We get asked this question a lot so this blog post is aimed at helping you understand what Acupressure is and how it helps.
Acupressure is a complimentary therapeutic approach to healing with its origins reaching back to the ancient traditions of both Chinese and Ayurvedic Medicine. Acupressure is the use of manual pressure to stimulate specific points along the body.
The Chinese and Indian healers have understood for thousands of years that pressing certain points on the body can, not only relieve pain, but also benefit other parts of the body more remote from the area of discomfort and the pressure point1 itself. Over time, this method has been adapted to assist with more than just pain. Through the understanding that organ function (both the physical and energetic function) could be positively affected, promoting an improved health state in the receiver, this ancient method has been used successfully for healing.
From a Western medicine perspective, an explanation of how acupressure works within the body can be explained through the communication network of the body’s fascia and nerves cells. In response to pressure applied to the skin, the stimulated nerve cells that carry information to the spinal cord on its journey up to the head for the brain asses the receiving information and respond appropriately to the stimulus.
Because nerves cells all lead back to the spinal cord (and thus are connected via the spinal cord pathway), various areas on the skin can correspond with different organs through 'neural-integration' (communication between the nerves that intersect these areas). Through acupressure, it is possible to strengthen a weak or deteriorated signal from an organ by applying pressure to specific areas of the skin. Once strengthened, these pathways are able to transmit signals of disharmony from their location in the body to the brain more effectively, thus stimulating the brain to respond and activate an appropriate healing response.
Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese medicine have been using acupressure devices for thousands of years (think of the ancient "bed of nails" - the inspiration for Shakti® Acupressure Mat original design and subsequent other brands and designs that followed). From these Eastern medicine perspectives, an explanation of how acupressure works can be explained as assisting the body clear blocked "meridians" or energy channels (these energy channels are called different names depending on the culture but are referred to as "Prana" in Ayurveda and “Qi" in Traditional Chinese medicine). These traditions work from the belief that many common ailments are the result of blockages in these energy channels.
Many of the current health concerns in our society today (everything from "bad backs" to arthritis) are the direct and indirect result of living in disharmony with our natural body rhythms. Stress, tension, lack of exercise, sitting for long periods of time, poor sleep habits, poor eating habits, and poor posture all contribute to the rapidly worsening epidemic of degenerative diseases around the world.
Acupressure offers a natural and non-invasive healing technique that can help your body find balance through 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.