About Acupressure

Acupressure is perhaps one of the oldest healing arts which is based on the technique of stimulating various key points on the surface of the body, by applying pressure on these acupoints/trigger points (also called reflex points) with the primary objective of relieving pain or discomfort. It is believed that the human body has immense self curing capability. As and when pressure is given on the reflex points relating to the vital organ(s) of the body, they get stimulated and the pain & discomfort , which is considered to be a sign of energy imbalance , gets corrected and the patient feels relieved. How is all this achieved ? In simple terms, it can be said that when the pressure is given on the selected reflex points, it releases muscular tension and promotes circulation of blood, thereby stimulating body's life force/vital force to aid the healing.

The term Acupressure is a Latin word wherein Acu stands for the word Thumb and the word Pressure is self explanatory. As such, as the name itself suggests, while giving treatment through this technique, pressure has to be given on various selected reflex points, using the thumb or fingers. However, pressure can also be given with the help of certain instruments devised for the purpose. The reflex points pertaining to various organs of the body have been identified primarily in the palms and soles based on research/observations of over 5000 years. These acupoints generally occur in pairs barring those for the Heart and Liver. The reflex points in respect of Heart are found in the left sole and the left palm and the same in respect of Liver are found in the right palm and the sole.

Over a period of time, Acupressure has gained a lot of prominence for the reason that it is free from any side effect since no medication/surgery is required. It is totally non-conventional; non-invasive and non-interventional. Moreover, my experience of over 20 years with various patients shows that this therapy is very effective in helping patients suffering from Cervical/ Lumber spondylosis ; sinusitis; backaches; knee pain; heel pains; Sciatica; Prolapsed Disc; Constipation; Indigestion; Irritable Bowel Syndrome; Insomnia; Depression ; Tennis Elbow; Asthma; Migraine; Neuro Problems etc., to name a few.

Looking into the efficacy of this easy to learn and simple to perform therapy, even orthodox practitioners of the Conventional Medicine have started opening out .. In my association of about three years with various hospitals of repute, where I have been attending critically ill patients on Call in the ICUs, it has been established beyond doubt that in case treatment through acupressure is given along with any other conventional branch of medicine(i.e. co managing patients) , the results are much faster and effective. Unbelievable at times. Another advantage is that almost anyone can be trained in healing using this inexpensive therapy as a home remedy, without fear of any side effect.

In their present form, acupressure and acupuncture are attributed to Chinese origins where intensive research and significant work has been done to make these systems more effective and popular. During the Historic visit of U.S.President, Richard M. Nixon and his wife Pat, to China in 1972, they showed deep interest in acupuncture which became instrumental in bringing greater attention to this pathy in U..S.A. and in some other countries. Today, it is being practiced widely in Sri Lanka, Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia & India etc..

Acupressure or Reflexology or Zone therapy, in fact, got scientific approach during the early years of the twentieth century when an American doctor William H.Fitzgerald, M.D.(1872-1942), a reputed medical physician and surgeon, who was the Head of Nose & Throat Department of the St. Francis Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut, developed the modern zone therapy Dr. Edwin F.Bowers, M.D. and Dr. George Starr White are two other great physicians of this period who also did remarkable work in elaborating this unique theory of healing. Dr. Joe Shelby Riley and his wife Elizabeth Ann Riley were two other stalwarts who tried out this system a large number of their patients and made an unmatched contribution towards its development. Dr. Riley wrote twelve books on zone therapy, the first being copyrighted in 1917 and the last in 1942.

Of late within a span of a decade or so a good number of alternative therapies e.g. Acupuncture without needles (a new name given to acupressure- pressure point therapy), zone therapy, reflexology, shiatsu, massage, magnetotherapy, hydro therapy and so on have emerged. However, it would be better to call them complementary therapy since the term alternative therapy may mis- communicate and give rise to the feeling that conventional medicine and alternative remedies are at odds with each other. Whereas the idea is to complement each other for the benefit of the patients, than to provide an alternative. The word complementary also has the right connotations which suggests that there is a sense of acceptance which suggests that conventional medicine and complementary therapy treatments have a common goal to achieve and both of them must be allowed to play their respective roles amicably and supportively. For there should be only one goal for the patient and the doctor. That is to get rid of the disease, as quickly as possible.

