What is Acupressure?
Acupressure is a simple, yet effective natural healing technique in Chinese medicine that can be applied to yourself or another. To activate acupressure points, one must apply pressure, essential oils, magnets, gems, or heat to specific points along channels of the body; these are sometimes called acu-points that are based on acupuncture point locations. Each point has a specific function as detailed on the right side of this page.
How Does Acupressure Work?
Chinese medicine is a functional medicine based on thousands of years of practical application and observation. Otzi, the mummified remains of a man who lived some 5,000 years ago, had tattoo marks at the locations of specific acu-points for related conditions he was suffering with (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%96tzi). However, to date no-one has specifically nailed down the mechanics, or actions, that occur to promote healing and pain reduction in the body when these points are stimulated.
The points appear to be nodes, or intersections of neural and vascular pathways; however, this does not explain how the points heal internally, or at the organ level. The points are located along what are referred to as channels where it is thought that Qi, or Nourishing Qi, flows. These channels have collateral branches that connect with the organs according to Chinese medical theory which details a complex interrelated functional system of medicine. While modern science cannot fully explain the actions of these acu-points, recent studies confirm that this ancient system of healing does indeed work and is now being integrated into hospitals, conventional medical clinics, and drug recovery centers (https://www.medicalacupuncture.org/For-Patients/Acupuncture-in-the-News).
Some interesting modern theories include one by an MD-turned acupuncturist Daniel Keown (Spark in the Machine author) who recognized that the acupuncture channels followed the folds developed during embryonic development of the human fetus. He explain that structure in the body is covered with a taut material called fascia. This material is excellent at conducting vibrational energy and was once used to make violin strings. Between the fascia is interstitial fluid, and fluid is an excellent electrical conductor. He hypothesized that stimulating acu-points produces piezoelectricity that flows through the functional acupuncture channels to the to the organs themselves. Others theorize that Qi that is said to flow through the channels is like vibrational energy as explained with String Theory; they feel that the advancement of quantum theory will be able to explain Qi substances further. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/String_theory)
Why Use Acupressure Sticks with Essential Oils to Activate Acupressure Points?
It is More Effective!
Essential Oils + Acupressure = Synergistic-Multiplied Results
1 + 1 = 3x the Effectiveness
/ˌsinərˈjistik/ adjective - relating to the interaction or cooperation of two or more substances to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects
- Essential oils make acupressure treatments more constructive and enhance the effects of acupressure.
- Most people do not have time to physically perform acupressure 3 times per day, but can apply the Acu-sticks easily 3 times per day to activate the acupressure point healing potential.
- Using essential oils in combination with acupressure points has a synergistic or multiplying effect making it more potent than using either natural therapy exclusively.
- Essential oils act as a catalyst stimulating the Qi, or life fource when applied to acupressure points
- Essential oils direct the Qi to the associated organs and channels making for a specifically targeted acupressure treatment.
- Like herbs, essential oils have an affinity for specific energetic organ systems and channels and they transmit the intent of the acupressure treatment.
- Essential oils are condensed, potent, botanical medicine.
- Essential oils are sometimes referred to as the "soul" of the plant and can have inter-related emotional, spirit, and physical health benefits galvanizing the mind's intent, higher purpose, and earthly body.
- Essential oils combined with acupressure points result in enhanced treatments with focus on specific health corrections.
Directions for Applying Acupressure
A basic understanding of Chinese medicine will help you choose the correct acupressure points to stimulate and we have explained Chinese medical theory in layman's terms for you linked here. Additionally, we have detailed the uses of the most popular individual acupressure points with information videos linked on this page. Additionally, understanding the basic patterns of imbalance according to traditional Chinese medicine for individual ailments will help-find linked here. Here are some common questions about how to perform acupressure:
How are Acupressure Points Activated?
Acupressure points can be energetically activated in many ways including needles, by applying our acupressure sticks with essential oils that correspond to the acu-point, by using pressure from the thumb or fingers, and/or by placing therapeutic gems on the acu-points. These therapies can be used alone or together during a treatment session producing a synergistic effect and improved outcomes.
How Often Do I Need to Do Acupressure? How Long Do I Apply Pressure to the Points?
Apply acupressure sticks 3-5 times daily and/or stimulate each point for 1-3 minutes 3-5 times per day, or tape gems to acupressure points for 20 minutes and relax.
How Do I Choose the Correct Acupressure Points?
Click on the links on the right side to find h specific indications for each point and find acupressure point combination for specific ailments here.
- Acupressure points are typically stimulated bilaterally unless they are located at the center of the body.
- If you are treating pain you can treat points on the channel where the pain is located both above and below the pain. You can also choose points on the opposite limb of pain to apply acupressure to that are located at the same level of the pain. Deep pressure is not typically applied to the site of an injury until the swelling is gone and the skin is healed.
- Some pain is caused by organ level deficiencies rather than injury and you will choose acupressure points that will tonify and harmonize those organ systems: joints are related to the Liver, so you would choose Liver 3 for arthritis; chronic lower back pain and knee pain are related to the Kidney energetic system so you would choose Kidney 3; and so on.
Can I Multitask While Applying Acupressure?
Intention is very important when performing acupressure. Perform acupressure where there are as few distractions as possible. Applying acupressure with a clear intent of the outcome will be much more potent than simply applying pressure to a point as you watch TV or talk on the phone. Like herbs, different essential oils correspond to specific acupuncture channels, Elements, and organ systems; therefore, the our Acu-sticks carry specific intent into your acupressure treatment.
