Acupressure and Reflexology Defined

Acupressure is an ancient healing art that entails using an object (generally the hands or arms) to stimulate specific key points on the body with the goal of relieving pain or discomfort.

Pain and discomfort are considered to be signs of energy imbalance, which, if left in this state, will become illness and disease. Acupressure approaches this energy imbalance in a concrete way through the identification of acupoints.

Acupoints are located on meridians, or channels that run throughout the body and connect all parts of the body together. These acupoints are specific sites on the body that often treat pain or discomfort elsewhere. By addressing problems or imbalances at the acupoints, you can balance the flow of energy and thereby reduce or eliminate pain in the affected areas.

Acupressure and Acupuncture: The two are similar and closely related. Both rely on the same fundamental principles, and both use the same points and meridians. The most important difference is that acupuncture uses pins - technically, they're hair-thin, sterile needles - and acupressure doesn’t. This difference is crucial, because the needle aspect is something that makes many people nervous about acupuncture.

Reflexology is a system of healing based on balancing energy by stimulating areas in the feet and hands that relate to organs, glands, and parts of the body. Reflexology is similar to acupressure in basic principle, but the two have some differences as well. They both correct imbalances in the energy force by focusing on specific areas of the body where they pinpoint (and treat) that imbalance. Although acupressure involves meridians and acupoints, reflexology relies on pathways called reflex zones, which contain reflex areas located on the hands and feet.

The reflex areas on the hands and feet are essentially holograms of the whole body. Therefore, stimulating the hands and feet affects the whole body. By applying pressure to specific reflex points, you adjust the flow of energy and can create a positive response (reduced pain) in a corresponding location elsewhere on the body.

Origin and Philosophy

Many healing arts, including acupressure and reflexology, are based on the beliefs of Chinese energy medicine - which people first practiced more than 5,000 years ago. The ancient Chinese believed that spiritual imbalances caused many illnesses and physical ailments. In order to effectively address the pain, the Chinese believed, you needed to resolve your spiritual imbalance and get your energies and life force in a balanced state. In other words, the Chinese felt that you couldn’t properly treat physical pain unless you also addressed your spiritual issues and any imbalances in your energy force.

Acupressure and reflexology been around for thousands of years. Their roots are believed to trace back to the ancient people of Asia, who realized the many benefits of strategic touch as part of a healing therapy routine.

The ancient people of Asia discovered that pressing specific points on the body can reduce or eliminate pain - often in locations elsewhere on the body. Chinese doctors began focusing on pressure points as a way to treat pain, fight illnesses, and encourage healing after injuries. These sessions were often used to treat soldiers who had been injured in various military conflicts.

How and why they work

The foundation of Chinese energy medicine is the belief that a balanced and positive energy force is imperative for good health and emotional well-being. If you move or manipulate this energy to create a more balanced harmonious state, they believed you could effectively treat pain and illness.

As many people now acknowledge, the ancient Chinese healers were on to something. Today, people know that the body is like a big puzzle, with each part interconnected to other parts in many different ways. In other words, you may say, "No man’s body part is an island." A problem that originates with one part of the body inevitably begins to have repercussions on other parts of the body and mind.