How to Do Acupressure: Beginners Guide

February 3, 2023
5 Min

Acupuncture Points Mentioned in this Article

Preparing for the Acupressure Session:

Before beginning an acupressure session, it's important to prepare yourself and create a safe and hygienic environment.

How should I prepare for the acupressure session?

  1. Wash Your Hands: As an acupressure practitioner, it's crucial to keep your hands clean and hygienic. Before starting the massage, thoroughly wash your hands to ensure that your fingers are free from dirt and germs.

  2. Trim Your Nails: To avoid any accidental skin damage, make sure to trim your nails before performing acupressure. Keep them rounded and dull to prevent scratching or injuring the skin.

  3. Remove Hindrances: Remove any jewelry or items that may obstruct the massage. This will help prevent discomfort for both the practitioner and the patient.

What temperature should the room be for acupressure?

The room for acupressure should be maintained at a comfortable temperature, ideally between 20-25°C. This will prevent the patient from feeling cold and potentially causing illness during the massage.

Can I use any lotion or cream before the acupressure session to enhance the effects?

Warm the skin slightly and consider using massage creams or oils for enhanced acupressure effects. Applying a massage cream or oil locally can enhance the effects of acupressure and provide a protective layer for the skin. Additionally, this can help absorb the heat generated during the massage, preventing any potential skin damage from excessive temperatures.

Can I use essential oils during an acupressure session?

Essential oils can enhance acupressure, but use with caution and dilute with carrier oils before applying. They can be applied topically or diffused to enhance the overall experience. However, it's important to exercise caution when using essential oils due to their high concentration. They should not be directly applied to the skin. Instead, mix a drop of essential oil with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, before use.

How long to wait after eating to do acupressure?

Wait for 30 minutes to an hour after eating before doing acupressure. This allows the body to focus on digestion and avoids any potential discomfort.

Contraindications for Acupressure Session

Acupressure is generally very safe and can provide numerous benefits. Following some common sense and the following guidelines will let you know acupressure is not suitable.

If I have fractures, joint dislocations, or bone tumors can I still do acupressure?

Avoid acupressure on areas with fractures, dislocations, or bone tumors. It's important to prioritize medical treatment for these conditions.

If I have an open wound, scar, or sensitive skin, can I still do acupressure?

Do not apply pressure to open wounds, scars, or sensitive skin areas. Instead, focus on other acupoints that are unaffected.

Is it safe to apply acupressure directly on tumors?

Direct application of acupressure on tumors should be avoided. Acupressure should not be applied directly on tumors. However, it's important to note that acupressure primarily involves superficial pressure, so direct contact with a tumor is highly unlikely.

Are pregnant or menstruating women able to do acupressure?

Pregnant or menstruating women should consult trained practitioners before acupressure. Women who are pregnant or menstruating should exercise caution when doing acupressure. Certain acupuncture points may not be suitable during these times, so it's important to consult with a trained acupressure practitioner before proceeding.

What other situations is it advisable to postpone acupressure?

Avoid acupressure after vigorous exercise, alcohol intake, or during high fever and rest before practice. Allowing your body to rest and recover before engaging in acupressure is essential.

Locating and Measuring Acupressure Points:

How are acupressure points located?

Acupressure points are located at specific locations on the body, corresponding to various organs or body systems. Professionals, charts, and digital tools can guide you in pinpointing these crucial points.

How do I find my acupressure points?

First-time practitioners can find acupressure points with the help of trained acupressure therapists, tools like the Moxa App, or guided charts. Over time, with consistent practice, you'll become adept at identifying these points on your own.

How are acupressure points measured?

Points are measured using "cun," a proportional method in Traditional Chinese Medicine. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, one "cun" is roughly the width of the individual's thumb at the knuckle. This unit helps ensure the accurate location of points relative to one's anatomy.

How important is the location of acupressure points?

Accurate location of acupressure points ensures therapeutic benefits; errors may diminish effectiveness. Stimulating the correct point can foster healing, balance, and well-being. However, there is some "coin sized" margin of error with acupressure over acupuncture given that you are massaging with fingers and not needles.

In contrast, wrongly located pressure might not provide any benefits, or in an extreme case could potentially exacerbate symptoms.

Applying Pressure and Technique:

How to perform acupressure at home?

Identify specific acupoints using charts or apps before practicing acupressure at home. To practice acupressure at home, start by identifying the specific acupoints that correspond to your health needs. With the help of charts or digital tools, you can accurately locate these points.

What are the techniques in acupressure?

Acupressure involves various hand or tool techniques applying pressure on specific points. The essence involves using the hands, limbs, or other tools to apply a firm yet gentle pressure on the acupoints. Here are some of the basic methods.

  • Fingertip Pointing Technique (Most Common): Hold a loose fist, with the thumb extended and close to the index finger. Use the tip of the thumb to apply pressure on the treatment area or specific points, continuing with a pressing action.

  • Elbow Pointing Technique: Use the tip of the elbow to apply pressure on the treatment area or acupoints. Utilize the upper body's weight to continuously press on the specific point.

