After learning to locate acupressure points we need to learn basic acupressure therapy techniques. This article explains the basic acupressure therapy techniques and the ways to perform it.
Acupressure massage therapy stimulates and activates the body’s own energies to help fight illness and restore harmony. Some of the Acupressure points are significant as they relate to a specific part of the body while others are more general in their effect.
Acupressure is usually given in a similar fashion to traditional massage. Points on the body are massaged using finger or thumb, and sometimes a blunt object, in a fairly rapid circular motion with a medium pressure. Massages last between 5 and 15 minutes. Some of the most common techniques are:
- Percussion and
Fingers, hands, elbows, knees and feet are often used to massage other parts of the body.
Dr H Bhojraj, a scientist-healer in Bangalore, says: "Not many people realize that ailments can be cured through a simple system of touch - by applying and releasing pressure on specific meridian spots of the body that are known to be linked with the activity of various organs. We encourage our patients to heal themselves and we teach them how to keep illness at bay with this natural therapy based on scientific principles."
Use prolonged finger pressure directly on the point; gradual, steady, penetrating pressure for approximately three minutes is ideal. Each point will feel somewhat different when you press it; some points feel tense, while others are often sore or ache when pressed.
Acupressure techniques: Pressing and reducing points:
There are two ways that acupressure points are manipulated: pressing (reinforcing) and reducing them. To press points, use something blunt. Usually the fingers are used to press, but for many points the fingers may be a bit too thick, so you'd have to press quite long and firmly. Ideal would be something 3 to 4 mm thick, like a (preferably used) pencil eraser that's
on the other side of a pencil. Some points can be pressed using a fingernail.
Pressing points for less than half a second can already have a distinguishable effect. So for just trying out a point you could press it only briefly. To get a full effect however, pressure should be applied for at least half a minute, but preferably longer. One to two minutes should do.
To reduce a point: Turn a finger over it in counter-clockwise direction, also for one to two minutes. (What happens when you do this is explained in "What m
anipulation of points brings about.") Clicking on the picture of points that need to be reduced displays a video showing how this is performed .
- If you're weakened (from age, disease or whatever), be sure to not reduce points more often then necessary. You could also additionally press these points for a few seconds.
- Do a point on both sides of the body.
- When you are not feeling any effects from pressing points, several things may be the case. You may not be pressing on the exact right spot (acupuncture points are about 0.5 mm diameter, so you'll have to be precise). Try different spots around the location you first tried.
- You shouldn't press lightly, but you shouldn't hurt yourself either. Also, don't press for just a few seconds (although if you're very sensitive you might already notice effects then).
- Acupressure can be performed sitting, standing or lying down.
- Press the point (with strong pressure until you begin to feel the pain) and count to 10-12 seconds. Then release the pressure for 1 second. Press again on the same point and count 10-12 seconds once again. Release pressure once again. Repeat this one more time. So, basically, each point receives a total pressure of about 35 seconds with 1 second breaks after every 10-12 seconds.
- Always use the thumb to press the points. It is important that the thumb faces the body i.e. the pressure is directed towards the body.
- If the points are located on both arm/legs in symmetry, always do the points on both sides of the body.
- You should not eat or drink anything (not even water) 1/2 hour before/after doing the points.
- Each sequence of points should be done REGULARLY 3 times/day with at least 3 hour gaps in between (emergencies are an exception). So, it would be perfect to do the points once in the morning, then in the afternoon, and finally at night. Irregularity in doing the points or doing the points only once or twice will not help at all. All your efforts will be in vain.
How much pressure should one apply to bring about the desired effects? A general guideline to follow is that the pressure should be firm enough so that it "hurts well" - in other words, something between pleasant, firm pressure and outright pain.
The more developed the muscles are, the more pressure you should apply If you feel extreme (or increasing) sensitivity or pain, gradually decrease the pressure until you find a balance between pain and pleasure. Acupressure is not meant to increase your tolerance of pain, so do not think of it as a test of endurance. Do not continue to press a point that is excruciatingly painful. Usually, however, if you firmly hold the point long enough (up to 2 minutes using the middle finger with your index and ring fingers on either side as support), the pain will diminish.
Note that sometimes when you hold a point, you'll feel pain in another part of your body This phenomenon is called referred pain and indicates that those areas are related. You should press points in these related areas as well to release blockages.
The middle finger is the longest and strongest of your fingers and is best suited for applying self-acupressure. The thumb is strong, too, but often lacks sensitivity If you find that your hand is generally weak or hurt s when you apply finger pressure, you can use the knuckles or your fist or other tools, such as an avocado pit, a golf ball, or a pencil eraser.
Words of caution: Do not use acupressure to replace standard emergency procedures or licenced medical treatment. Acupressure should be used as a complementary therapy. Check with a specialist before opting for treatment
According the WHO restrictions, don't perform acupressure/acupuncture just before or within 20 minutes after heavy exercise, a large meal, or bathing.
Related: www.eclecticenergies.com (image source as well)
Useful links and related articles:
* www.pressthepoint.com is a helpful online resource as you get the illustrated point locations at this site.