Glossary of Acupressure Terms

Note: Words in italics can be found elsewhere in the Glossary.

Acupressure: An ancient healing art that uses finger pressure on the Acupuncture Points and Meridians to release muscular pain and tension and to increase circulation of both blood and Chi.

Acupressure Point: A specific place on the body that, when pressed with the fingers, relieves tension, pain, or blockage. Located along a Meridian, these Points have high levels of electrical conductivity, so that they conduct healing energy effectively. Acupressure Points are the same as Acupuncture Points. See Pressure Point

Acupuncture: A method of Traditional Chinese Medicine in which fine needles are inserted into the body at key points along the Meridians to relieve pain and treat various ailments.

Acu-Yoga: An integration of Acupressure and Yoga for self-healing. Acu-Yoga uses full-body postures along with deep breathing to stretch the muscles, open the Meridians, and stimulate the Acupressure Points.

Affirmations: Positive statements that validate different aspects of oneself and of life, said aloud or silently. Affirmations reinforce the power of positive thinking and can be used to enhance the benefits of Acupressure.

Arthritis: Joint inflammation that causes pain and often limits the range of motion.

Blockage: Congestion of an area of the body that may cause it to ache, be tense, or feel numb.

Breath Visualization: Using the power of concentration and relaxation to direct long, deep breaths into specific areas of the body for healing.

Centering: Focusing attention to enhance awareness of your body or your breathing in the present moment.

Cervical Vertebrae: The seven spinal bones in the neck. See Spinal Column, Lumbar Vertebrae, Thoracic Vertebrae and Sacrum

Chakra: An series of energy centers, associated with the major nerve plexuses of the body.

Chi: The Chinese term for the vital Life Force that circulates through pathways called Meridians. Pronounced “chee.” See Ki and Qi

Chronic Tension: A condition where a muscle is contracted over a period of time.

Coccyx: The last vertebra bone, located at the base of the spine, at the bottom of the Sacrum. See Spinal Column

Distal Point: An Acupressure Point located at a distance from the area it benefits. Same as Trigger Point. See Local Point

Holistic: The perspective that a person’s body, emotions, mind, and spirit are interconnected and affect each other. Also the idea that all aspects of life are unified and connected.

Homeostasis: The state of equilibrium or balance within the body.

Impotence: Lacking in physical strength or the inability to engage in sexual intercourse.

Intuition: The inner guidance of meaningful thoughts and impressions. An inner knowingness.

Ki: The Japanese term for the Life Force energy that circulates through pathways called Meridians. Pronounced “key.” See Chi, Qi

Lateral: Toward the side of the body. See Medial

Life Force: The vital life energy contained in all living things, which circulates through the Meridians. See Chi, Ki, Qi

Local Point: An Acupressure Point located in the area it benefits. See Distal Point, Trigger Point

Lumbar Vertebrae: The last five spinal bones, located on the lower back, above the base of the spine (the Sacrum). See Spinal Column, Cervical Vertebrae and Thoracic Vertebrae

Medial: Toward the center of the body. See Lateral

Meditation: Focusing attention to calm the mind and develop a person’s spiritual capabilities.

Meridian: The energy pathways along which energy flows through the body. The Meridians connect the various Acupressure Points and the internal organs. Found both in people and animals.

Meridian Abbreviations: Listed in the sequence in which the meridians flow, followed by the midline meridians, the Conception Vessel and Governing Vessel.

Lu Lung

LI Large Intestine

St Stomach

Sp Spleen

H Heart

SI Small Intestine

B Bladder

K Kidney

P Pericardium

TW Triple Warmer

GB Gall Bladder

Lv Liver

Midline Meridians

CV Conception Vessel

GV Governing Vessel

Metatarsals: The bones between the ankle and the toes, on the top of the foot.

Pressure Point: Places on the body along a Meridian that have high levels of electrical conductivity. Same as Acupressure Point.

Qi: An alternate spelling of Chi, the Chinese term for the vital Life Force that circulates through pathways called Meridians. Pronounced “chee.” See Chi and Ki

Qi Gong: A system of exercises developed in ancient China that is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Qi Gong optimizes energy within the body, mind, and spirit. It includes body movements and postures, deep breathing, and a calm, meditative state of mind.

Referred Pain: Pain that originates in one area of the body, but is felt in another.

Sacrum: The flat triangular bone in the lower back at the base of the spine. See Coccyx and Spinal Column

Sacroiliac joints: The two places in the lower back where the Sacrum joins the pelvic bone.

Shiatsu: A Japanese style of Acupressure using firm finger pressure on points along the Meridians.

Spinal Column: The backbone, composed of a series of bones called vertebrae, which are stacked on top of one another. See Cervical Vertebrae, Thoracic Vertebrae, Lumbar Vertebrae, and Sacrum.  

Thoracic Vertebrae: The twelve spinal vertebrae below the neck in the upper and middle back. See Spinal Column, Cervical Vertebrae, Lumbar Vertebrae and Sacrum

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM): An ancient healing system that sees the body as an integrated whole with a natural self-healing ability. TCM includes Acupuncture, Acupressure, herbal medicine, Qi Gong exercise, Tuina Massage, and dietary therapy. It works with the energy flows that move through the Meridians. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the body’s healing energy is called Qi or Chi.

Trigger Point: An Acupressure Point that triggers a benefit (relieves tension, pain, or pressure) in another part of the body. Same as Distal Point. See Local Point