What Is a Acupressure Massage?

A variant of acupuncture, acupressure massage is the ancient Chinese healing technique of placing pressure on various points on the body that lie on channels of the body called meridians and connect to specific parts of the body. There are 12 to 14 of these meridians flowing throughout your body. It is believed that a spiritual energy known as chi flows through these channels, and that illness occurs when these channels become blocked. Acupressure massage puts this energy back into balance.

Types of Acupressure Massage

Acupressure massage has a variety of methods that can be performed.

Firm pressure

This is the most common form of acupressure massage. The thumbs, knuckles, palms, fingers or sides of the hand can all be used to apply a steady pressure with no movement. A shiatsu massage is an example.

You can use firm pressure in one of two ways.

  • For stimulation, place pressure on the area you want stimulated for only 4 or 5 seconds.
  • If pain relief is what you’re after, one full minute of pressure is what is needed.

Slow Motion Kneading

With this type of massage, the fingers and thumb plus heels of the hand knead the muscle like dough. This provides relief for symptoms such as stiffness, pain, constipation and spasms.

Brisk Rubbing

Using friction, this type of acupressure massage aids the flow of blood and lymph. In addition, this massage relieves chilling, swelling and numbness and improves skin tone.

Quick Tapping

This acupressure massage uses just the fingertips to massage tender and unprotected areas.

Benefits of Acupressure Massage

Acupressure massage has been known to help with several health conditions.


Acupressure massage of the wrist has been known to help relieve symptoms of nausea and vomiting. It can help with nausea from the following conditions:

  • Post surgery
  • Spinal anesthesia
  • Chemotherapy
  • Motion sickness
  • Pregnancy


For cancer patients, acupressure massage has been known to help with nausea from chemotherapy, reduce stress, improve energy and lessen pain and other symptoms of cancer.


A pressure point connected to the large intestine, located in the fleshy area between the thumb and forefinger, has been known to relieve headaches. Other forms of pain that can be relieved through acupressure massage include lower back pain and pain caused by surgery.


Acupressure helps to release endorphins that ease the pain of arthritis. In addition, acupressure massage can cause effects that are anti-inflammatory, which will help ease the symptoms of arthritis.

Depression and Anxiety

There are studies that indicate that fatigue and mood changes caused by depression and anxiety can be lessened by acupressure massage.

Other Conditions Acupressure Massage Treats

  • Tension
  • Stress
  • Menstrual cramps

When to Avoid Acupressure

  • Any area where a cancerous tumor exists should not have acupressure massage performed on it.
  • If you have any form of bone cancer, or cancer has spread to your bones, avoid acupressure massage.
  • Any sickness that can be made worse if that area of the body is manipulated, such as rheumatoid arthritis, a spinal injury or any bone diseases could be aggravated by acupressure massage.
  • Any patient with varicose veins should not get acupressure massage.
  • Certain acupressure points can incite contractions in pregnant women.

As you can see, there are many benefits to acupressure massage. However, it is not for everyone. If you suspect any condition may have an adverse effect to acupressure massage, always check with your doctor before pursuing it. If you choose to pursue an acupressure massage, always make sure that your masseuse is certified.


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