Acupressure is an ancient Chinese healing technique that has been practised for at least 5000 years. While modern Western society has a tendency to rely on drugs and invasive medical procedures to treat illness, acupressure is a simple and safe alternative that has been shown to be effective for treating thousands of ailments and conditions, including high blood pressure, chronic back pain, insomnia, headache, nausea and arthritis.
What is Acupressure?
Acupressure, like acupuncture, is a technique where specific reflex points located on the meridians – the energy lines that run through the body – are stimulated. However, while acupuncture involves the use of needles, acupressure makes use of pressure instead.
How Does Acupressure Work?
The human body has 14 major meridians, each of which corresponds to a particular organ. When pressure is applied to a reflex point it triggers a healing response within the body. The body reacts to this stimulation by releasing endorphins to alleviate pain and altering the heart rate and blood pressure to speed up the transportation of blood to and from the tissue. As a result, the rate at which oxygen and nutrients reach the affected area is accelerated, while toxins, waste and carbon dioxide are removed faster.
How is Acupressure Administered?
If you're targeting a specific trigger point for a particular ailment, you will need to know where the reflex point that you want to stimulate is located. To administer treatment, you simply need to apply steady pressure for five seconds, then release for five seconds. Repeat this process of applying, then releasing pressure, for one minute. Frequent treatment is recommended for the best results, and you may need treatment for 5 - 10 minutes multiple times a day until you feel relief. The fantastic thing about acupressure is that you cannot overdose!
What are the Benefits of Acupressure?
Acupressure can be used to regulate routine bodily functions such as metabolism, digestion and sleep, as well as treat a myriad of ailments. Specifically, acupressure can be used to alleviate fibromyalgia, menstrual cramps and nausea; treat insomnia and depression; lower blood pressure; increase energy and circulation; and ease shoulder, neck and back pain.
Best Acupressure Equipment
While you can pay an acupressure practitioner for treatment, you can easily perform acupressure yourself in the comfort of your own home. Acupressure can be performed using your bare hands, but if you want a full-body treatment, or wish to manipulate hard-to-reach meridian trigger-points, you may find acupressure aids helpful. Here are five of the best pieces of equipment for more-effective acupressure:
An increasingly popular method of administering acupressure is to use an acupressure mat and pillow, such as the Pro11 Acupressure Yoga Yantra Nail Mat and Pillow. To use the Yantra Nail Mat and Pillow, you simply need to place them down on a flat surface and then lower your body onto the plastic spikes – remaining in place for as long as you feel is necessary. This pillow-and-mat combo is fantastic for treating general body pain and regulating body functions for better health, and due to its design, eliminates the need to identify and target specific meridians points.
An acupressure band is a cushioned pad that you strap onto your body to stimulate meridian points for targeted pain relief. The Pain Gone Sciatix Adjustable Acupressure Band is an acupressure band that straps around your calf to ease lower back pain. Discreet and convenient to use, this band provides immediate pain relief and can be worn underneath clothing for all-day treatment. The Pain Gone Acupressure Band is also fully-adjustable, so it can be fastened to suit your calf size for a snug and effective fit.
Acupressure balls are self-massage tools that can be used to stimulate pressure points on the hands, feet, legs, arms, shoulders and neck. The 66fit Acupressure Trigger Release Balls is a set of three acupressure balls that can be used for effective acupressure treatment. The three 66fit Trigger Release Balls are all different densities so that you can easily vary the strength of massage on different parts of the body. These balls are colour-coded to enable easy identification of the density desired.
An acupressure roller is another simple, yet effective self-massage tool. These rollers, such as the Pro11 Peanut Spiky Body and Foot Roller, typically have a rough surface with nodules that penetrate the tissue throughout the massage. The Pro11 Peanut Spiky Body and Foot Roller is an ergonomically-shaped roller that has been designed for use over the entire body, is an effective tool for getting into hard-to-reach areas during self-massage, and is great for stimulating blood circulation in the feet.
Back pain is a common problem that plagues many of us on a continuous basis. If you frequently suffer from back pain and would like to experiment with acupressure specifically for back pain, the Pro11 Back Stretcher with Acupressure Points and Padded Cushioning may be the ideal piece of acupressure equipment for you. This back stretcher with acupressure nodes not only releases tension in the back and realigns the spine to relieve pain, but also provides a deep tissue massage to further alleviate pain and promote healing.