Acupressure, like acupuncture, relies on a system of channels and pressure points. The difference between the two is that acupressure is the applying of gentle pressure to specific areas rather than inserting needles.
Acupressure is a safe and effective therapy. According to Chinese medicine, we do not only have blood flowing through the body, but energy. The basic philosophy of acupressure is that to live in a pain-free, nourishing body, the energy or qi channels must flow smoothly.
How big is an acupressure point?
Many of the acupressure points are around the size of a 20 pence coin. The major connecting points (a larger area where if touched can stimulate the point) are generally the size of a 50 pence coin.
How much pressure should you use?
The pressure applied to an acupressure point should not be too hard. Imagine holding a garden hose. Putting too much pressure on the hose will stop the flow of water, but too little pressure won’t disrupt the flow at all. The pressure needs to be just enough to feel resistance of the muscle tissue.
When the correct depth is reached, you may feel a warm, cool or tingling sensation. This is called “meeting the point”. However, not all people will experience these sensations during an acupressure session.
How often should acupressure be practised?
Chronic conditions including asthma, high blood pressure and irritable bowel syndrome will often require acupressure points to be stimulated daily for 10 to 30 minutes. Receiving sessions two to three times a week can also be effective, though it is dependent on the individual.
For acute conditions, including headaches, the points should be stimulated for up to three minutes. Stop applying pressure and wait until symptoms worsen before you repeat the stimulation.
Elderly people and children will not need this much stimulation. The acupressure points should be held gently and for a maximum of two minutes.