Acupressure, a traditional massage technique

Acupressure is considered manual therapy. Derived from traditional Chinese medicine, it stimulates specific areas and points of the human body called acupressure points. For 5000 years, acupressure has been used to relieve pain, calm nervous tension, rebalance the body, or lose weight. In this article, we invite you to discover the history, benefits, and practice of acupressure.

Definition and origin of this technique

Acupressure originated 5000 years ago and is one of the therapies derived from traditional Chinese medicine. The practice of this manual therapy appears for the first time in the collection Huang Di Nei Jing, the oldest work of traditional Chinese medicine. Acupressure is the manual stimulation of energy points or acupressure points to rebalance the energy that circulates in the body. Indeed, the Chinese have discovered over the years that certain areas and specific topics of the body could have repercussions on pain or the functioning of internal organs. Gradually, the technique spread. If acupressure is often compared to acupuncture, it is practiced without needles (hence its other name of digitopuncture). This manual therapy is based on fundamental principles of traditional Chinese medicine: the five elements, Yin and Yang, and meridians and acupressure points.

Like all traditional Chinese medicine branches, acupressure follows the law of 5 elements that explain how energy circulates through our body: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. If we are all made up of these five elements, only one predominates. Each element corresponds to a color, a season, a meaning, a mood, or a feeling that defines us. Acupressure is also based on Yin and Yang, two opposing and complementary forces that constantly attract and repel each other. This balance thus creates a Vital Energy called Chi or Qi. Some organs are Yin (like the kidneys), and others are Yang (like the stomach). When these forces are no longer balanced, it is necessary to establish a precise diagnosis of the source of this imbalance to act on the right acupressure points. Finally, acupressure is based on the meridians: 12 energy channels that run through our body, and Chi circulates.

They pass through 6 organs (Yin) and six viscera (Yang):

  • Lung (Yin) - Large intestine (Yang)

  • Stomach (Yang) - Spleen (Yin)

  • Heart (Yin) - Small Intestine (Yang)

  • Bladder (Yang) - Kidney (Yin)

  • Master of Heart (Yin) - Triple Heater (Yang)

  • Gallbladder (Yang) - Liver (Yin)

Benefits and advantages of acupressure

By rebalancing Chi and stimulating certain meridians, acupressure improves a physical, emotional, or mental state. It is most often indicated in:

  • stress management: by overcoming blockages, acupressure relaxes, fights stress, and promotes general well-being. It helps calm nervous tension and regains mental clarity;

  • strengthening the immune system: acupressure tends to improve the immune system by facilitating circulation and strengthening Chi. Stimulating specific points thus makes it possible to neutralize negative energy to prevent specific ailments;

  • back pain: due to bad posture, injury, great tension, Chi circulates poorly, causing an energy imbalance in the back. In this case, acupressure will release tension and reactivate the circulation of vital energy;

  • emotional balance: acupressure can be an exciting help for people who suffer from anxiety, phobias, depression, or who have suffered an emotional shock. Manual therapy tends to rebalance the emotional state of the person;

  • improving performance: the stimulation of certain meridians helps prevent injuries to athletes, strengthen physical endurance or improve recovery.

Contraindications of acupressure

Acupressure is for everyone, both women and men but also children, adults, and seniors. However, it is recommended to consult a doctor before any first acupressure session. Indeed, specific acupressure points should not be stimulated in the event of serious illnesses, during pregnancy, if you are injured, in the event of heart problems, spine, or osteoporosis.

Notable acupressure points

The stimulation of specific acupressure points can be done by yourself because it consists of simple gestures. The main notable points are:

  • On the wrist: the wrist brings together essential points of traditional Chinese acupressure. They can act on tension, neck pain, dizziness, and nausea;

  • On the other hand: stimulating specific points of the writing will be very effective against stress and anxiety, and pain in general;

  • Under the knee: exerting pressure under the knee acts mainly on digestive disorders and abdominal pain;

  • On the forearm: the forearm includes acupressure points that relieve winter ailments (sore throat, cough, fever) but also headaches and toothaches;

  • Under the clavicle: indicated for the release of tension and general well-being;

  • In the back: specific points relieve muscle tension and associated back pain.

Common pain treatments

Back pain, headache, stiff neck, motion sickness, or abdominal pain are daily ailments. Acupressure can be an effective solution to bring you relaxation and rapid relief. We present below the main acupressure points to act on these joint pains.

Relieve back pain

In lower back pain or lumbago, stimulate the Tai Chong point, located between the 2nd and 3rd toe of the foot, 2 inches after the joint. If you have sciatica or stiff back, work on the Wei Zhong point in the centre of the back of the knee bend.

Relieve headaches

To relieve the headache, the Hegu acupressure point is the most suitable. Located in the arch between the thumb and forefinger, you need to exert slight pressure in the form of a massage for more than 5 minutes until the pain begins to disappear. The Hegu point acts mainly on the problems of teeth, head, and face. You can also stimulate the point at the outer end of the eyebrow called Tong Zi Liao.

Relieve stiff neck

In addition to the Hegu and Tai Chong point, it is possible to relieve stiffness in the neck and neck thanks to the Lie Que point, located on the outside of the forearms, two finger-widths above the joint. 

Relieve motion sickness

The 6th point of the Meridian of the Master of the Heart (MC6) or Nei-Kuan is effective in case of nausea and motion sickness. It is located on the midline of the inner forearm, three finger-widths from the crease of the wrist. On this point of acupressure, most acupressure bracelets like this bracelet are against the motion sickness act.

Relieve abdominal pain

In abdominal cramps or digestive disorders (difficult digestion, constipation, diarrhea, flatulence, etc.), stimulate the Hegu and Tai Chong points presented above. You can also exert light pressure on the Zu San Li point, known as the point of hundreds of diseases” in Japan. It is located on the right, below the kneecap, on the outer side of the leg, four fingers below the kneecap of the knee. Another acupressure point for digestive problems: Yuan Qi, located two fingers below the navel.


Phyto-acupressure is a variant of acupressure based on the synergistic action of 2 techniques: phytotherapy and acupressure. Plants with recognized properties and in the form of active concentrates are then applied to selected areas. It is possible to benefit from this technique at home and without special training thanks to the Phyto-acupressure pens. It is then enough to apply the active concentrate of plants on the zones by making five turns of a roll-on. For the Chinese technique, do 18 rotating movements in one direction, and 18 turns in the other direction on the acupressure point. These phyto-acupressure pens contain plants specially selected according to the pathology to be relieved: breathing, sleep, headaches, digestion.

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