The Beginner's Guide to Acupressure
Acupressure, acupuncture, and related practices Do-in, G-Jo, Shiatsu, and Myotherapy, practiced in Asia for thousands of years, have only gained wider acceptance in the West in recent times. Traditional Asian medicine emphasize personal responsibility for one's health. This page is designed to put the relief of common and minor discomforts and symptoms into your own hands.
By learning how to stimulate your own pressure points, you can relieve minor or moderate symptoms, and reduce the need for nonprescription drugs. Unlike most drugs, relief is usually immediate.
Do not use acupressure to replace standard emergency procedures or licensed medical treatment. If you are seriously injured or have persistent symptoms seek urgent medical treatment
Acupressure should not be used:
1. As the only treatment for illness; if you are sick, see a doctor
2. If you have a heart condition
3. Just before or within 20 minutes after heavy exercise, a large meal, or bathing
4. If the point in question is under a mole, wart, varicose vein, abrasion, bruise, cut, or any other break in the skin
5. f you are pregnant, especially if more than 3 months
For these symptoms, only use acupressure to supplement professional medical care, or when no professional medical care is available. Only try acupressure for these symptoms after seeking professional care and after using standard first aid and emergency techniques.
How Does It Work?
The concepts of internal and external environment are very important to the philosophy of traditional Asian medicine. The human body, it is believed, encloses a perpetual flow of bioenergy, or life-force, called "chi, "ki" or "qi". This energy flows into the body and along specific pathways called "meridians", influencing the functioning of all the organs. In healthy individuals, this flow maintains a constant balance with both itself and the external environment. When external or internal events occur which disturb this balance, disease ensues. Along the meridians are a large number of pressure points that act as "valves" for the flow of chi. The stimulation of these points, when properly performed, acts to restore balance to the internal environment, thereby relieving symptoms.
Directions for Using Acupressure
To stimulate an acupoint properly, you must apply deep probing pressure. Therefore, only apply pressure with:
Before beginning, try to accuratley classify your problem. For example, if you have a backache brought on by stress, you might be better off treating the stress rather than the backache itself.
You can browse the alphabetical list of symptoms, or use one of the pull-down menus to get a list of acupoints to try. The figures and text give the approximate location of a point. Explore the area with a deep probing pressure, until the exact point announces itself to you with a sharp twinge. It starts as a jolt, and after a moment becomes a numbing sensation, or a tingling radiating from the point. It can be quite a shock the first time, but sensitivity decreases with experience.
When you have found the point, apply pressure for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat using the same point on the other side of your body. You should feel immediate relief. You may feel a release of tension, sinus drainage or perspiration. Sometimes points on opposite sides of the body will have different effects. If symptoms increase, do not use that side or point.
If the first point doesn't work, try the next point or points until you find one that does. There may be more than one approach to your symptoms, such as "kidneys" vs. "backache." When you find a point that helps, use that point. If the relief is temporary, re-stimulate the point. Sometimes a pain will go away and return three or four times, lesser each time.
REMEMBER: IF YOU HAVE A SEVERE OR PERSISTENT
PROBLEM, SEE YOUR DOCTOR AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
You are trying to harmonize your inner environment, so isolate yourself from the external environment as much as possible. Find a quiet place, sit down, and try to relax. Avoid loud music, exercise, food, and any drugs, including alcohol, while stimulating your acupoints.
Once you are familiar with using acupressure on yourself you can try it on others, but be cautious. Most states have laws against the practice of remedial massage, or medicine of any kind, without a license. I suggest that you only attempt to use it on your family and friends.
When you do use it on others, be cautious of the warnings listed. Also, be sure to explain what you are doing and what they can expect. Remember that thumb widths and hand widths shown on the diagrams refer to the width of the thumb or hand of the person being treated. Ask for feed-back from them to be sure you've located the right spot, as exact locations of points vary from person to person.