How is Acupressure Different than Western Massage?
Unlike Western massage, which applies long flowing hand movements
to the superficial muscle layer for stress relief and relaxation, acupressure
applies systematic and sequential pressure to the acupoints in order
to correct blockages or aberrations in the flow of qi through the meridians
and restore health.
Acupressurists uniquely recognize that stimulating an acupoint
on one part of the body can trigger a healing response in another part
of the body, that each acupoint can benefit a variety of complaints
and symptoms, and that all of the muscles, organs and tissues of the
body connect with and affect each other via the meridians.
For example: A patient with neck pain, chronic sinusitis,
tmj (jaw pain), acid reflux and knee problems goes to a Swedish massage
therapist. The therapist applies various massage strokes to the patient’s
neck and leg muscles in order to aid local circulation and relieve
stiffness and tension in the affected muscles and joints. Relaxing
music and aromatherapy are used in an attempt to relax
the patient and relieve the acid reflux. The patient
experiences short-lasting relief of muscle tension.
The same patient comes to my office for acupressure.
I perform the identical diagnostic procedures I use with my acupuncture
patients. I discover that the patient has stagnant and rebellious qi
in the stomach meridian. I show the patient an acupuncture chart, and
trace the stomach meridian, which flows from the eyes >sinuses > jaw, >neck, > chest/breasts > stomach >thighs
(quadriceps muscles) > knees > shins > 2 nd toe.
This is an oversimplified example, as most patients have problems involving more
than one meridian, as well as imbalances between meridians.
During the treatment I disperse acupoints on the stomach
meridian, and tonify relevant points on other meridians. I stimulate
as those on or near the sinuses, jaw, neck, stomach and knees, and
distal acupoints—such as a stomach meridian point on the web
between the 2nd and 3rd toes. After the treatment, I offer to tape
a tiny pressball to the stomach acupoint on the patient’s external
ear. This reinforces the benefits of the treatment.
The patient returns the following week and reports having a
sense of wellbeing and energy since the previous treatment.
All symptoms subsided, except for the acid reflux. I am not surprised
that the acid reflux has not yet resolved because an imbalance of the
stomach organ* is at the root of this patient’s problems,
and organ problems typically take longer to treat. I suggest a few
dietary modifications and teach the patient a daily self-acupressure
routine. After 5 more acupressure treatments, the patient reports no
longer having acid reflux symptoms.
*Note that every ache and pain is not necessarily caused by an organ
imbalance. Often, there is simply a blockage in the meridian, and not
in its associated organ. This is usually easier and more straightforward