Acupressure

Acupressure

This massage technique applies pressure to specific points on the body related to acupuncture points. In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), stimulating certain points by pressure encourages the flow of vital energy (Qi) along the meridian pathways. Acupressure can be integrated into almost any type of natural medicine practice and can be used for a comprehensive list of conditions.
acupressureApplies the same theory, principles and practice as acupuncture, by using finger pressure instead of needles.  Acupressure is a powerful and effective healing technique when applied by a therapist who has studied Chinese Medicine. However, because it is a non-invasive therapy, it may be applied by anyone, and is especially suited to use by an animal’s own guardian for relieving anxiety or tension.  It is also a valuable follow-up to acupuncture treatment.
Benefits/Contraindications

See a qualified specialist in IAATH directory.

Training/Certification

Since acupressure does not require the use of needles like acupuncture, it is generally classified as massage, and training may be offered through massage schools or independent seminars. Please see the IAATH practitioner list for professional acupressure specialists.

Definition (Wikipedia Encyclopedia)

Acupressure – (from “acupuncture” and “pressure”) is a traditional Chinese medicine based on the same ideas as acupuncture. Acupressure involves placing physical pressure by hand, elbow, or with the aid of various devices on different acupuncture points on the surface of the body. Traditional Chinese Medicine does not usually operate within a scientific paradigm but some practitioners are now bringing this practice into an evidence-based medicine framework.

Traditional Chinese medicine’s acupuncture theory predates use of the scientific method and has received various criticisms based on scientific thinking. There is no known anatomical or histological basis for the existence of acupuncture points or meridian (Chinese medicine) meridians.

http://www.chinesemedicinetimes.com/section.php?xSec=122 Vol 1 Issue 4 – Aug 2006, “The Final Days of Traditional Beliefs? – Part One”

Acupuncturists tend to perceive TCM concepts in functional rather than structural terms, i.e. as being useful in guiding evaluation and care of patients. Kaptchuk, 1983, pp. 34-35

“Despite considerable efforts to understand the anatomy and physiology of the “acupuncture points”, the definition and characterization of these points remains controversial. Even more elusive is the basis of some of the key traditional Eastern medical concepts such as the circulation of Qi, the meridian system, and the five phases theory, which are difficult to reconcile with contemporary biomedical information but continue to play an important role in the evaluation of patients and the formulation of treatment in acupuncture.”

Acupuncture. National Institutes of Health: Consensus Development Conference Statement, November 3-5, 1997. Available online at [http://consensus.nih.gov/1997/1997Acupuncture107html.htm ]. Retrieved 30 January 2007

Neuro-imaging research suggests that certain acupuncture points have distinct effects that are not otherwise predictable anatomically. <ref>{{cite journal | last = Pariente J | first = Lewith GT | co-authors = White PJ | year = 2005 | month = Sep | title = Investigating acupuncture using brain imaging techniques: the current state of play. | journal = Evid Based Complement Alternat Med – Oxford University Press | volume = 2 | issue = 3 | url =http://ecam.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/2/3/315 | access date = 2007-03-06
| pmid = 16136210 </ref>

Background
Acupoints used in treatment may or may not be in the same area of the body as the targeted symptom. The TCM theory for the selection of such points and their effectiveness is that they work by stimulating the Meridian (Chinese medicine) meridian system to bring about relief by rebalancing Yin and yang, and qi (also spelled “chi”). This theory is based on the paradigm of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Many East Asian martial arts also make extensive study and use of acupressure for self-defense and health purposes chin na, tui na. The points or combinations of points are said to be used to manipulate or incapacitate an opponent. Also, martial artists regularly massage their own acupressure points in routines to remove blockages from their own meridians, claiming to thereby enhance their circulation and flexibility and keeping the points “soft” or less vulnerable to an attack. Attacking the acupressure points is one theme in the wuxia genre of movies and novels.

