Healing Energy Work
Acupressure Points are effective at channeling healing energy. This is because the electrical resistance on the surface of the skin is lessened at these places. Therefore, the most potent healing energy work uses Acupressure Points to improve health and well-being.
Ancient Asian health wisdom recognized that a life energy exists everywhere and connects all living things. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), this life energy is called Qi or Chi, and in Japan, it is known as Ki. Yoga practices refer to the life force as prana. All these terms refer to the same energy in our bodies and in nature.
The 12 Meridians of TCM are the body’s energy pathways. Acupressure Therapy moves this life energy through the Meridians to improve flow and balance. Acupressure and Acupuncture charts show where the meridian lines are on the body, and where the Points are located along them.
The Acupressure Points are where the energy gets blocked, and are also what you use to best release pain or tension. As healing energy flows through the meridians, it improves circulation, releases stress, and balances the body. Studying the Meridian pathways and the Points is the key to using Acupressure for transmitting Qi healing energy.
Energy Blockages, whether from stress, trauma, or an injury, are the start of all health problems. Your energy flow affects you in many ways, such as how you feel, your endurance, and even how you think. That is, negative thoughts can create blockages in your energy, and positive ones can increase your life force.
When the body’s energy is blocked, this results in either emotional imbalances, physical symptoms, or both. Since these energy blockages occur at the Acupressure Points, all Acupressure methods help the body’s life energy to flow and become balanced again. A variety of methods, such as light touch, tapping, or simply holding the points, can be effective.
Acupressure Therapy can also be integrated with many other complementary health care methods, adding to their impact. Examples include therapeutic touch, somatic work, guided imagery, Asian bodywork therapy, energy psychology, and massage therapy.
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How to Find Acupressure Points
You can find the Points by where they are in relation to various parts of your body, often bones or muscles. For example, on your cheekbone under the middle of your eye, or on the top of the shoulder muscle, one inch out from the base of the neck.
As you explore the Articles and Resources, simply follow the directions for self-healing and for helping others using Acupressure Points. Study the illustrations, photos, and videos that show the locations of the Points, and you’ll easily be able to find them.
How to Apply Acupressure
Use steady finger pressure directly on the Point. Maintaining the pressure for approximately two to three minutes is good.
Each Point will feel a bit different when you press it. Some Points are tense or rigid, while others are often tender and sore. How much pressure to apply to any Point depends on how fit you are and also on where the Point is located. The more developed the muscles are, the more pressure you should apply.
A basic guideline to follow is that the pressure should be firm enough so that it “hurts good.” In other words, something between pleasant, firm pressure and outright pain.
If you feel extreme or increasing sensitivity or pain, gradually decrease the pressure until you find a balance between pain and pleasure. Do not continue to press a Point that is very painful. Usually, however, if you firmly hold the point long enough (up to 2 minutes, using the middle finger with your index and ring fingers on either side as support), the pain will diminish.
Sometimes when you hold a Point, you’ll feel pain in another area of your body This phenomenon is called “referred pain,” and it shows that those areas are related. You should press Points in these related areas as well to release blockages.
How to Get Started with Acupressure
Choose a comfortable, private environment that allows for deep relaxation in order to get the most benefit. You can also be flexible and use whatever situation you can manage, even if it’s less than ideal. You can even do Acupressure at work if you can take a ten-minute break.
Use whatever position you find most comfortable — either sitting or lying down. As you press Points in different areas, feel free to reposition your body so that your muscles can relax completely.
It’s best to wear comfortable clothing. Tight collars, belts, pants, or shoes can interfere with circulation. Natural fibers that breathe, such as cotton or wool blends, are good choices. Also, it makes sense to keep your fingernails trimmed fairly short, as that will prevent any discomfort or injury to the skin.
Usually, you’ll be doing Acupressure between meals. Avoid practicing Acupressure right before a big meal or on a full stomach. I recommend that you wait until at least an hour after eating a light meal, and even longer after a heavy meal. Completing an entire Acupressure Routine when your stomach is full can inhibit the flow of blood and may cause nausea. However, simply pressing one or two points to relieve indigestion or hiccups is perfectly safe.
Avoid iced beverages, especially during the winter months. This is because extreme cold can weaken your system, which would counteract the benefits of Acupressure. A cup of hot herbal tea would work well after an Acupressure session.
Since the middle finger is the longest and strongest, it is best suited for applying Self-Acupressure. The thumb is strong, but can lack sensitivity. If your hand turns out to be weak, or if it is hurts when you apply finger pressure, you have options. You can use the knuckles or your fist or other tools, such as an avocado pit, a golf ball, or a pencil eraser.
