Like acupuncture, acupressure comes from the Chinese belief that through 14 invisible pathways or meridians, just below an individual’s skin flow the life force or chi. The belief is illness results when this life force is interrupted. During acupressure, the practitioner applies pressure with his or her finger to specific points on the patient’s body to restore the free flow of chi and to relieve symptoms such as pain and stress. Benefits of acupressure are inconclusive. People who have been helped by the procedure find its hands-on approach to be relaxing and comforting.
Traditional acupuncture involves the insertion of slender, heated or electrified needles into specific points on the body for 15 to 40 minutes. The purpose of the needles is to remove blockages in the meridians (invisible pathways) and promote the free flow of chi (life force). Little or no pain from insertion of the needles should result. Some people find the procedure relaxing. Explanations for the effectiveness of acupuncture include: · It has been shown to stimulate better circulation to tissues Often, the effects of poor circulation to an injured area can increase pain and slow the healing process · It can release tension in the muscle surrounding the acupuncture point · Recent research suggests that acupuncture stimulates the production of endorphins, the natural painkiller, in the brain and spinal cord Adverse side effects from acupuncture are rare, but they can occur. Make sure the acupuncturist is trained, and is following good hygiene practices, including the use of disposable needles.
Source: Prairie Spine and Pain Institute, Dr. Richard A. Kube II, MD.