How To Self-administer Acupressure And Why

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Acupressure is a therapy which has originated in China in ancient times. Acupressure techniques have emerged previously from the practice of acupuncture and are an important part of Traditional Chinese Medicine. 

In China, acupressure is integrated into Tui Na, the Chinese practice of massage and bodywork which resembles Osteopathy, but with a much longer history. Medical Tui Na is considered the precursor to many other techniques.

Acupressure uses simple techniques from Tui Na on specific acupoints (the points of access to the meridians). When done properly, acupressure can have an effect similar to acupuncture.

Table of Contents

What are Acupoints and the Chinese System of Meridians

The Indian, Tibetan, and Chinese cultures all have a concept of an energy related to life-force. In Indian tantric tradition, this energy is called prana. Tibetans refer to it as rLung, and the Chinese call it qi.

Acupressure, like acupuncture, taps into the channel and network vessel system known as jingluo, or the meridinas, where qi flows and is stored.

There are twelve primary channels in Chinese medicine where the qi of the inner organs (zangfu) flow. In addition to those, there are eight extraordinary vessels for specific types of qi.

Acupoints are areas in the body from which the qi of the meridians can be accessed and manipulated.

The Pros and Cons of Self-administered acupressure

Not many people know this, but acupressure can improve many health conditions and in some cases, it yields superior benefits than conventional treatments. 

While it is easy for Western laymen and laywomen to be skeptical of the simplicity of acupressure technique, recent high-quality randomized controlled trials show scientific evidence of the benefits of acupressure on specific conditions. 

Acupressure is a standard treatment in integrative hospitals in China. It’s especially useful in pediatrics and in elder and convalescing patients, given its non-invasive and non-aggressive nature. 

Self-administered acupressure Pros
Self-administered acupressure
Cons
  • Easy to learn and apply
  • Non-invasive
  • Minimal side-effects
  • Free of cost
  • Usually, only one to two points can be stimulated at a time (unlike acupuncture)

Building an Effective Acupressure Treatment

To ensure an effective acupressure treatment, it’s important to use the right technique and be consistent. Here are some steps to help you build an efficient acupressure practice:

Prepare for the treatment

Sit or lie down in a comfortable and relaxed position. You can also take a few breaths to calm your mind, this will help to make self-administering acupressure an enjoyable experience. Focus your attention on the area where you will be applying pressure. 

Locate The Point with Precision

When you have the directions for an acupoint, take the time to locate it accurately. If you’re unsure, you can search the point’s name online and consult multiple sources until you’re completely confident.

Apply an Appropriate Technique

The points of access to the meridians are located at different depths in the body tissues. The directions will lead you to a point on your skin, but you will need to dig deeper to find the actual acupoint. The goal is to apply deep pressure without causing harm.

When you press, do it gradually and increase the intensity slowly. The goal is to feel a sensation, which can be a sharp, fleeting pain, a tingling sensation, or an electrical shock. This is known as de qi.

If you press correctly but don’t feel anything different, try pressing on the surrounding areas to find a point with a different sensation. If there isn’t one, continue massaging the first point.

The depth of pressure you can apply depends on the location of the point. In some areas, you can press as hard as you can until you can’t go any deeper. In sensitive areas, the pressure should be gentler and combined with movement when possible.

When massaging an acupoint, the intensity of the movement is important. Fast and blunt movements for short periods can disperse qi. This technique is helpful for excess conditions.

Slow movements applied for longer periods have a nourishing effect that is necessary for deficiency conditions. Balanced movements are recommended to harmonize qi and are beneficial for any condition.

When massaging the acupoint, do it in a relaxed manner while maintaining the appropriate intensity and pressure.

Apply a Sufficient Stimulation Time

Acupressure protocols can vary in the duration of stimulation. The recommended stimulation time ranges from 3 to 30 minutes per session. It is important to take into consideration the number of points to be massaged before defining the time of stimulation for each acupoint. 

Each point should be stimulated for a minimum of 3 to 5 minutes. For convalescing patients, longer sessions of 20 to 30 minutes are usually advised.

If you want to use acupressure to improve your health or target specific functions in your body, you can customize the timing of your sessions to suit your schedule. This allows you to incorporate acupressure into your routine in a way that is effective and convenient for you.

Be Consistent

Once you decide you want to try self-administered acupressure therapy and have found your acupoints, you must follow the treatment for some time before seeing substantial results. 

Creating a fixed protocol and scheduling the treatment sessions beforehand will help you organize and maintain your acupressure therapy.

To establish a treatment plan, determine the duration and frequency of the sessions. For example, consider 30-minute sessions, three times a week, for three months.

The protocol mentioned above was used in a pilot study with diabetes mellitus patients, and it showed that applying acupressure at ST-36 Zusanli effectively lowered blood glucose levels and reduced diabetes-related complications.

Bottom Line 

Acupressure therapy is a healing technique that offers an array of benefits. If you want to see if acupressure treatment protocols for your condition have been tested you can search on clinical search engines such as Tripdatabase.

There are myriad ways to apply acupressure that can improve serious health conditions and improve the quality of life of both the ill and the healthy. 

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