Acupressure is a common treatment used in traditional Chinese medicine. It is similar to acupuncture, but does not use needles.
Acupressure is used for pain, nerve pain (neuropathy), low back pain, jaw pain (temporomandibular joint dysfunction, TMJ), and migraine headache. It is also used for depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, trouble sleeping (insomnia), schizophrenia, dementia, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
Women use acupressure for painful menstrual periods, pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting, and labor pain.
Other uses include treatment of fatigue, nausea and vomiting related to chemotherapy, motion sickness, and vertigo; lung disorders including chronic enlargement of the airways (bronchiectasis) and chronic obstructive lung diseases (COPD) such as asthma and emphysema; irritable bowel syndrome (IBS); stroke; bed-wetting; inability to control urination (incontinence); dry mouth; and many other conditions.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective,
Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely
Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
The effectiveness ratings for ACUPRESSURE are as follows:
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of acupressure for these uses.
Acupressure is a common treatment used in
traditional Chinese medicine. Acupressure is similar to acupuncture,
but acupressure does not use needles. Acupressure involves applying
pressure using hands, thumbs, fingers, or devices to specific parts or
points on the body along pathways called “meridians.” The purpose is to
stimulate points that correspond to specific organs, emotions, or
sensory feelings. For example, acupressure around the ear, feet, and
hands targets the pain of labor.
Acupressure can be applied by a
practitioner or self-administered. Passive acupressure devices have been
developed, such as wrist bands that allow people to apply pressure at a
specific location for a particular outcome.
In traditional Chinese medicine, it is
thought that disease is caused by an imbalance or blocked flow of energy
or “qi.” Therefore, acupressure is thought to stimulate energy flow,
unblock energy, and rebalance energy, which results in healing.
Most acupressure points are located near
nerves. Researchers suggest that applying pressure at these points may
block transmission of pain signals.
Some experts also suggest that
acupressure might result in the release of natural pain relievers called
endorphins and opioids, and also brain chemicals called
neurotransmitters. These chemicals can naturally reduce pain and affect
There are no known safety concerns when acupressure is used appropriately.
Special Precautions & Warnings:
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Acupressure seems to be safe during pregnancy and breast-feeding when used appropriately.
It is not known if this treatment interacts with any medicines.
Before using this treatment, talk with your health professional if you take any medications.
There are no known interactions with herbs and supplements.
There are no known interactions with foods.
The appropriate or safe use of acupressure depends on several factors such as the condition being treated or the person administering the treatment. Be sure to seek and follow relevant directions from your physician or other healthcare professional before using this treatment.
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