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Acupressure is often described as “Acupuncture without needles”, and like acupuncture is based the theory that qi or “life energy” flows along channels called meridians, along which acupoints can be stimulated to influence qi. The difference is that acupressure uses finger and thumb pressure rather than needles. It is widely practised in China, and on the increase in the West although it is currently considered to be less effective than acupuncture.

Like acupuncture acupressure is based on the concepts of Yin and Yang. Yin indicates ‘moon’ or shade, and Yang ‘sun’ or sunshine, and they symbolise opposing but complementary forces within the body (and nature generally). It is essential for well being that these forces are in balance. The interaction of yin and yang generates “life energy” (qi) that flows around the body along channels called meridians. Problems on a meridian can create illness at any point along it, and there are around 365 acupoints along the meridians at which qi is concentrated and can enter and leave the body.

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Acupressure involves influencing qi at these points, and the practitioner does this using her/his fingers, thumbs, and even feet and knees.

Massage can be vigorous and uses many different techniques such as rubbing, kneading, and a specific rolling action that is said to recharge energy levels.Pressure is either applied directly down or angled as the meridian flows, and acupoints on both sides of the body are massaged to ensure qi is balanced.

Self-help using acupressure is eminently possible if you have a meridian/acupoint map. It can be used for self-treating minor ailments such as indigestion, nausea, and headaches.

Acupressure can provide relief from many conditions, for example:

  • Musculo-skeletal problems and arthritis.
  • Stress, fatigue, insomnia.
  • Allergies resulting in conditions such as hay fever and asthma.
  • Depression and anxiety.
  • Nausea and digestive disorders.
  • Headaches and migraines.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Women’s health problems.

Please note that a good Acupressure practitioner will always do a thorough consultation before commencing a treatment, and will also provide advice about aftercare and homecare.


The following books were referenced for this section:

Encyclopedia of Natural Healing by Anne Woodham and Dr David Peters

Holistic Therapy – A Practical Approach by Francesca Gould

See our full range of Holistic Therapy books in the Further Exploration section.

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