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 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:
Possibly Effective for...
Possibly Ineffective for...
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
Acupressure is LIKELY SAFE when used appropriately. There are no known safety concerns when acupressure has been used in research.
Acupressure is POSSIBLY SAFE when used appropriately in children.
Special Precautions & Warnings:
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Acupressure seems to be POSSIBLY 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.
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