How Hard Should I Press the Acupressure Points?
Pressure should be firm, but should not be painful or highly uncomfortable. Points on legs and arms are treated on both limbs.
How Long Will I Have to Use Acupressure for it to Work?
Like any natural therapy, acupressure works relatively quickly on acute conditions, but will take regular long-term practice to alleviate chronic conditions. With chronic conditions expect months of self-care therapy including organic tonic herbs in conjunction with the acupressure for good outcomes.
Techniques Used to Stimulate Pressure Points
Tonification-Re-enforcing Method for Acupressure Points
To tonify, or enhance the Qi energy of an acupuncture point, or to re-enforce the action potential of the organs or flow of Qi along the Channels,one would use a clockwise circular motion applying pressure to the pressure point. This would be appropriate for tonifying deficiencies such as Spleen Qi Deficiency, Kidney Yin Deficiency, or Kidney Yang Deficiency.
Dispersing-Reducing Method for Acupressure Points
To decrease Heat, disperse accumulations, or disperse Qi Stagnation of an organ system or acupressure channel, one would use steady firm pressure in a counter-clockwise motion on the pressure point. This method would be appropriate for dispersing Qi stagnation or Heat (inflammation) along the channel in cases of pain. It can also be used to disperse Heat such as Liver Heat rising to cause headaches. It could also be used to disperse Internal Dampness or Internal Wind.
If your not sure whether tonification or reduction is indicated, simply apply even firm pressure to the point without circulation. Acupressure stick application will normalize the channel Qi flow and organ-level imbalances so no need to worry about these methods when only the acupressure sticks are being used.
Each acupressure treatment will build on the last treatment and will begin to have a cumulative effects.
Acupressure is more effective when used regularly for an ongoing period of time for chronic conditions.
For chronic conditions apply acupressure several times per day for 1-3 minutes on each point. For acute injuries or other conditions (example: a hangover) apply acupressure 5-6 times in a day for 1-3 minutes on each point.
Locating Acupressure Points-What is a Cun?
- When trying to locate acu-points, know that these acu-points will often be more tender than the surrounding area, especially in fleshy areas. Even acupuncturists palpate an area for a tender spot for more accurate point location during acupuncture treatments.
- As you become more proficient at locating the points, you will notice that your finger actually sticks to the point when you run your finger along the channel. You will also notice that the acupressure points are located where there is a slight indentation in most cases.
- Acu-points are rarely located on bony protrusions.
- In Chinese medicine, the body is measured by Cun (pronounced soon) which is a unit that equals the width of the patients thumb. The four fingers of the hand laid flat equal three 3 Cun. This was an ingenious measurement system as a larger persons leg is longer than a smaller persons, but their thumbs will always correspond to the size of their body.
- Acupressure points are often more tender than the surrounding area. Acupuncturists will often palpate for the most tender points when treating patients. Acupuncturists also use tender points to diagnose conditions as the tenderness indicates an imbalance of some sort.
Channels, formerly referred to as meridians, are energetic pathways upon which the acupressure points are located. These channels link to the organs through deeper collateral vessels allowing for healing to occur deep within the body by stimulating the acu-points. Each energetic organ system is assigned to one of the 5 Elements of Chinese medicine and are energetically related. Often, pain that may initially seem to be unrelated may lie on multiple areas of one channel; i.e. a patient with pain of the hip may also notice chronic dull headaches, and/or pain running down the side of the leg to the foot which would correspond with the Gallbladder channel (see Wood Element photo below).
HT - Heart Channel
SI - Small Intestine Channel
TB or SJ - Triple Burner Channel or San Jiao
Per or HP - Pericardium Channel or Heart Protector
The Water Element of traditional Chinese medicine has two associated energetic organ systems and channels:
KI - Kidney Channel
BL - Bladder Channel
The Wood Element of traditional Chinese medicine is associated with two energetic organ systems and the associated channels:
LV - Liver Channel
GB - Gallbladder Channel
LU - Lung Channel
LI - Large Intestine Channel
SP - Spleen Channel
ST - Stomach Channel
The Ren Channel is not part of the Five Elements or energetic organ system, but has many acupuncture points used for infertility and is often called the Conception Vessel. The channel runs directly up the center of the front of the body to the lips of the face.
About Gemstone Therapy for Acupressure Points
Every advanced ancient culture understood and utilized the healing properties of gems, crystals, and minerals. Chinese medicine includes written recordings of therapies utilizing gems and minerals going back two thousand years. Of late, modern Western cultures have lost touch with many subtle healing modalities preferring strong interventions such as surgery and pharmaceutical medications over energetic medicine; however, many energetic healing methods are coming back in to vogue. Even touch-healing by holistic nurses is being used in hospitals today following multiple scientific studies proving its' benefit.
Energy healing therapies rely on the unique energetic imprint that each substance in the world contains. Every material is made of matter that has its own energetic resonation that can affect the human body and mind; gemstones emit a strong energetic signature; this is a powerful healing modality!
It is easy to use gemstones with acupressure; simply place gemstone on related acupressure point and leave for 20 minutes daily. Some of the immediate calming effects may be noticed during the treatment, but long-term healing of pain syndromes and chronic disease may take many months of therapy before the ultimate healing goal is reached.