Acupressure therapy, sometimes called pressure acupuncture, has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years.
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It involves applying pressure to acupressure points that lie along meridians in your body to promote relaxation and treat illnesses. There are more than 400 acupressure points on the body.
It is believed that vital energy called qi (chi) flows through these meridians or energy pathways. There are 12 major meridians that connect specific organs, thus organizing a system of communication throughout the body. Illness occurs when one or more of these meridians are blocked or out of balance.
Most Western practitioners, however, attribute the benefits of acupressure to factors like reduced muscle tension, improved circulation and stimulation of brain chemicals called endorphins that act as natural pain relievers.
Irrespective of the underlying reason for its effectiveness, several studies have found this alternative therapy beneficial for relieving certain aches and pains.
The acupressure points are to be pressed with moderate pressure for a few seconds up to a couple of minutes and then released. For best results, take slow, deep breaths as you hold the acupressure points.
Here are the top 10 acupressure points for relieving pains and other problems.
1. Joining the Valley - for Headaches
The Joining the Valley (L 14) acupressure point is popular for getting rid of headaches. It also helps relieve toothaches, neck pain, shoulder pain, arthritis, constipation and hangovers.
This point is located in the fleshy area between the thumb and index finger, at the highest spot of the muscle when both the thumb and finger are brought close together. Press and massage this point for a couple of minutes and then repeat on the other hand. Do this as needed.
Note: Do not press this acupressure point during pregnancy.
2. Pericardium - for Nausea and Vomiting
The Pericardium (P6) acupressure point is considered useful for getting rid of nausea and vomiting caused by a variety of reasons including motion sickness, pregnancy, post-surgery and post-chemotherapy. It also relieves upset stomach, headaches, chest pain, and carpal tunnel syndrome pain and discomfort.
It is located between the two large tendons on the inside of your wrist, about three finger-widths below the base of your palm. Press the point with your index and middle fingers for a couple of minutes. Repeat several times, as needed. You can also get acupressure wristbands from a drug or health food store and use them.
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