origins of acupressure and acupuncture are as ancient as the instinctive impulse
to hold your forehead or temples when you have a headache. Everyone
at one time or another has used his or her hands spontaneously
to hold tense or painful places on the body.
The Chinese discovered more than 5,000
years ago that pressing certain points
on the body relieved pain where it occurred and also benefited
other parts of the body more remote from the pain and the pressure
point. Gradually, they found other locations that
not only alleviated pain but also influenced the functioning of
certain internal organs.
Chinese dynasties, when stones and arrows were the only implements
of war, many soldiers wounded on the battlefield reported that
symptoms of disease that had plagued them for years had suddenly
vanished. Naturally, such strange occurrences baffled the physicians
who could find no logical relationship between the trauma and
the ensuing recovery of health. After years of meticulous observation,
ancient Chinese physicians developed ways of curing certain illnesses
by striking or piercing specific points on the surface of the
soldiers, people through the ages have found the most effective
ways to help themselves by trial and error. The art and science
of acupressure and acupuncture was practiced by the contributions of people whose
awareness was so highly developed that they could feel where the
bodies of people in pain were constricted and sense which trigger
points would alleviate the problem.
The Chinese have practiced
acupressure and acupuncture for over 5,000 years as a way of keeping themselves
well and happy. You, too, can learn how to complement the care
you receive from your doctors. You can help your body relieve
itself of common ailments, such as those in this book, by pressing
the proper spots, which I will teach you. In the course of trying
out these points, you may even find others that work better for
Many of the health
problems in our society - from bad backs to arthritis - are the
result of living unnaturally. Stress, tension, lack of exercise,
poor eating habits, and poor posture contribute to the epidemic
of degenerative diseases in our culture. Acupressure and acupuncture are ways
to help your body fight back and balance itself in the face of
the pressures of modern life.
1 Ilza Veith, trans., The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal
Medicine (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1949).
An ancient Chinese medical text.
2 Dr. Stephen Thomas Chang, The Complete Book of Acupuncture (Berkeley: Celestial Arts, 1976), 14.