This is similar to acupuncture but uses finger pressure instead of needles to apply pressure to specific points along the meridian pathways on the body either to ease symptomatic pain or to balance a system that is out of balance due to a chronic condition. Acupressure is incorporated into the massage sessions of most of the massage therapists.
Acupressure relieves muscular tension, increases circulation, stimulates the immune system and releases endorphins to create a deep sense of relaxation. It has been shown to reduce nausea during pregnancy, after spinal anesthesia, after chemotherapy, and to reduce seasickness. It is also used as a general preventative health measure, to treat carpal tunnel syndrome, headache and temporomandibular joint pain, sports injuries and other chronic conditions, and as an adjunct to pulmonary rehabilitation in patients with emphysema. Acupressure can be applied by a practitioner or taught as a self-help technique.
Contraindications for acupressure include systemic conditions such as febrile illness, infection, existing blood clots, congestive heart failure, intoxication or drug use, psychosis, or conditions such as internal bleeding (ulcers, aneurysm, hemophilia). Practitioners avoid points overlying skin breakdown, rashes, malignant tissue, bruised tissue, fractures, hernias, and varicose veins. Other specific points are avoided in conditions such as pregnancy, intestinal cancer, tuberculosis, and leukemia. In some situations, contraindications may be overridden after consultation with a physician.