Perhaps this is the right time for the practitioners of medicine and complementary therapies to work together for the benefit of their patients. This point of view is gaining momentum with an increasing number of doctors, qualifying in complementary therapies. Few doctors of conventional medicine would disagree with an emphasis on the positive aspect of holistic healing systems that place equal emphasis on body, mind and soul; eating for health & vitality; growing awareness amongst masses about exercise, self-help measures to enhance and improve the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health and well being. Two undisputed advantages of complementary therapies are that the practitioner has more time to devote to you and your problems than most doctors of medicine have. Moreover , complementary therapies are much in demand these days, perhaps the reason behind is the growing consciousness amongst the masses about the side effect of the medicine, the cost factor- for some of the medicines are beyond the reach of the common man. Yet another cause of complementary therapies being in demand is that emphasis is placed on health rather than on illness, on prevention as well as on cure. Yet another cause of attraction being the emphasis on self healing life forces, which can be balanced and remarshaled with minimal effort. Moreover it is simple to learn and easy to practice without the fear of any side effect, since no medication is required. It is totally non-invasive. No major gadgets are required thereby reducing the cost to almost zero. Another major advantage is that this therapy concentrates on prevention rather than the cure. The simple theory "Prevention is better than cure" is the motive. Yet another advantage is that this therapy is partially diagnostic too. A good and experienced acupressure therapist will seldom refer you for an x-ray

In case a person practices the daily work out programme , just by pressing 12 points over your body, you can stay fit and keep your self away from the disease and the medicine. Since by pressing these points, you stimulate your immune system and other important systems in your body that helps you to keep fit in a great natural way.

The Chinese recognized a vital energy, a Life Force that animates every living being. The ancient healers perceived that life energy permeates all the elements of the material world. In China this Life Energy is called Ch'i, Ki in Japan and Prana in Indian Yoga. All these words are the names for the same thing and are known as life energy or life force in the West. The ancient physicians perceived that this life energy circulates in the body along specific channels called meridians. Along each of these channels are numerous points. These are the points ( also known as acupoints or trigger points) at which the flow of life force can be most effectively influenced.

At any given point of time, the flow of energy through the meridians of the body determines our health. When the flow is smooth, balanced and unobstructed, we are in good health. Pain and disease can occur when there is disturbance in the flow of vital force By learning to apply gentle pressure with your thumb or finger tips on the key pressure points, these imbalances can be corrected to restore health and to overcome pain. Acupressure therapy is based on the principle of keeping the Ch'i or Prana flowing in a balanced and harmonious way. Lack of exercise or faulty diet can also disrupt our system. Stomach disorders, colds, allergies fatigue etc are a few ailments which caution us that there is something wrong with the flow of vital energy i.e. it is disturbed or blocked. If these minor imbalances are not corrected timely more serious health problems may occur.

There is substantial evidence now to show that acupressure is capable of regulating the nervous system and the circulatory system. Increasing circulation helps in flushing out the toxins from the body and brings nutrients and oxygen to all our cells. It also triggers the brain to release endorphins, a chemical known to reduce pain and bring feeling of well being

The ancient healers felt that till there is coordination and cooperation among various organs in the body, we remain in good health. When this natural equilibrium is disturbed in the body for one reason or the other, one or more ailment takes place depending upon the proportion and nature of imbalance or disturbance. Acupressure has been found to be the best method to restore normal functioning of the body in a natural way. Acupressure cleanses the body of toxins and impurities which accumulate at the nerve endings leading to many ailments. These toxins obstruct the normal flow of energy to various organs which in turns disturbs the balance of the whole body. It is through acupressure that various crystals like calcium, urea deposits accumulated at the nerve endings in the palms and soles gets crushed slowly when pressure is given at the reflex centers of various organs and are thrown out of the body through various outlets.

To summarize, it is an established fact that human body possesses immense natural strength to cure itself of any disease. All that is required is to tap this natural force to rejuvenate its energy. Acupressure has emerged as one of those few natural systems which is capable of reviving and revitalizing the hidden strength within the body to cure all sort of ailments. Many theories exists about its working as to how such remarkable results are achieved in overcoming even certain terminal diseases in conjunction with conventional medicine