  • Rubbing Method: Using fingers or palms to make circular motions on the skin is called the rubbing method. Specifically, using the fingertips is termed "fingertip rubbing", and using the palm is termed "palm rubbing".

  • Pinching Method: Using the thumb in conjunction with the index and middle fingers to pinch a certain part or acupoint, gradually applying inward pressure and making a continuous upward motion.

  • Pushing Method: Keeping fingers or palm close to the skin, then using a pressing and pushing massage technique to make a linear motion. The movement should not be too fast or too fierce. When pushing, the motion should be as smooth as drawing silk.

  • Rubbing Method: Keeping the palm close to the skin, applying slight pressure, and making linear movements up and down or left and right. During the friction, you can use the palm to rub, or use the edge of the palm.

How to apply acupressure?

Press firmly but gently on acupoints, ensuring discomfort but not pain. Using any of the techniques in the above question, press down on these points with a pressure level that's both firm and gentle. Ensure that it causes discomfort but not pain, ideally around a 7 on a scale from 1 to 10.

How to stimulate acupressure points?

Hold or massage acupressure points consistently for therapeutic benefits. Stimulating acupressure points involves holding or massaging the point for a specified duration. Using a consistent routine, even if brief, can lead to significant benefits for well-being.

How hard do I press for acupressure?

Pressure should cause slight discomfort without pain, approximately a 7 on a 1 to 10 scale. However, it should never cross into the realm of outright pain. Striking the right balance ensures efficacy and safety.

How much pressure to use for acupressure?

The exact pressure can vary based on the individual's tolerance and the specific point being addressed. The key is to start gently and gradually increase the pressure until you achieve a sensation of slight discomfort, yet not pain.

How long should I hold an acupressure point?

It's typically recommended to hold an acupressure point for a minimum of 30 seconds to ensure Qi flow restoration. However, massaging each point for 2-3 minutes can enhance the therapeutic effect.

How long must I apply pressure for acupressure?

Hold points for at least 30 seconds; 2-3 minute massages enhance therapeutic effects. The duration can be individualized based on comfort and need.

Duration and Frequency:

How long does an acupressure treatment take?

Acupressure sessions range from 10 minutes to over 30 minutes, depending on the need. The length of an acupressure session can vary. While a comprehensive session can last 30 minutes or longer, even short 5-minute sessions can offer benefits, especially if done regularly.

How long does it take for acupressure to work?

The time for acupressure to show it is working varies. Some might experience relief from acute conditions immediately after a session, while chronic issues may necessitate multiple sessions over weeks to observe noticeable improvement.

How many times a day should I do acupressure?

Daily sessions are common, but specific concerns may benefit from 2-3 sessions a day. The frequency of acupressure sessions can be tailored to individual needs. For general well-being, once daily may suffice. For addressing specific concerns or acute discomforts, practicing multiple times a day might be more beneficial.

How many times a week should I do acupressure?

3-5 times a week is often recommended for chronic issues or maintenance of well-being. However, daily sessions can lead to more pronounced benefits if one's schedule permits.

How often do you need to do acupressure?

Regular sessions lead to more sustained and noticable result. Consistency is key with acupressure whether daily or several times a week.

How long can we leave an acupressure needle on?

Acupressure doesn't involve needles. If you're referring to acupuncture, needles are typically left in place for about 20-30 minutes during a session.

Special Situations:

Why am I so sore after acupressure?

Soreness post-acupressure can arise from energy release, healing response, or excessive pressure. It can also occur if too much pressure was applied. It's essential to strike a balance between firmness and gentleness to avoid excessive discomfort.

Why isn't acupressure working for me?

Incorrect point identification, technique, or body responsiveness can reduce acupressure effectiveness. There could be several reasons for this: the acupressure points may not have been correctly identified, the technique might not be appropriate, or your body may respond better to other forms of therapy. Consultation with a professional can provide clarity.

How long do I need to do acupressure to induce labor?

Acupressure's labor-inducing duration is uncertain; consult healthcare professionals before attempting. While some believe that acupressure can help induce labor, there isn't a set duration for its effectiveness. If you're considering acupressure for this purpose, always consult with a healthcare professional or midwife.

How to do acupressure on dogs?

Canine acupressure requires gentle touch and observation; professional guidance is beneficial. Canine acupressure, like human acupressure, involves applying pressure to specific points on the body. It's vital to approach with gentleness, observe the dog's reactions, and seek guidance from professionals trained in animal acupressure.

How to stay awake with hand acupressure points?

Hand and wrist acupoints can enhance alertness. Stimulating certain acupoints, especially those on the hands and wrists, can potentially increase alertness. The "Hegu" point, located between the thumb and index finger, is one such point often used for this purpose.

Other Questions

How does acupressure work?

Acupressure targets specific body points to correct Qi imbalances and promote self-healing and relaxation. Derived from the foundational principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), acupressure functions by targeting distinct points on the body known as acupressure or acupuncture points. When stimulated, these points can correct imbalances in the flow of Qi, the body's vital energy, fostering a harmonious balance between body and mind to enable self-healing and wellness.

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