Acupressure and acupuncture are two different disciplines based on the same principles. Namely, while acupuncture is dated back to 2000 years ago, acupressure is a relatively new approach, related to both acupuncture and massage together.
There are both similarities and differences between the two disciplines and the following lines will give their best to explain both of these techniques and all the important characteristics they possess.
Acupressure is a Bodywork Therapy
Acupressure applies pressure to the same spots of the body that acupuncture stabs needles in, all this for the sake of promoting health and treating different diseases. In fact, acupressure was initially called pressure acupuncture, signifying a process which, basically, is acupuncture without the needles. Both acupressure and acupuncture belong to Asian Bodywork Therapies, being based on the Traditional Chinese Medicine.
The main principles behind both of these therapies lie in the ancient knowledge of Meridians in the human body. Acupressure points lie at specific points along the meridians, which are the pathways that all energy of our body flows through. There are 12 major Meridians that are targeted in acupuncture, connecting different organs and parts of our body. Thus, in acupressure, once the pressure points located along these meridians are pressed, the free flow of energy is promoted and an organ connected to a certain Meridian responds to the therapy.
Therefore, according to the TCM, any obstruction blocking the energy flow through the Meridians can lead to health issues and even development of illnesses. Thus, acupressure restores your body's balance through stimulating the points in the body. All other bodywork therapies related to the TCM have the same goal. Thus, meditation, therapeutic massage, as well as herbal and nutritional therapy, all aim at balancing your inner energy levels, helping you stay free from health complications.
Acupressure therapists use many parts of their body, including their palms, elbows, feet or fingers in order to apply pressure to specific parts of the patient's body. Sometimes, they even use certain devices to achieve this effect or apply stretching of the body for the same purpose.
An acupressure therapy session commonly lasts for about an hour and several visits may be necessary in order for the desired effect to be achieved.
Many health experts, especially those who belong to the area of Western medicine, deny any existence of meridians, claiming that the positive effects that acupressure and acupuncture have on the body of a patient are nothing more than a placebo, stemming from the increased blood circulation, reduced tension in the muscles or the production of endorphins, being our organism's natural painkillers.
However, countless people continue to find relief in these ancient forms of therapy. Some of the most common body parts addressed through this bodywork therapy are the large intestine, through the fleshy part between the thumb and the forefinger, the liver, through the soft area between the big and the second toe and the spleen, the acupressure point which is located three fingers above the inner anklebone.
Massaging these areas a couple of times a day is a recommended procedure, keeping you safe form many health problems which might affect the mentioned organs. Usually, if you are doing it right, the area you press should feel tender or mildly painful.
Is it Different from Acupuncture?
Even though the same theory regarding the Meridians and 12 points are used in both acupressure and acupuncture, the manners in which these two therapies are carried out are quite different. Basically, therapeutic or medical acupuncture focuses on inserting solid, metal-made needles in the skin and the body tissues. The needles are inserted in specific patterns and in a specific number, depending on the form of treatment intended.
Of course, the needles are meant to promote the flow of “qi”, the energy described in the TCM. Therefore, acupuncture addresses many layers of one's existence and health, taking into consideration both the physical and the psychological, along with the philosophical, in terms of doctrine and practical use.
Today, acupuncture has evolved greatly and, due to this fact, the whole approach can be classified as either traditional acupuncture or the modern, hybrid acupuncture. Namely, today, in many health facilities, even electric currents can be used during acupuncture, delivering electricity to the body through the needles or through direct contact of the electrodes and the skin.
So, when we consider the unique points of both acupressure and acupuncture, both approaches share the same principles, but differ in the practical, therapeutic processes.
Subsequently, the two therapies are different, but the same, focusing their knowledge on ancient wisdom of the Traditional Chinese Medicine, combining it with modern inventions and tools in order to boost the healing power of the process.
Whichever therapy you choose, rest assured that you will be amazed by the power of something alternative and unconventional, helping you overcome the physical and psychological problems you might be facing.