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Acupressure

Acupressure (from the Latin acus "needle" + pressure) is an alternative medicine technique similar in principle to Acupuncture. It is based on the concept of life energy which flows through meridian energy channels in the body. In a treatment physical pressure is applied to acupuncture points with the aim of clearing blockages in these meridians. Pressure may be applied by hand, by elbow, or with various devices. Acupoints used in treatment may or may not be in the same area of the body as the targeted symptom. The traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) theory for the selection of such points and their effectiveness is that they work by stimulating meridians to bring about relief by rebalancing yin, yang and qi (chi).

There are several different instruments for applying nonspecific pressure by rubbing, rolling, or applying pressure on the reflex zones of the body. The acuball is a small ball made of rubber with protuberances that is heatable. It is used to apply pressure and relieve muscle and joint pain. The energy roller is a small cylinder with protuberances. It is held between the hands and rolled back and forth to apply acupressure. The foot roller (also "krupa chakra") is a round, cylindrical roller with protuberances. It is placed on the floor and the foot is rolled back and forth over it. The power mat (also pyramid mat) is a mat with small pyramid-shaped bumps that you walk on. The spine roller is a bumpy roller containing magnets that is rolled up and down the spine. The Teishein is one of the original nine classical acupuncture needles described in the original texts of acupuncture. Even though it is described as an acupuncture needle it did not pierce the skin. It is used to apply rapid percussion pressure to the points being treated.

Some medical studies have suggested that acupressure may be effective at helping manage nausea and vomiting, for helping lower back pain, tension headaches and stomach aches. A 2011 systematic review of acupressure's effectiveness at treating symptoms reported that 16 out of 23 studies had concluded that acupressure was effective. A 2011 Cochrane review of trials using acupuncture and acupressure to control pain in childbirth concluded that "acupuncture or acupressure may help relieve pain during labour”. A 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.”

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Joe Bonfante
Joe is a qualified nutritionist specialising in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases such as Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.
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