Acupressure might work via release of endogenous opioid analgesics such as enkephalin, endorphin and dynorphins leading to alleviation of pain.
Scientific research

A randomised trial of Tapas Acupressure Technique for weight-loss maintenance found attendance at weight maintenance was 72% for TAT [[Tapas Acupressure Technique]]- higher than any other method studied and warranting further study. This study was supported by a grant (R21 AT01190-02) from the National Center for Complementary/Alternative Medicine, National Institutes of Health, USA. The abstract for this study can be accessed via:
[http://journals.medicinescomplete.com/journals/fact/current/fact1005a13a60.htm]

An acupressure wristband that is claimed to relieve the symptoms of [[motion sickness]] and other forms of [[nausea]] is available. The band is designed to provide pressure to the P6 acupuncture point, a point that has been extensively investigated. The Cochrane Collaboration, a group of evidence-based medicine (EBM) reviewers, reviewed the use of P6 for nausea and vomiting, and found it to be effective for reducing post-operative nausea, but not vomiting. [http://www.cochrane.org/reviews/en/ab003281.html]. The Cochrane review included various means of stimulating P6, including acupuncture, electro-acupuncture, transcutaneous nerve stimulation, laser stimulation, acustimulation device and acupressure; it did not comment on whether one or more forms of stimulation were more effective. EBM reviewer Bandolier Journal said that ”P6 acupressure in two studies showed 52% of patients with control having a success, compared with 75% with P6 acupressure”[http://www.jr2.ox.ac.uk/bandolier/band59/b59-4.html]. One author of an article published in the Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine disagreed [http://www.sram.org/0802/acupuncture.html].

A Cochrane|Cochrane Collaboration review found that massage provided some long-term benefit for low back pain, and said: ”It seems that acupressure or pressure point massage techniques provide more relief than classic (Swedish) massage, although more research is needed to confirm this.”[http://www.cochrane.org/reviews/en/ab001929.html]

Criticism of TCM
Clinical use of acupressure frequently relies on the conceptual framework of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which some scholars have characterized as pseudoscience|pseudoscientific. There is no physically verifiable anatomical or histological basis for the existence of acupuncture points or meridian (Chinese medicine)meridians.

“The Final Days of Traditional Beliefs? – Part One” </ref> Proponents reply that TCM is a prescientific system that continues to have practical relevance. Acupuncturists perceive TCM concepts in functional rather than structural terms, i.e. as being useful in guiding evaluation and care of patients.

<ref name=”NIH_funct”>NIH Consensus statement: “Despite considerable efforts to understand the anatomy and physiology of the “acupuncture points”, the definition and characterization of these points remains controversial. Even more elusive is the basis of some of the key traditional Eastern medical concepts such as the circulation of Qi, the meridian system, and the five phases theory, which are difficult to reconcile with contemporary biomedical information but continue to play an important role in the evaluation of patients and the formulation of treatment in acupuncture.” Acupuncture. National Institutes of Health: Consensus Development Conference Statement, November 3-5, 1997. Available online at [http://consensus.nih.gov/1997/1997Acupuncture107html.htm ]. Retrieved 30 January 2007.</ref>

”See Acupuncture#Criticism of TCM theory|Acupuncture: Criticism of TCM theory”

See also
* [[Acupoint therapy]]
* [[Fire cupping]]
* [[Jing (TCM)|ching]]
* [[Luo Points]]
* [[Manipulative therapy]]
* [[Massage]]
* [[Moxibustion]]
* [[Pushing hands]]
* [[Qigong]]
* [[Reflexology]]
* [[Shiatsu]]

External Links

Simple Acupressure Techniques

http://www.acupuncture-and-chinese-medicine.com/acupressure-techniques.html

Research – Acupressure Eases Low Back Pain
http://www.acupuncture.com.au/research/article23.html

Acupressure – a brief history

http://www.alternative-medicine-online.com/Therapies_Acupressure.html

American Organization for Bodywork Therapies of Asia
http://www.aobta.org ]

[[Category:Acupuncture]]
[[Category:Alternative medicine]]
[[Category:Manipulative therapy]]
[[Category:Traditional Chinese medicine]]
[[Category:Massage]]
[[Category:Pseudoscience]]