Acupressure massage is an ancient Chinese form of medical therapy, first recorded in detail almost two thousand years ago. It is very closely related to acupuncture, utilizing the same system of points and nodes on the body to affect other parts of the body indirectly when stimulated, but acupressure uses the application of finger pressure instead of needles. Ancient Chinese doctors studied the effects of battlefield wounds on soldiers, and noticed that wounds in certain places had interesting effects on other parts of the body, and further investigation showed that these links between areas could also be stimulated by the application of non-damaging pressure. It wasn’t long before the whole body had been mapped out, and acupressure massage has been used extensively ever since for the treatment of a wide variety of problems, especially pain and discomfort.
Acupressure and Acupuncture revealed to the west
Acupuncture and acupressure massage were very little known outside of Chinese medicine until the visit of Richard Nixon and a large number of journalists to China in the 1970s when diplomatic relations between China and the outside world became much more open than before. During the visit many medical procedures were seen to be being carried out without the use of anaesthetic, as would have been the norm in the west. One of the journalists actually required surgery while the group was in China, and he chose to have acupuncture and acupressure massage instead of western style anaesthesia, and afterwards he reported his incredible findings to the western world. It was still many years before acupressure became accepted as a valid medical technique in western countries, with much debate still ongoing as to whether or not it should be generally used. There are however many alternative acupressure practitioners now using the technique, in particular because it is non-invasive and has no known side effects.
Shiatsu massage and reflexology are fairly closely linked to acupressure, although these were developed outside of China, and there are now many other popular therapies that use many of the concepts, such as Jin Shin Do and gigong.
In simple terms, acupressure allows a practitioner to stimulate certain parts of the body by applying pressure, which reputedly alters the flow of chi, or energy, through these points to other parts of the body. Chi travels along certain pathways through the body, and where these come to the surface in particular are the main acupressure massage points. Stimulating these points allows blocked chi to flow properly, and stimulates it when it is lacking. The end goal is always to identify chi imbalances in the main organs of the body, and to rectify them with simple application of pressure.
Easy to Learn
Acupressure massage can be relatively easily learned and practised, especially due to its non-damaging effects. Acupressure massage can be used as an extension of any other form of massage therapy, and although it is not recommended to be a replacement for conventional medical treatment, it is widely becoming accepted that it does help with symptoms in many cases, and is a useful supplementary technique.
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