Acupressure may help reduce stress and pain. Learn about acupressure, who practices it and where to find a practitioner, and what to expect at a session and after it. Once informed, you can decide if it's for you.
Intro to Acupressure
Instead of acupuncture's needles, acupressure uses touch or pressure to ease pain. Experts use their fingers, elbows, or devices on specific points that may not be near the problem area. Traditional Chinese medicine says acupressure unblocks the body's energy. Western medicine says acupressure may release built-up lactic acid or produce endorphins, which are the body's natural painkillers.
Typically, during an acupressure session, you lie fully clothed on a soft massage table. The practitioner uses his or her fingers, palms, elbows, feet, or special tools to apply gentle pressure to specific points on your body. Treatment may also involve stretching or massage.
Call a local acupressure practitioner to learn more about the first session.
Acupressure for You?
Ask your doctor if there is any reason you should not try acupressure. Although research into acupressure's health benefits is relatively new, patients do report feeling relief from stress and pain.
Studies suggest that acupressure may help with low back pain, postoperative pain, headache, even menstrual cramps.
Who Does Acupressure
Look for an acupressure practitioner in your area. Some massage therapists -- for example, shiatsu and Thai style -- practice acupressure as part of their sessions. If your health insurance plan covers acupressure, your insurance company may have a list of providers. You may also need a referral from your doctor.