Acupressure practitioners use their fingers, palms, elbows or feet, or special devices to apply pressure to acupoints on the body's meridians. The practitioner gently presses on acupressure points on your body.
Chinese acupressure massage is derived from the ancient medicinal art of acupuncture, so in order to understand how it works, it is helpful to understand some of the basic principles of acupuncture.
According to ancient Chinese medicine, the health or illness of the body depends on the flow of vital energy, called Qi (or Ki), throughout the body. This energy passes through a network of "meridians" in the body. These meridians have been meticulously mapped out by Chinese acupuncturists. Aside from the 12 primary meridians which are associated with the vital organs, there are hundreds of minor meridians as well. By inserting needles in the proper meridians, an acupuncturist balances the flow of Qi. This in turn is believed to relieve the symptoms of many disorders.
As the name implies, the difference between acupuncture and acupressure is that instead of inserting needles, an acupressure massage therapist applies pressure to the meridians of Qi. He may do this in one or more of several ways, depending on his assessment of your needs:
- Targeted pressure is applied using a finger or thumb.
- The acupressure massage therapist may use his elbows, knees or even feet for certain treatments.
- Sometimes, a special blunt instrument is used for certain acupressure procedures