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How does acupressure work?

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Acupressure practitioners use their fingers, palms, elbows or feet, or special devices to apply pressure to acupoints on the body's meridians. Sometimes, acupressure also involves stretching or acupressure massage, as well as other methods.

During an acupressure session, you lie fully clothed on a soft massage table. The practitioner gently presses on acupressure points on your body. A session typically lasts about one hour. You may need several sessions for the best results.

The goal of acupressure or other types of Asian bodywork is to restore health and balance to the body's channels of energy and to regulate opposing forces of yin (negative energy) and yang (positive energy). Some proponents claim acupressure not only treats the energy fields and body but also the mind, emotions, and spirit. Some even believe that therapists can transmit the vital energy (external qi) to another person.

Not all Western practitioners believe that this is possible or even that these meridians exist. Instead, they attribute any results to other factors, such as reduced muscle tension, improved circulation, or stimulation of endorphins, which are natural pain relievers.

SOURCES:

American Cancer Society: "Acupressure, Shiatsu, and Other Asian Bodywork."

American Pain Foundation: "Treatment Options: A Guide for People Living with Pain."

Memorial Sloan Kettering: Acupressure

Memorial Sloan Kettering: Cancer

NIH NCCAM: "Energy Medicine: An Overview."

Natural Standard: ''Acupressure, shiatsu, tuina,'' 2013.

 

Reviewed by David Kiefer on October 21, 2017

SOURCES:

American Cancer Society: "Acupressure, Shiatsu, and Other Asian Bodywork."

American Pain Foundation: "Treatment Options: A Guide for People Living with Pain."

Memorial Sloan Kettering: Acupressure

Memorial Sloan Kettering: Cancer

NIH NCCAM: "Energy Medicine: An Overview."

Natural Standard: ''Acupressure, shiatsu, tuina,'' 2013.

 

Reviewed by David Kiefer on October 21, 2017

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