The concept of acupressure and acupuncture can be pretty confusing. Khevna Pandit tells you more about a few essentials regarding these traditional Chinese healings
You may have heard about acupressure and acupuncture, and perhaps, like most people, you think that this age-old art of healing is nothing but hokum. A lot remains unclear on the topic, but the fact is that these techniques can cure and ease several ailments, when performed correctly.
Both techniques are based on traditional Chinese healing systems. Interestingly, legend has it that thousands of years ago, a wounded Chinese solider developed a stiff shoulder, which was healed after he inadvertently underwent acupuncture — by getting shot in the leg with arrows! Acupressure has also been practised in India as an extension of Ayurveda. It is common to see Indian villagers with earrings placed at specific points on their ears to treat diseases elsewhere in the body. Both acupressure and acupuncture stem from the belief that symptoms and diseases are caused by an imbalance or blockage of energy flow in the body, and that these techniques can help restore the flow of energy, thereby improving health and well-being.
Is there any science to this?
Acupressure and acupuncture revolve around applying pressure with the hand or help of an elbow, or with the aid of devices, on different points on the body. Traditional Chinese healers believed that the body is an energetic entity balanced by two opposite forces such as Yin and Yang. They also believed in restoring the flow of qi (the life force every person and thing possesses) and that balancing Yin and Yang can improve your health.
A study at the Institute of Preventive Medicine at the National Taiwan University in Taipei showed an 89% reduction in significant disability in those who were treated with acupressure, when compared with those treated with physical therapy.
What’s the difference?
While the difference between physical therapy and acupressure is pretty clear by the name, how will you know what is best suited for your ailment? Acupressure is older than acupuncture and is effective for common discomforts such as migraines, headaches, depression, anxiety and arthritis. Acupuncture, on the other hand, involves inserting tiny needles in your body along energy channels to heal certain health problems. When compared with acupressure, acupuncture triggers a stronger reaction using needles to activate the body’s innate healing ability. These needles are hair-thin and flexible, allowing the acupuncturist to insert them into the patient’s body painlessly. Since acupuncture involves a greater deal of accuracy, people tend to prefer it over acupressure. However, pain can worsen if it is performed incorrectly or without medical supervision.