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Acupressure - Therapeutic Massage

Acupressure (Tui Na in Chinese) , or therapeutic massage, is thought to be one of the oldest healing traditions in the world, predating even acupuncture. The Chinese are credited with having discovered that pressure on specific points of the body could relieve common ailments and discomfort.

Acupressure is based on the same concepts of meridians and acu-points as acupuncture, but fingertip pressure is used rather than needles. The aim is also the same, to balance the flow of Qi (vital energy) and Yin and Yang within the meridians, thereby creating healthy functioning of the internal organs and preventing or curing disease.

Acupressure - along meridians

The invisible meridians carrying Qi are said to reside within the body's interior. However, there are specific places on the skin called acu-points, where Qi may be accessed and guided suing deep, focused finger pressure. By improving Qi circulation, practitioners encourage the harmonious equilibrium of mind and body believed to be essential for physical and spiritual health. And once this internal harmony is achieved the body is able to invoke its self-healing capabilities. Same as acupuncture, acupressure has been well accepted as a safe, effective, comfortable, harmless to people health and life-prolonging.

Having an acupressure once a week, you will have two-third less illness.

Acupressure vs Conventional Massage

Acupressure - along meridians

Although acupressure is also simply called "massage" in the US, it actually is not the same as conventional massage.

Like acupuncture, acupressure is based on the concept of Qi (pronounced "chee"), defined in Chinese medicine as an essential life force that flows through the body, circulating through invisible passageway called meridians. The movement, or flow, of Qi varies with the mental, physical, and spiritual changes of daily living.

When Qi flows freely and evenly, harmony and good health are possible; however, if Qi circulation is stagnant, over-stimulated, or unbalanced, illness is likely. Acupressure is closely related to acupuncture in its use of the meridian system and is considered to be effective for a similar range of health problems. That's why acupressure generally produces better results than conventional massage.

For instance, the primary function of Lung Meridian, the red line on the right chart, is regulating and moving breath throughout the entire body. Lung 1, or LU 1, is about an inch below the clavicle next to the shoulder at the top of the pectoral muscle. Acupressure on this tender spot treats asthma, coughs and breathing problems. It can open the lungs, making breathing fuller and more satisfying. This point is also associated with relief from feelings of emptiness and is used to treat shoulder and upper-back tension. While pressure is being applied, inhale and exhale slowly.

How Does Acupressure Work?

Acupressure is based on the theory of meridians. According to this theory, the body is networked by a system of pathways which function to transport Qi and blood, to regulate Yin (spirit) and Yang (blood). (internal opposing forces), to protect against external pathogens and to link the internal organs with the exterior. The concept is simple. When Qi flows freely, the body is healthy. Blockage of the Qi results in the unbalance of Yin and Yang and causes pain and is intimately connected with all health problems. Acupressure uses pressure, manipulation and a variety of approaches to promote Qi(energy) and blood flow with the body.


In addition to the selection of acu-points, touch is another fundamental medium of acupressure. While acupressure methods can be described in the terms of a series o techniques performed, it is important to understand that touch is not used solely in a mechanistic way in acupressure therapy. There is also an artistic component in the acupressure. Because acupressure usually involves applying touch varying degrees of pressure, the acupressure therapist must use touch with sensitivity in order to determine the optimal amount of pressure to use for each point on the body.

Touch used with sensitivity also allows the acupressure therapist to receive useful information about the body, such as location areas of muscle tension and the other soft tissue problems. Because touch is also a form of communication, sensitive touch conveys a sense of caring, which is an essential element in the therapeutic relationship for the person receiving acupressure. Acupressure also animates the tactile sense, which is the body's primary sense. This has another psychological effect of bringing people in the here and now and away from a constant preoccupation with problems and the tension generated by mental hyperactivity. This has a centering effect that often leaves people feeling mentally refreshed and restored. Acupressure therapy recipients often describe this as a "mental vacation". It is recognized that many illnesses in the beginning or acute states are on the "surface" of the body, defined in Chinese medicine as aches, pains and other symptoms found in the muscles, neck and head. Later on, if the disease is strong or goes untreated, it can move deeper into the "interior" of the body, affecting the chest, abdomen and internal organs.

The Major Effects of Acupressure Treatments

Acupressure - works for me!

Acupressure primarily affects the body as a whole. It can be used to treat a large range of health problems, but it is particularly effective for headaches, tension, depression and fatigue, as well as neck and back problems. As a preventive therapy there is a good chance that some illnesses will be caught very early as a result of acupressure treatment. Taking a look at the key effects of acupressure gives insight into how acupressure works and what the benefits of acupressure are:

  • Activating Qi and blood (increasing its activity)
  • Regulating Qi and blood (dispersing stagnation and guiding counter flow)
  • Dredging the channels (removing external pathogens like Cold and Damp)
  • Reduce muscle tension
  • Improve blood circulation
  • Improve lymph movement
  • Increase mobility and range of motion of joints
  • Stimulate or smooth nervous system Enhance skin condition
  • Relief of acute and chronic pain
  • Reduce swelling
Soreness or Pain after Acupressure Treatment

While most people feel relaxed and rejuvenated after a acupressure treatment, some people might experience soreness, tired, uncomfortable or even pain the next day. Why is there such a feeling?

Type of acupressure

Being sore or pain after a acupressure can sometimes depend on the type of massage your are getting. With relaxing acupressure, there is less chance to be sore after the massage because a massage therapist is not generally working too deep into the muscles. However, as a therapeutic massage, deep tissue massage and sports massage are necessary. It very likely you will be sore or pain after the treatment.

Muscle knots results in pain

Muscle knots results in pain

Pain and stiffness in the muscles and joints can be caused by long-term muscle tension, postural imbalance, overuse and injury. All these things can cause muscle fibers to become contracted, forming muscle knots. The muscle knots result in reduced blood flow to the area, and inefficient removal of metabolic waste products by the lymphatic system. The net result of this is areas of the soft tissues that become stiff, hardened, and "glued together" in contracted bands – adhesions. Normal movement becomes impossible, and stiffness and pain set in.

Deep tissue massage

Acupressure or deep tissue massage is applied, concentrating on muscle knots at the deeper layers of the body's soft tissues. It aims to release chronic patterns of tension in the body, through slow strokes and deep pressure on the contracted area(s). Deep tissue massage therapy is therapeutic as well as corrective. Working deeply does not equate with working harder or with more effort, but is the result of specific deep tissue massage techniques combined with knowledge of the different layers of the body's soft tissues.

Soreness or pain after deep tissue massage

In general, it is common to have some sore, pain, and even slight swelling after receiving deep corrective massage. This is called therapeutic inflammation. It happens when new white blood cells come to your shoulder to clean out the old, damaged, and dead cells in your tissues. It can alos caused by the tight muscles having been stretched and realigned or muscle adhesions that have broken apart. Unfortunately, sometimes that can cause a little discomfort. Soreness or pain may last up to three days.

If the pain is ever out of your comfort zone, tell your massage therapist and they can address the problem areas another time when you're ready.

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