Acupressure stimulates the body to cure itself by restoring imbalance in a person’s energy, Qi. Acupressure is a holistic and medicine-free approach that is effective in treating problems like asthma, fatigue, chronic lower back pain, stress, nausea and eye problems. It can be safely used to supplement conventional treatments. Pregnant women should avoid it.
According to the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, the ancient Chinese healing art of acupressure is similar to acupuncture, but instead of applying needles to certain points on the body, the acupressure technique uses finger pressure on these points.1
How Does Acupressure Work?
The theory behind acupressure is that when pressure is applied on specific body points, the body is able to cure itself. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, a disease is considered to be caused by the imbalance of a person’s energy, Qi. The stimulation of acupoints regulates Qi, activates the meridians and collateral systems, and initiates a chain of actions to restore overall health, solving any specific health problems along the way.
Acupressure Techniques For Various Treatments
The holistic nature of Acupressure makes it amenable for use in treating problems that are not well understood by conventional medicine or in situations where medicines are only able to provide short-term relief before the problem recurs. Since it is completely medicine free, it can also be safely used as a supplementary therapy along with other conventional treatments.
Acupressure has been proved to be an effective alternate therapy when combined with standard care in asthma patients. In a pilot study conducted on patients with clinically stable, chronic obstructive asthma, there was a test to deduce if acupressure had any improvements in addition to standard care. The results proved that there was clinically significant improvements in the quality of life when their treatments care was supplemented with acupuncture or acupressure.2
Persistent Cancer-Related Fatigue
Acupressure is said to be a potential treatment for persistent cancer-related fatigue (PCRF), a symptom which is experienced by individuals who have survived cancer. A study was conducted to find out if acupressure treatments could result in differential effects on fatigue and examined the effect of different “doses” of acupressure on fatigue. The results show that acupressure has positive effects and provides relief from PCRF.3
Chronic Low Back Pain
Chronic low back pain (CLBP) is a common symptom that affects approximately 100 million adults in the United States.4
A study to explore the acceptance of auricular point acupressure (APA) to reduce chronic low back pain (CLBP) was conducted. Subjects reported a 46% reduction in worst pain, and over 50% reduction in average pain, overall pain severity and pain interference by the end of study, and 62.5% subjects also reported less pain medication use.5
Acupressure therapy was able to reduce depression, anxiety, stress and general psychological distress in patients undergoing or recovering from major treatments such as hemodialysis (kidney failure). Acupressure can be looked at as a go-to alternative therapy for psychological well-being and improved quality of life.6
The pericardium pressure point (PC6) is considered to be effective in dealing with nausea, which can be triggered by multiple conditions such as pregnancy, migraine, chemotherapy, motion sickness, post operative etc.
One study found that in patients suffering from migraine induced nausea, the nausea was significantly reduced by acupressure: in 5/32 patients (15 %) at 60 min, in 10/32 (31 %) at 120 min and in 17/32 (53 %) at 240 min.7
Postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV) is a common problem in patients recovering from anesthesia and surgery. In patients undergoing thyroidectomy, nausea and need of rescue antiemetic medication were reduced by acupressure at the P6 point.8
According to Traditional Chinese medicine, eye-related diseases are closely connected to liver, kidney and spleen health. There are several acupressure points around the eyes which can help relieve symptoms such as early-stage cataracts, glaucoma, hysteria with vision loss, eye problems related to worry, excessive study and mental strain, conjunctivitis, red sore eyes, photophobia, dry, itchy eyes, early-stage cataracts and blurred vision and lateral headaches.9
Risks Of Acupressure
- Acupressure is not advised for pregnant women as it is said to cause uterine contractions if certain acupressure points are focussed upon.
- Acupressure therapy should not be done on broken skin, inflamed tissues, on lymph glands, on a sprained joint and on people who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- It is imperative that patients do a thorough research on acupressure before undertaking this form of alternate therapy for treatment.
- A consultation with a medical practitioner must be taken as a precautionary measure.