Acupressure and shiatsu

Acupressure and shiatsu are two relatively similar forms of pressure massage that come from traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and Japanese medicine. Acupressure describes the Chinese form of pressure massage, Shiatsu the Japanese variant. In the meantime, the massage forms are also becoming increasingly popular in Germany. Complaints such as headaches  or  nausea  are alleviated by applying pressure to the acupressure points on the meridians  . From the point of view of conventional medicine, however, the effectiveness of acupressure and shiatsu has not been proven. 

Basic assumptions of acupressure and shiatsu

Acupressure and shiatsu, like  acupuncture , are  based on the assumption that people are only healthy if their life energy – the  Qi  – can flow undisturbed. For this, the two energy  concepts Yin and Yang must be  in harmony. However, these can be disturbed by various factors – for example an unhealthy diet, too little exercise, an illness or uncontrolled emotions.

In order to reconcile the energy concepts, this disruption must be remedied. For this purpose, the corresponding points on the  twelve meridians are  massaged with pressure. The acupressure points mostly correspond to those of acupuncture, however not all points are suitable for pressure treatment. In addition to needle pricks and pressure, the points can also be stimulated by heat (moxibustion). 

Massage the pressure points

With acupressure and shiatsu, the pressure during the massage is primarily exerted with the fingertips and the pads of the thumb. However, the palms and elbows can also be used. During the massage, the masseur mainly uses his body weight and less his muscle strength to exert pressure. 

Depending on the desired effect, you can massage in a circle around the respective point or apply strong pressure to it. While this is supposed to be relaxing, it can sometimes be painful. In contrast to acupressure, Shiatsu not only stimulates individual points, but treats them more comprehensively along the meridians. 

Areas of application of acupressure and shiatsu

Acupressure and Shiatsu are often used without physical symptoms being present. They mainly serve to  maintain health.

In addition, they can also be used for certain  functional disorders that  are not associated with tangible changes in the body. These include, among other things

Acupressure and shiatsu can also help  relieve pain. They are used particularly frequently for headaches or  migraines  . In addition, the two pressure massage techniques are also recommended for toothache, back pain,  joint pain  and nausea. 

Side Effects of Acupressure and Shiatsu

It is important that acupressure and shiatsu should only be used to treat functional disorders. If bones, muscles or organs are already damaged, the techniques usually no longer work. There is even a risk of increasing the damage. Therefore, the massage techniques must not be used on diseased or inflamed parts of the body.

The pressure massage techniques are also not suitable for patients with serious diseases of the cardiovascular system, since the existing complaints may worsen for a short time after the massage. During pregnancy, points related to the abdomen should not be massaged. 

Self-treatment possible

In contrast to acupuncture, acupressure and shiatsu can be used in self-treatment. Even for the layperson there is no danger from the pressure on painful areas of muscles or tendons. However, pressure should not be applied to diseased or inflamed areas. 

Below you will find a small overview of how you   can relieve common complaints such as headaches, tiredness  and  colds with a pressure massage. Just place your finger on the respective point and then press, tap or circle. When gyrating, keep in mind that clockwise gyrating dampens the function, while counter-clockwise gyrating has an activating effect. 

  • For headaches:  Lightly massage the pressure points on the right and left of the temple. By stimulating the pressure points,  throbbing  headaches are alleviated.
  • With a cold:  To get your nose a little freer when you have a cold, massage the bridge of your nose, the nostrils and their lower edge. The massage should last about 30 seconds and can be repeated several times a day. 
  • If you are tired:  If you are tired, it helps to put pressure on a point around the middle of your neck. Just a press of 15 seconds is enough to make you feel fresher again. It also helps to stimulate the acupressure points to the right and left of the bridge of the nose with circular movements. 

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