Acupressure vs. Acupuncture
If you’re new to the alternative healthcare field, you may have heard the terms “acupuncture” and “acupressure” and be wondering if these two therapies are the same.
Both acupuncture and acupressure are based on ancient Chinese medicine, and while these therapies aim to achieve the same result – that being to reduce or eliminate mental and/or physical pain – they are carried out using very different techniques.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these therapies so that you can gain a better understanding of each and determine which type of therapy would help ease your pain.
What Is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years in China and across Asia. The main aim of this treatment is to achieve a balance of the “yin” and “yang” of the life force of “qi.” Any disruption of these natural energy flows is what is believed to be responsible for your health problems.
Acupuncture is carried out via stimulation of anatomical locations in the skin or on the surface. This therapy is most often carried out by inserting solid, thin, metallic needles into the skin to restore energy balance in the body.
These needles can be operated either manually or by using electrical stimulation. Once the needles are inserted, they are left in the body for a certain period of time that is determined by the practitioner.
Many individuals avoid acupuncture due to their fear of needles, or pain. However, it’s important to keep in mind that when acupuncture is performed by a trained professional, insertion of the tiny needles should not cause any pain.
What Is Acupressure?
Acupressure is another ancient Chinese method of healing that has also been practiced for thousands of years. Acupressure does not involve the use of any needles or sharp objects, which is why many people opt for this type of therapy rather than acupuncture.
Acupressure uses the same principles to help restore the health and wellbeing inside the body; however, it works by applying simple pressure to specific points in the body.
This therapy is practiced by using gentle pressure, applied by the hands of the practitioner. The fingers of the practitioner are used to press into the key points on the surface of the skin and this, in turn, helps to release muscular tension.
Are The Points Of Acupressure And Acupuncture The Same?
Qi is believed to flow through specific meridians (pathways) in the body. Access to these meridians is achieved via 350 acupoints in the body.
These points can be categorized according to the functional effects they can have on the body and can be accessed and controlled by both needles and touch.
Therefore, in both acupuncture and acupressure, the acupoints that are stimulated are the same.
Does Acupressure Have Different Benefits Than Acupuncture?
Acupuncture and acupressure both help in restoring proper energy flow throughout the body. Since both of these therapies help in reaching the same goal – the reduction of mental or physical pain – the benefits of these therapies are similar as well.
The benefits that both acupuncture and acupressure provide include:
- Help to relieving stress and tension within the body
- Relax your mind and body
- Help to increase the circulation of blood inside the body
- Help to remove toxic waste from the body
- Provide relief from aching in the head, neck, and shoulders
- Promote the healing of injuries
- Increase your energy levels
- Increase overall feeling of well-being
- Decrease labor pains
- Help in treating anxiety
Acupressure vs. Acupuncture: What Therapy Is Better For Which Condition?
Even though both acupressure and acupuncture have similar benefits, they can be used in treating different medical conditions. You can choose from these treatments based on the medical conditions they treat and based on what you are more comfortable with.
The medical conditions that can be treated with acupuncture include:
- Chemotherapy nausea and vomiting
- Menstrual cramps
- Post-operative dental pain
- Stroke rehabilitation
- Tennis elbow
- Muscle pain
- Low back pain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
Acupressure, on the other hand, can be effective in treating similar problems to acupuncture and is also beneficial for some unique issues. Mentioned below are the problems that can be treated with acupressure:
- Sinus problem
- Muscle aches
- Neck pain
- Tension due to stress
- Reducing overall body tension
- Increasing blood circulation within the body
- Promoting wellness in your body
- Making your body resistant to disease
- Balancing the body
When To Choose Acupuncture Vs. Acupressure?
Acupuncture is typically recommended for people who have a specific health condition or diagnosis from their medical practitioner.
Patients that use acupuncture tend to have more chronic problems such as chronic pain, migraines, headaches, emotional pain, hormonal issues (especially females with menopause and PMS symptoms) and insomnia.
Acupressure, on the other hand, is considered as a self-healing modality. This is a beneficial treatment for minor ailments such as nausea or motion sickness, and even morning sickness. All you have to do is figure out the right pressure points and massage these areas for a few seconds at a time.
Both acupuncture and acupuncture are rooted in ancient Chinese medicine, and both of these therapies are based on the same principles and use the same acupoints in the body.
Don’t allow your fear of needles or pain to keep you from experiencing the extensive benefits of acupuncture. The needles are tiny, and when they are inserted by a trained professional, you should not feel pain at all.
However, ultimately, whether you choose acupuncture or acupressure is based on personal preference, and you will experience health benefits from either technique.