Acupressure is derived from a Latin word acus: ‘needle’ and pressure. It is an alternative medicine technique similar in principle to acupuncture. It is based on the concept of life energy which flows through “meridians” in the body. In treatment, physical pressure is applied to points with the aim of clearing blockages in these meridians. Pressure may be applied by hand, by the elbow, or with various devices. The points are commonly called “acupuncture points,” “pressure points,” “acupoints” or “acupressure points.”
Traditional Chinese medical theory describes special acupoints or acupressure points, that lie along meridians, or channels, in your body. These are the same energy meridians and acupoints as those targeted with acupuncture. It is believed that through these invisible channels flows vital energy or a life force called qi (ch’i). It is also believed that these 12 major meridians connect specific organs or networks of organs, organizing a system of communication throughout your body. The meridians begin at your fingertips, connect to your brain, and then connect to an organ associated with a certain meridian.
According to this theory, when one of these meridians is blocked or out of balance, illness can occur. Acupressure and acupuncture are among the types of TCM that are thought to help restore balance. Acupressure, like acupuncture, is a modality of treatment in TCM. It is part of an overall system of preventive medicine and health maintenance that includes herbal remedies, dietary recommendations, regular therapeutic exercise, and the practice of martial arts as well as bodywork. Like acupuncture, acupressure in TCM is based on a prescientific theory of energy flow within the body. According to some historians, acupressure in China is thought to have been practiced even earlier than acupuncture and may date as far back as 2000 B.C.