Traditional Chinese medical theory describes special acupressure points that lie along meridians, or channels, in your body. These are the same energy meridians and acupoints as those targeted with acupuncture. It is believed that through these invisible channels flows vital energy -- or a life force called qi (ch'i). It is also believed that these 12 major meridians connect specific organs or networks of organs, organizing a system of communication throughout your body. The meridians begin at your fingertips, connect to your brain and then connect to an organ associated with a certain meridian. When one of these meridians is blocked or out of balance, illness can occur. Acupressure and acupuncture are among the types of TCM that are thought to help restore balance.
Elise uses a special device with a toureline crystal inside the pointer to apply pressure to acupoints on the body's meridians. During an acupressure session, you lie fully clothed on a soft massage table. She presses on acupressure points on your body using the hand held device. You can either have a half hour or an hour session or use can have acupressure as an add on service, which is incorporated into your massage therapy session.
The goal is to restore health and balance to your body's channels of energy and to regulate opposing forces of yin (negative energy) and yang (positive energy). Some say acupressure not only treats the energy fields and body but also the mind, emotions, and spirit. Some even believe that therapists can transmit the vital energy (external qi) to another person. Not all Western practitioners believe that this is possible or even that these meridians exist. Instead, they attribute any results to other factors, such as reduced muscle tension, improved circulation, or stimulation of endorphins, which are natural pain relievers.
Research into the health benefits of acupressure is in its infancy. Acupressure helps in relieving nausea after chemotherapy. Some believe it helps reduce stress, improve energy levels, relieve pain and lessen other symptoms of cancer.
Acupressure may help with low back pain, post-operative pain and headache. Some studies suggest that acupressure releases endorphins and promotes anti-inflammatory effects, helping with arthritis. Several studies suggest that fatigue and may improve from the use of acupressure. Better designed trials are needed to be sure.
In general, acupressure is very safe. If you have cancer, arthritis or heart disease have a discussion with your doctor before trying any therapy that involves moving joints and muscles, such as acupressure. And, make sure your acupressure practitioner is trained in the modality.
If you are pregnant, advise your practitioner as certain points can induce contractions. Also advise your practitioner if you are having a rheumatoid arthritis flair up.