by Joann Flora,
Acupressure, Nutrition Counseling, Qigong
October 30, 2002
In an acupressure session, the client lies fully clothed on a table. Blankets and pillows allow the client to feel more comfortable and secure. The practitioner holds a series of points along the meridians that allow muscular armoring (tension) to release. Qi flows through these points (locations of least electrical resistance) restoring the balance of energy in the meridian. In addition to the 12 Organ Meridians there are Eight Extraordinary Vessels. These flows utilize points along several meridians, influencing each one.
In both acupressure and acupuncture, the goal is to restore balance in the body's energy. In doing so, we relieve muscular tension, restore normal body function, and promote health and well being. Emotions that have remained unprocessed for years, stuffed into the tissues (causing illness), are allowed to surface. The client is then able to recover from the effects of negative emotions that usually manifest themselves in physical illnesses.
Each meridian has associations with an emotion or attitude, color, sound, smell, sense, flavor, season, body fluid, voice, and body part, as well as organ. Assessment of a client's health status often involves identifying which associations are prevalent at the time of treatment. For example, a person who is repeatedly angry (emotion) may have an imbalance in the liver meridian for that is the organ meridian associated with anger. A traditional assessment includes observing and point palpation, listening and smelling, asking questions, and pulse reading. During the assessment, the meridian associations are revealed.
Whether acupressure or acupuncture is right for you is very individual. There may be times when one is preferred over the other and vice versa. They work on the same principles of Chinese medicine and each are very effective. Acupuncture is covered more often by insurance and since the points are needled rather than pressed, results can be quicker than with acupressure. Acupressure is the least invasive of all bodywork therapies: no disrobing, no needles. This makes it feel safer for many people, especially children and the elderly. Also, the practitioner is with the client for the entire duration of the treatment, whereas the acupuncturist places the needles, leaves, and comes back to remove them. The acupressurist is more "present" during the treatment, physically and otherwise. Emotions that arise can be dealt with immediately allowing for greater processing of the 'stuff' we stuff inside.
Why would you seek acupressure or acupuncture? Some of the more common maladies include pain (especially headache, back and neck), chronic illness, insomnia, body tension, stress, allergies, organ disfunction, hypertension, arthritis, diabetes, and depressed immune function. It's important to keep in mind, however, that acu-treatments, particularly acupressure, can also be used for a feel good tune-up, a nice way for a healthy person to stay healthy. You need not be ill to benefit from energy balancing. It's a good overall family health service that benefits children, adults, and senior citizens. And for those persons who have hit the wall of western medicine (ex: back pain) and face invasive surgeries, long term pharmaceutical use, or are told nothing can be done, it can be a miracle treatment. Some forms of acupressure you may encounter include Jin Shin Do, Jin Shin Jitsu, Reflexology, Shiatsu, and Ama.