Both of these therapeutic treatments aim to stimulate specific points on the body known as acupoints. When these points are triggered, it activates the body’s innate healing ability. Acupuncture uses needles to puncture through the layers of the skin, believed to have a more profound effect than acupressure, which uses massage techniques to achieve the same result.
Acupressure can be used to treat most of the same conditions as acupuncture. Indeed, for people who are very sensitive to needles, or who fear needles it is treatment of choice.
Practiced for thousands of years and originating in China, this Asian bodywork therapy follows the theory of ‘meridian lines’ or ‘channels’ in your body. Meridian lines are mapped out invisible lines which are said to carry energy through the body. If these lines or channels become blocked, it creates an imbalance within the body and we suffer ailment as a result.
During an acupressure treatment, the practitioner will use their hands, or a tool which becomes an extension of their hands to activate these points. The session will usually also involve different massage techniques and stretching for a wholesome holistic treatment. Whether you believe that meridian lines exist or not, an acupressure treatment is extremely beneficial to overall health. Like most body work treatments, the physical effects include stimulated blood flow, decrease in muscle tension, reduction of pain, increased mental relaxation and a release of feel-good endorphins from the brain.
Reflexology uses acupressure to activate the nervous system. In reflexology, every part of the hands, feet, or ears, contain nerve endings which stem from the different internal organs. These points of nerve endings, when stimulated, react similarly to when the meridian lines are stimulated. The only difference is that the meridian lines do not claim to be tied to one particular body system such as the nervous system or circulatory system. Reflexologists will actually make a point of activating the major longitudinal meridian lines during a typical reflexology treatment.
Acupuncture has all the same benefits and effects as acupressure, though is believed to trigger a stronger stimulation. Many celebrities have flocked towards this treatment and swear by it. It is even a popular method of pet-relaxation with more and more veterinary practices and dog grooming centres offering the treatment for your pooch. Here we can see a snippet from an episode of Dog Whisperer off the National Geographic channel. The dog is suffering from a canine form of post traumatic stress disorder, and receives acupuncture as part of his rehabilitation. Witness the treatment performing wonders.
The hair-thin needles cause no pain when inserted into the skin, and most people cannot even feel them. The idea of being stuck with a bunch of needles can be very off-putting for some, especially if you have a phobia of needles which is not uncommon. Not all treatments are for everyone, and if acupuncture does not appeal to you then acupressure will give you the very same outcome. The aim of the game with both methods is to balance the flow of energy or ‘life force’ that flows through each of us. In holistic practice, this is known as ‘qi’ or ‘chi’ pronounced ‘chee’ like ‘tea.’