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Acupressure: What You Need to Know

Acupuncture has been an accepted therapy in the United States for decades, with licensed practitioners throughout the country. But did you know that applying pressure in the same manner acupuncturists use needles may also promote well-being?

Nearly 4,000 years ago, indigenous peoples across the globe discovered they could influence the body’s balance of energy—the energy that acupuncturists refer to as qi (pronounced “chee”)—by applying pressure to specific points. The result, ancient practitioners found, was a restoration of the body’s natural healing abilities.

Acupressure focuses on the concept that this life-giving energy circulates throughout the body in 12 main channels, or meridians. By keeping energy on the move, acupressure is believed to help with a variety of discomforts, most notably pain.† The pressure applied can range from just the weight of a finger to deep, intensive massage, a practice sometimes called shiatsu.

Acupressure is safe, simple, non-invasive and inexpensive, and self-acupressure techniques can be just as effective as those performed by a skilled therapist. Since acupressure can be self-learned and administered at home, nearly anyone can literally lend themselves a hand.

Take the misery of allergies, for example: Acupressure experts recommend applying steady pressure on the lower, outer corner of each nostril to reduce sneezing and nasal symptoms. For headache, the idea is to apply pressure to the indentation in the middle of the eyebrow, just above the pupil, or push on the point between the webbing of the thumb and the index finger.† (To find the correct spots to press for other complaints, search “acupuncture points.”)

To get the most out of a self-acupressure treatment, set aside quiet time. After locating the point or points where you are going to apply pressure, push down using your thumb or fingers. Starting with a light touch, adjust the pressure accordingly and hold for 10 to 15 seconds. Soreness indicates a blockage, but do not press or massage to the point of severe pain. Repeat five to 10 times or until the pressure helps relieve symptoms; temporary soreness of the acupressure point is common and normal.

Just how acupressure works is open to debate. One theory is that the brain responds to pressure on certain points by releasing chemicals that activate the immune system into healing mode, as well as the body’s own painkillers. Acupressure may also enhance electrical flow along nerves and between cells, improve blood and lymphatic circulation, and calm muscle tension.†

†The information provided is not an endorsement of any product, and is intended for educational purposes only. NaturesPlus does not provide medical advice and does not offer diagnosis of any conditions. Current research on this topic is not conclusive and further research may be needed in order to prove the benefits described.

The conditions and symptoms described may be indicative of serious health problems, and therefore should be brought to the attention of a qualified healthcare practitioner.

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**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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