Although you may be tempted to massage or rub the entire area, it is best just to hold the Point steadily with direct finger pressure. The basic technique is to apply slow, firm pressure on the Point perpendicular to the surface of the skin.
If the skin is being pulled, then the angle of pressure is isn’t right. Simply reposition your hand to correct it. Focus your attention and direct the pressure into the center of the part of the body you are working on.
It’s important to apply and release finger pressure gradually, because this allows the body tissues time to respond, which promotes healing. The more you concentrate as you move your fingers slowly into and out of the point, the more effective the treatment will be.
After repeated Acupressure sessions using different degrees of pressure, you will begin to feel a pulse at the Point. This pulsation is a good sign — it means that circulation has increased. Pay attention to the type of pulse you feel. If it’s very faint or throbbing, hold the Point longer until the pulse balances.
If your hand gets tired, slowly withdraw pressure from the Point, gently shake out your hand, and take a few deep breaths. When you’re ready, go back to the Point and gradually apply pressure until you reach the depth where it “hurts good.” Again, press directly on a painful site (which often moves, so follow and stay with it) until you feel a clear, regular pulse or until the pain diminishes. Then slowly decrease the finger pressure, ending with about twenty seconds of light touch.
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How to Properly Do Acupressure
When you have located the Point and your fingers are comfortably positioned right on the spot, gradually lean your weight toward the Point to apply the pressure. If you’re pressing a Point on your foot, for instance, bend your leg and apply pressure by slowly leaning forward. Using the weight of your upper body (and not just your hands) enables you to apply firm pressure without strain.
Direct the pressure perpendicular to the surface of the skin as you take several long, slow, deep breaths. Hold for a few minutes until you feel a regular pulse or until the soreness at the point decreases. Then gradually release the pressure, finishing with a soothing touch.
Each body — and each area of the body — requires a different amount of pressure. If it hurts a great deal when you apply pressure on a Point, then use light touch instead of pressure. For example, the calves and the face are sensitive. The back, buttocks, and shoulders, especially if the musculature is developed, usually need deeper, firmer pressure.
Because certain areas of the body, such as the upper and middle back, are hard to reach, you can try using Acu-Yoga postures. These involve using yoga positions to apply the proper amount of pressure to the Points.
How Often Should You Do Acupressure?
To get the best results, you should practice Acupressure daily. This is true whether you are using Acupressure to maintain your overall health or to help relieve a common ailment. If it’s for an ailment, continue using the same Points and Routines even after you’ve obtained relief. This can prevent recurrence of the problem.
See what you can manage. If you cannot practice every day, doing Acupressure two or three times a week can still be effective and give you the benefits of self-care.
Limit your Self-Acupressure sessions to an hour at the most. When you begin practicing Acupressure, you may find that what works for you is holding a Point for one to three minutes. You may find that gradually — such as over two or three months — you can extend that and hold Points longer. But do not hold any one Point longer than 10 minutes. And do not focus on any one area of the body, such as the abdomen or lower back, for longer than 15 minutes.
Acupressure can have a strong effect. If you work too long, too much energy may be released. The result is that complications can happen, such as nausea or headaches. Instead, don’t overdo it, and you’ll be able to work in a balanced way.
Acupressure can give you the benefits of decreased tension and stress and increased energy and vitality.
The Holistic Health Perspective
When you’re dealing with all aspects of a person at the same time — body, emotions, mind, and spirit — that is Holistic Health. This approach reflects the truth that we are not a set of separate parts, we are an interconnected whole. As we begin to learn about this and experience it, we have a greater understanding about ourselves. We also gain new ways to help ourselves heal and thrive.
Acupressure is an important traditional form of preventive health care. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is said that disease is initially caused by tension or stress, in other words, by dis-ease. Before the symptoms of any particular ailment manifest, there will be tension and toxicity in some areas of the body.
It is to our advantage to work on our physical imbalances when they are mildest, and are at the least developed stage. This is before the tension and toxins have begun to damage the internal organs. Acupressure Therapy enables us to eliminate these tensions at this early stage, before they have developed into illnesses.
The great sages of the East were masters of preventive health care. They knew that Acupressure, deep breathing, deep relaxation, and healthy eating can create balance and harmony in the body, emotions, mind, and spirit.
Radiant health is achieved when the Chi flows through the Meridians, nourishing all the internal organs and all the systems of the body. This energy flow also balances the emotions and the mind and opens us to spirit. This energy is the source of all life, and its flow is the key to our health and well-being.
By practicing Acupressure, you can take responsibility for your health and improve your condition on all levels. When our energy is circulating properly, we feel alive, healthy, happy, and in peace and harmony with ourselves.