The use of pressure points to relieve pain and stress is an ancient Chinese practice that dates back thousands of years. The method is based on the concept of how chi energy flows through the body. Chi is viewed as the “life force” energy. Pressure point locations are the areas where energy blocks can be removed.


Identification

The human body holds a number of pressure points that affect circulation and muscle tension. An alternative healing practice called acupressure specializes in using these areas to promote health and well being. Each pressure point location corresponds to a certain area of the body. These points are believed to correspond with specific systems and processes within the body. The hand, or the thumb can be used to apply firm, consistent pressure until the desired effect is produced. This practice has been used to treat a number of bodily ailments, some of which include pain, headaches, emotional problems, respiratory difficulties, and back and joint problems.

Meridians

Pressure points on the body can be found wherever there are bone protrusions or bone indentations. Certain major muscle groups are also areas where pressure can be applied. Energy-carrying channels, called meridians, are believed to be located in these areas of the body. If a particular channel is blocked, it affects the flow of chi energy to the areas that are associated with a particular meridian. Applying pressure to these points frees up energy blocks which results in healing to that area of the body.

Locations

Acupressure theory identifies twelve major meridian pressure points in the body. These points correspond to locations where the major bodily organs reside—stomach, liver, pancreas, heart, kidneys, intestines, thyroid glands, spleen and genital area. Chi energy can take the form of yin which flows upwards, or yang which flows downward. The twelve meridian points are located on either side of the body. These locations allow energy channels to flow upwards and downwards within the body. Pressure applied to points within a particular area is believed to improve the health of the organs and processes related that area.

Energy Pathways

The twelve meridian pathways reside on both sides of the body. Channel pathways come to an end at the fingers and the toes. The names of each channel correspond to a set of pressure points and the area it effects. For example, the Lung Channel of Hand identifies pressure points in the hand that correspond to health issues related to the lungs. The Liver Channel of Foot corresponds to pressure points in the foot that connect with issue surrounding the liver. The Heart Channel of Hand identifies pressure point areas in the hand that affect the heart.

Applications

There are three techniques for stimulating pressure points—calming, tonifying and dispersing. Tonifying is applied to points in which there is a weak chi energy flow. Dispersing is applied to points in which energies are blocked, or built up. Calming is applied to points in which there’s an overactive energy flow. The yin-yang meridian pathways connect pressure points throughout the body. Each area of the body has a yin point and a yang point. The type of ailment will determine what area of the meridian pathway to treat.