an ancient healing art that uses the fingers to press key points
on the surface of the skin to stimulate the body's natural self-curative
abilities. When these points are pressed, they release muscular
tension and promote the circulation of blood and the body's life
force to aid healing. Acupuncture and acupressure use the same
points, but acupuncture employs needles, while acupressure uses
the gentle but firm pressure of hands (and even feet). There is
a massive amount of scientific data that demonstrates why and
how acupuncture is effective. But acupressure, the older of the
two traditions, was neglected after the Chinese developed more
technological methods for stimulating points with needles and
electricity. Acupressure, however, continues to be the most effective
method for self-treatment of tension-related ailments by using
the power and sensitivity of the human hand.
the advantages of acupressure's healing touch is that it is safe
to do on yourself and others - even if you've never done it before
- so long as you follow the instructions and pay attention to
the cautions. There are no side effects from drugs, because there
are no drugs. And the only equipment needed are your own two hands.
You can practice acupressure therapy any time, anywhere.
My clinical experiences
over the past eighteen years have shown me that acupressure can
be effective in helping relieve headaches, eyestrain, sinus problems,
neck pain, backaches, arthritis, muscle aches, and tension due
to stress. I have also shown hundreds of my acupressure students,
patients, and friends how to use acupressure to relieve ulcer
pain, menstrual cramps, lower back aches, constipation, and indigestion.
You can also use self-acupressure to relieve anxiety and to help
you get to sleep at night.
Susan, a student
of mine, was suffering from insomnia and occasional headaches
for many years, as the result of a neck injury. 'I feel so tired
and weary, nearly all the time, Michael," she said. "Can acupressure
points help me?"
I showed her
several potent points on her ankles and neck for headaches, as
well as some upper-back stretching exercises for her insomnia.
Susan reported to me two weeks later, glowing. "The treatment
really worked! I've been sleeping uninterrupted and soundly through
the night for the first time in fifteen years."
There are also
great advantages to using acupressure as a way to balance the
body and maintain good health. The healing touch of acupressure
reduces tension, increases circulation, and enables the body to
relax deeply. By relieving stress, acupressure strengthens resistance
to disease and promotes wellness.
local symptoms are considered an expression of the condition of
the body as a whole. A tension headache, for instance, may be
rooted in the shoulder and neck area. Thus acupressure focuses
on relieving pain and discomfort as well as on responding to tension
before it develops into a "dis-ease" that is, before the constrictions
and imbalances can do further damage. By using a combination of
self-help methods such as trigger point stimulation, deep breathing,
range-of-motion exercises, and relaxation techniques, you can
improve your condition as well as feel more alive, healthy, and
in harmony with your life.
one of my advanced acupressure students, complained about having
night sweats. She was in the midst of making a serious decision
about where to live, which also involved a relationship that was
troubling her. I immediately noticed that her upper back was rounded
by tension and discovered even more tension in her neck. I showed
her the points for working on these areas. A month later, after
using acupressure on herself twice a day, Judy reported that much
of her upper back tension and a "ball" of deep anxiety had dissipated.
She also felt clearer and more objective in dealing with her problems.
Best of all, the night sweats that had made her miserable for
two months were gone.
Alice, one of
my elderly clients, had limited mobility in her neck with severe
arthritic neck pain that radiated down her shoulders into her
arms as well as up into her head. After her first acupressure
session, she not only felt less discomfort but also had greater
flexibility in her neck. For the first time in years, she was
able to move her head freely without pain.
weeks Alice realized that she could help herself using the points
underneath the base of her skull to relieve both her neck pain
and stiffness. Recently she told me that whenever the pain "creeps
up on her," she practices self-acupressure. It is possible that
this increased mobility, in turn, prevents further deterioration.
© Copyright 1990 Michael Reed Gach & Bantam Books,
All Rights Reserved