© 2003 Andrew Thompson
Chinese Acupressure is quite possibly the oldest form of healing still in use today.
An integral part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Acupressure has also given rise to several newer modalities including Acupuncture, Shiatsu, Tui Na, and Moxibustion.
Acupressure works on the principle that the body has the ability to heal itself. Energy or ‘qi’ (pronounced ‘chee’) flows through fourteen main channels (or meridians) that run throughout the body, and this energy controls and nourishes the organ after which it is named.
When a person becomes ill, there is something wrong with their body’s energy flow. Qi becomes stagnant or deficient in a part of the body, upsetting the delicate balance between yin and yang that exists in all living things. Once this happens, the body is vulnerable to attack from outside influences, such as cold, heat and wind.
For example, if a client were to present with the symptoms of a cold, the Therapist would treat some points on the lung channel to boost the patient’s immune system, and possibly the spleen and kidney channels to help clear dampness and move qi around the body.
Treatments vary from one practitioner to the next, and indeed from one client to the next, as no two people’s symptoms and energies are the same. A skilled practitioner also relies on instinct, and has the ability to accurately read a person’s needs, often identifying an underlying condition that the client didn’t know about. As opposed to simply treating symptoms, the Therapist will attempt to target the cause.
Sometimes a Therapist will also combine other forms of healing with the treatment, such as Shiatsu, Reiki, Massage or Moxibustion.
More and more students of Western Massage are electing to study Chinese Acupressure and other Oriental techniques to further enhance their understanding of the human body. This enables them to take a more proactive approach when attempting to determine the causes of their clients’ musculoskeletal problems.
Armed with such skills, graduates of Oriental Massage tend to integrate both eastern and western techniques. For example, what can start out as a routine shoulder Sports Massage, may trigger questions from a trained Therapist regarding your diet and possible digestive problems.
There is virtually no disorder in the human body that can’t be treated to some extent with Acupressure. It is also a helpful tool when used in conjunction with modern medicine. That said however, no single health modality should be seen as the only treatment available. If in any doubt, you should always discuss your concerns with your usual health practitioner.
If you’d like to try some Acupressure points at home, here’s a fun little experiment for when people are coughing and sneezing all around you. This simple self-treatment will help your body resist attacks from airborne viruses.
With your hands held like claws, firmly press the fingernails of one hand into the fingertips of the other hand (be careful not to break your skin). Hold this position firmly for one minute then swap hands. Perform twice a day for a week. It is best if you find a quiet place to do this.
Close your eyes and focus on the sensations taking place throughout your body. You’ll find the experience very soothing and uplifting.
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Have a brilliant day,