Acupuncture: Origin, History, and How to Massage Your Pressure Points
Ever wonder how those tiny needles work their magic? How does acupuncture cure such a wide range of health conditions? Well-known for its incredible healing powers, this alternative medicine may seem a little unorthodox at first, but the results speak for themselves.
There’s a reason acupuncture has been around for centuries. While it’s mainly used for treating pain, it’s used for overall health well-being, including stress management.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It involves the insertion of small, stainless steel needles into various points on the body. These acupuncture points are found along pathways (meridians) where energy flows. The needles help balance the flow of energy.
The Origin of Acupuncture
Dating back 2,500 years ago, this healing technique originated in China. It soon became popular in all Asian countries and as time passed, acupuncture was being practiced all over the world.
Instead of using needles, the original form of acupuncture used sharpened stones and bones. It’s true! Needles replaced these ancient tools with advancements in medicine.
Acupuncture was first mentioned in Neijing (which was later translated), considered to be the highest authority of traditional Chinese medicine.
The Health Benefits of Acupuncture
Acupuncture provides a wide range of mental and physical benefits:
- Alleviates stress
- Boosts blood flow
- Lowers inflammation
- Stimulates the release of endorphins and serotonin, “feel good” chemicals in the body
- Relieves muscle tension
- Brings the body into balance
It is scientifically-proven to help treat low back pain, neck pain, headaches, nausea, morning sickness, arthritis, postoperative pain, depression and more.
Acupuncture as Therapy
As with all types of medicine, the approach to treatment is based on the severity of the health issue. If the issue is chronic, it will require more sessions to see results. Acupuncture is used as therapy to address imbalances in the body and improve bodily systems.
However, acupuncture is typically recommended in combination with other types of treatment. Your lifestyle is also taken into consideration, Alternative medicine practitioners will often go through your diet, exercise and other health habits to make sure you get the most out of treatment.
How to Massage Your Pressure Points
While going to a professional is a great option, there are several effective techniques you can do at home. Two common problem areas for people are shoulders and lower back.
For shoulder pain, find the spot between your thumb and index finger. Press until you feel a slight pain. Hold for a count of five. Release. Repeat three times. To get the most out of acupressure, you'll want to use firm, deep pressure in a rotating up and down motion.
For lower back pain, there are two pressure points: one on your waist and one on your calf.
Here’s what to do for the pressure point on your waist. In a standing position, take hold of your waist with both hands with your thumbs placed around your back. Use deep pressure in a circular motion for five seconds. Repeat this movement three times.
For the pressure point on your calf, use the same technique and hold for a count of five. Repeat two times.
Foot Massage for Anxiety
Who doesn’t love a great foot massage? There are also several pressure points in your feet, and when activated, can promote relaxation. Research shows reflexology can help lower pain and bring the mind and body into a calm state.
Here’s a foot massage specifically for reducing anxiety:
- Curl your toes.
- Hold your foot with one hand. Using the other hand, press your thumb on the indent in the ball of your foot.
- Apply firm pressure to this area in a circular motion.
- Repeat on the other foot.