Combining the Techniques of Acupressure and Acupuncture

Acupressure is a style of Chinese massage that has been practiced for more than five thousand years. It is a therapy in which finger, thumb and hand pressure is applied to acupuncture points in order to regulate the flow of qi (pronounced "chee"= energy) in the body. Sustained pressure promotes deep relaxation, while brief, intermittent pressure tends to be stimulating to the body and the mind. Chinese medical theory asserts that qi flows through the body in pathways that are intrinsically linked with the function of different organ systems. By stimulating the movement of qi within a particular pathway, the functioning of its associated organ can be affected. Further correspondences are made between the various organs and the myriad processes of the body and the mind. It is by the extension of these relationships that particular health disorders can be addressed, often through the stimulation of acupuncture points in seemingly unrelated areas of the body. One well-known example of this theory is the use of an acupuncture point located on the back of the hand in the webbing between the thumb and index finger for the treatment of headaches.

Like acupressure, acupuncture is another method of stimulating the movement of qi. Both modalities are based on the same fundamental medical theories, and both use the same acupuncture points on the body. During acupuncture, however, very fine needles are inserted into the acupuncture points, directly connecting with the qi. It should be pointed out that Western researchers in the field of electrophysiology have not only been able to verify the physical existence of the energy channels and the acupuncture points, but have also confirmed that acupuncture needles exert a measurable influence upon the electrical functioning of an acupuncture point. From the Eastern perspective, this influence is a highly refined manipulation of an individual’s qi for the purpose of directing and balancing its flow throughout the body and the mind.

The idea of combining acupressure and acupuncture in one treatment is not new. It occurs everyday in acupuncture offices across the world. The sensitivity of the human hand enables the practitioner to simultaneously evaluate and improve the relative functioning of the body by pressing the skin, connective tissue, muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, blood vessels, joints, and organs located beneath the acupuncture points. The power of acupuncture is that it engages the deepest healing energies of the body and the mind, inducing an orderly, self-regulating flow of qi and blood. Used together, these methods enhance and harmonize the systemic strength, flexibility and resiliency of the patient’s health.