Professional Practice Procedures and Breathing Guidelines
Side View of anatomical chart Breathing is the most profoundly effective tool known for purifying and revitalizing the body. When your breath is shallow, all your body’s vital systems function at a minimum level. If your breath is long and deep, however, the respiratory system functions properly, and the body cells become fully oxygenated.
Deep breathing helps the acupressure points release any pain or tension and encourages healing energy to flow throughout the body. As you practice self-acupressure and concentrate on breathing deeply into your abdomen, you will help your body heal itself and generate a great feeling of well-being.
Concentrated breathing can especially help you better use a potent point that is painful. Close your eyes, focus your attention on the painful spot, breathe deeply, and imagine that you are breathing healing energy into the affected area as you hold the point gently. Inhale deeply into the abdomen, letting your belly expand. Feel the breath reach into the depths of the belly. Exhale slowly, letting the energy that you drew in now circulate throughout your body. Do not use a massaging movement.
Focus on breathing into the pain for three full minutes. Often, poor circulation is indicated by a point that is sore when pressed. By taking long, deep breaths and pressing gently for three minutes you will close the nervous system’s pain gates and help the area heal. This breathing technique will enhance the healing benefits of all the acupressure routines in this book.
Cautions to Consider
- Apply finger pressure in a slow, rhythmic manner to enable the layers of tissue and the internal organs to respond. Never press any area in an abrupt, forceful, or jarring way.
- Use the abdominal points cautiously, especially if you are ill. Avoid the abdominal area entirely if you have a life-threatening disease, especially intestinal cancer, tuberculosis, serious cardiac conditions, and leukemia. Avoid the abdominal area during pregnancy as well.
- Pregnancy – special care should be taken during pregnancy.
- Lymph areas, such as the groin, the area of the throat just below the ears, and the outer breast near the armpits, are very sensitive These areas should be touched only lightly and not pressed.
- Burns & infections: Do not work directly on a serious burn, an ulcerous condition, or an infection: for these conditions, medical care alone is indicated.
- Scars and injuries: Do not work directly on a recently formed scar. During the first month after an injury or operation, do not apply pressure directly on the affected site. However, gentle continuous holding a few inches away from the periphery of the injury will stimulate the area and help it heal.
- After an acupressure session, your body heat is lowered; thus your resistance to cold is also lower. Because the tensions have been released, your body’s vital energies are concentrating inward to maximize healing. Your body will be more vulnerable, so be sure to wear extra clothing and keep warm when you finish an acupressure routine.
Patients with life-threatening diseases and serious medical problems should always consult their doctor before using acupressure or other alternative therapies. It is important for the novice to use caution in any medical emergency situation, such as a stroke or heart attack, or for any serious medical condition, such as arteriosclerosis or an illness caused by bacteria. Nor is acupressure an appropriate sole treatment for cancer, contagious skin diseases, or sexually transmitted diseases.
In conjunction with proper medical attention, however, gentle acupressure (safely away from the diseased area and the internal organs) can help soothe and relieve a patient’s distress and pain. According to Dr. Serizawa, a Japanese physician, who regularly uses acupressure in his medical research and practice:
The ailments from which [acupressure] can offer relief are numerous and include the following: symptoms of chilling; flushing; pain, and numbness; headaches; heaviness in the head; dizziness; ringing in the ears; stiff shoulders arising from disorders of the autonomic nervous system; constipation; sluggishness; chills of the hands and feet; insomnia; malformations of the backbone frequent in middle age and producing pain in the shoulders, arms, and hands; pains in the back; pains in the knees experienced during standing or going up or down stairs.1
The following chapters provide you with ways to help yourself cope with these and other discomforts. But before you look up the specific ailments you want to know about, take a few minutes to answer the questions on the following form.
An Acupressure Diary
Acupressure’s effects can be subtle and while you may often experience immediate relief from stress and pain, sometimes it may take you a few weeks to notice a big change in your overall condition. In the meantime, you can use the form to the right to record your week-by-week progress. Note your body’s responses to specific points and self-help techniques. Your account of which points you use, the techniques that help you most, and the time it took to achieve results can be a valuable record for learning about your body and becoming more aware of its needs.
Keep track of the results of your self-acupressure practice to pay close attention to your progress and well-being.
1 Katsuske Serizawa, M.D., Tsubo: Vital Points for Oriental Therapy (Tokyo: Japan Publications, 1976), 38.