Acupuncture has its roots deeply planted in China. Authorities agree the science is between 5,000 and 7,000 years old. What was originally a sadistic form of torture became a healing art available only to the rich and powerful dynasties of China. In time, its use spread throughout ancient Egypt, the Middle East, into the Roman Empire and later into western Europe as merchants and missionaries to China told of the amazing discoveries of the people of the Orient. Here in the U.S., acupuncture was mostly unheard of and thought only to be a strange and brutal rite of passage until 1971 when diplomatic relations between China and America were renewed.
The art of acupuncture and then acupressure is based on the idea that our body is an energy system. This energy know as Chi or Qi (pronounced Chee) flows throughout the body on 14 separate pathways known as the meridian lines.
Western medicine argues that these lines do not exist. And, indeed you can neither see nor measure them. Experiments have demonstrated that the human ''machinery'' runs on an electrical current of between 50-100 au, or microapmeres, which measures to be one-millionth that of normal household current.
It is believed that during times of pain or dysfunction the Qi becomes stagnant or non-free flowing. The trained acupuncturist, after taking a lengthy history and examining the patient thoroughly, will then stimulate one or more key acupoints on the body that will restore the flow of the Qi and bring harmony and health.
As for acupressure, anyone can successfully use it. There are literally thousands of acupressure points on the ears, hands, head, face and feet which are best suited for acupressure. Acupressure points that need stimulating will be sore to the touch. After locating a tender spot, hold steady moderately-deep pressure with the pad of your thumb or index finder for 20-30 seconds, the release and gently massage the area. If some relief is achieved, you've found the correct point. If not, try another. The procedure can be repeated 1-2 more times.
Here are some common points I use for myself and my clients:
Sinus problems: Apply pressure simultaneously on both sides at the base of the nostrils. You should feel a relief of headache, pressure or possibly the nose will run.
Insomnia: Apply pressure on the inside of the wrist at the base of the hand, on the side of the little finger.
Sciatica: Apply pressure just below and on the outside of the knee.
Indigestion: This point known as the ''Grandfather Grandson'' is on the inside arch of the foot about midway between the big toe and the heel. Or, apply pressure in the lower center of the palm between the muscle at the base of the thumb and the muscle at the base of the little finger -- where the palm lines converge.
Carpal tunnel syndrome: Apply pressure in the center of the palm.
Remember, when using these techniques, the area in question will usually be sore to very tender; let that be your guide. Overuse of these techniques or too much pressure can cause more soreness or trauma. So use them but don't abuse them!
Till next time, Rebecca.