The Truth About Acupressure

For those who aren't particularly keen on needles, acupressure might be a more viable option for a natural pain relief treatment. Since acupuncture focuses on releasing stagnant energy pockets throughout the body through the application of needles, acupressure claims to do the same thing — but using a practitioner's fingers.

Verywell Health explains that Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) believes there to be 14 "pathways of energy called meridians," at minimum, present throughout the body that can get blocked for a variety of reasons. Various techniques, such as acupuncture or acupressure, help unlock these areas either through placing a needle or a point of pressure on the various points. The meridians correspond with different organs, so treatment for your liver may call for pressure along your spine, for instance.

While little clinical research has expounded upon these benefits, many swear by the healing abilities of these two holistic modalities. According to TCM, applying pressure helps break up stagnant energy, while others think that this method may help release endorphins, which can help alleviate pain, the outlet notes. Furthermore, some believe that the benefits stem from acupressure's ability to connect with the autonomic nervous system. Anyway you look at its results, the treatment may help with ailments ranging from anxiety to insomnia, sore muscles, and more.

Acupressure can help alleviate pain

If you're looking for an alternative pain reliever or stress reduction aid, acupressure can offer just that. WebMD notes that practitioners will use their hands, fingers, and palms to unlock areas with tight energy, and may stretch the muscles or employ a type of acupressure massage. After discussing what you've been experiencing and would like to work on, the therapist will press down on various points with a light or firm pressure for a period of time that's specific to your unique needs.

However, you can also use this technique on your own. Depending on the issue, you can find the various points that correspond with the ailment you're experiencing. Many of these points lie on your hand, so you may have heard of a few of these tips. Healthline suggests lying in a comfortable position and carving out a few minutes of time for your home practice. As an example, you can gently massage the area between your thumb and index finger, above the dense area of your hand, to relieve shoulder pain, the outlet notes. Breathe deeply and apply the pressure for a few minutes. But if the area is sensitive to the touch, back off.

Whether you're performing acupressure on your own or with a professional, give the practice a few tries first. The benefits may accumulate over time, so you're more likely to notice after the fact!