Acupressure: what it is, benefits and how it is done

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Acupressure is a complementary therapeutic technique that consists of applying pressure to specific points on the body, called meridians, which are the same points at which acupuncture is performed, and is indicated to assist in the treatment of various health conditions such as headache, colic menstrual period, nausea or even alleviate the pain of labor.

This technique, like acupuncture, has its origins in traditional Chinese medicine, helping to reestablish the body's energy balance and the functioning of organs, through the application of pressure at specific points on the body, which represent the meeting point of nerves, veins, arteries and of vital channels, which means that they are energetically connected with the entire organism. See how acupuncture is done.

Acupressure is considered a form of alternative or complementary treatment, as more scientific studies are still needed on its effectiveness. Furthermore, it is important to emphasize that acupressure does not replace conventional medical treatment and must be done with medical guidance.

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Benefits of acupressure

Acupressure has many health benefits and can be used to help treat:

  • Anxiety or stress;
  • Insomnia or fatigue;
  • Headache;
  • PMS, menstrual cramps or primary dysmenorrhea;
  • Muscle pain or back pain;
  • Nausea and vomiting after chemotherapy or surgery;
  • Morning sickness during pregnancy or motion sickness;
  • Indigestion;
  • Coughing, sneezing or allergies.

Additionally, acupressure can help reduce the intensity of labor pain as well as the length of labor. However, it does not lead to a ripening of the cervix or induce labor.

Although it has several benefits, acupressure should not replace medical treatment, and can be used to complement conventional treatment recommended by the doctor.

How it is made

Acupressure is done by applying pressure with your fingers to specific points on the body, such as hands, wrists, arms, feet or legs, for example, in order to reestablish the flow of energy. See where the acupuncture points are.

These points, called meridians, must be pressed in specific regions according to the condition you want to improve, and this can be done by a doctor or professional specializing in acupressure, or even by the person themselves, as long as they have guidance on how to do it correctly. in this case it is called Do-In.

Some ways to use acupressure to help treat health conditions are:

1. Relieve stress and headache

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This acupressure point is located between the right thumb and index finger. Starting with the right hand, to press this point your hand must be relaxed, with your fingers slightly curved and the point must be pressed with your left thumb and left index finger, so that these two fingers form a pinch. The remaining fingers of the left hand must rest, just below the right hand.

To press the acupressure point, you must start by applying firm pressure for 1 minute, until you feel a slight pain or burning sensation in the area being pressed, which means you are pressing in the right place. After that, you must release your fingers for 10 seconds, then repeat the pressure. This process must be repeated 2 to 3 times on both hands.

2. Combat menstrual cramps

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This acupressure point is located in the center of the palm. To press this point, you must use the thumb and index finger of the opposite hand, placing your fingers in the form of a pincer. This way, the point can be pressed simultaneously on the back and palm of the hand.

To press the acupressure point, you must start by applying firm pressure for 1 minute, until you feel a slight pain or burning sensation in the area being pressed, which means you are pressing in the right place. After that, you must release your fingers for 10 seconds, then repeat the pressure. This process must be repeated 2 to 3 times on both hands.

3. Improve digestion and combat nausea

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This acupressure point is located on the sole of the foot, just below the space between the big toe and the second toe, where the bones of these two toes cross. To press this point, you must use the hand on the opposite side, pressing the sole of the foot with the thumb and the opposite side with the index finger, so that the fingers of the hand form a clamp that surrounds the foot.

To press this acupressure point, you must press hard for approximately 1 minute, releasing your foot at the end for a few seconds to rest. You must repeat this process 2 to 3 times, on both feet.

4. Relieve coughing, sneezing or allergies

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This acupressure point is located on the inside of the arm, in the crook of the arm. To press it, you must use the thumb and index finger of the opposite hand, so that the fingers are arranged in a pincer shape around the arm.

To press this acupressure point, you must press hard until you feel a slight pain or sting, maintaining the pressure for approximately 1 minute. After this time, you must release the stitch for a few seconds to rest. You must repeat this process 2 to 3 times, on both arms.

5. Reduce stress

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To reduce stress and anxiety, relieve muscle pain or relieve insomnia, acupressure can also be done using an acupressure mat, to promote relaxation, improve local blood circulation and reduce muscle tension.

This mat applies small pressure to specific points on the back, which helps to stimulate the flow of energy, and can be used by lying on the mat for around 20 minutes.

Who shouldn't do

Acupressure should not be done in the following situations:

  • Use of a pacemaker;
  • Heart diseases;
  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure;
  • Diabetes;
  • Coagulation problems;
  • Hemophilia;
  • Use of anticoagulants;
  • Convulsive disturbances;
  • Drug or alcohol intoxication;
  • Skin infections.

Acupressure should also not be performed on areas of the skin that have open wounds, warts, varicose veins, burns, cuts or cracks, bone fractures, osteoporosis or cancer.

Furthermore, acupressure should also not be done by pregnant women without medical supervision or a trained professional, as it can induce uterine contractions.