Acupressure and Shiatsu are two relatively similar forms of pressure massage that come from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Japanese medicine. Acupressure describes the Chinese form of pressure massage, Shiatsu the Japanese variant. Meanwhile, the massage forms in Germany are becoming increasingly popular. By applying pressure to the acupressure points on the meridians, complaints such as headache or nausea are alleviated. From the perspective of conventional medicine, however, the effectiveness of acupressure and shiatsu has not been proven.
Basic assumptions of acupressure and shiatsu
Acupressure and shiatsu, like acupuncture, are based on the assumption that the human being is healthy only when his life energy - qi - can flow undisturbed. For this the two energy concepts Yin and Yang must be in harmony. However, these can be disturbed by various factors - such as an unhealthy diet, too little exercise, a disease, or uncontrolled emotions.
In order to reconcile the energy concepts, this disturbance must be remedied. For this, the corresponding points on the twelve meridians are massively massaged. The acupressure points are largely the same as acupuncture, but not all points are suitable for pressure treatment. In addition to needle punctures and pressure, the points can also be stimulated by heat (moxibustion).
Massage of pressure points
With acupressure and shiatsu the pressure during the massage is exercised primarily with the fingertips and the thumb tips. However, the palms and elbows can also be used. The massage therapist mainly uses his body weight and less his muscular strength to exert pressure during the massage.
Depending on the desired effect, it is possible to massage in a circular manner around the respective point or to exert vigorous pressure on it. Although this is supposed to be relaxing, it can sometimes be painful. In Shiatsu, in contrast to acupressure, not only individual points are stimulated, but treated more extensively along the meridians.
Areas of application of acupressure and shiatsu
Acupressure and Shiatsu are often used without physical complaints. They are mainly used to maintain good health.
In addition, they can also be used for certain functional disorders that are not associated with tangible changes in the body. These include, among others
- Circulation problems
- Joint and muscle complaints
- stress-related sleep disorders
- Respiratory diseases
Likewise, acupressure and shiatsu can help relieve pain. Most often you will be used for headaches or migraines. In addition, the two pressure massage techniques are also recommended for toothache, back pain, joint pain and nausea.
Side effects of acupressure and shiatsu
Importantly, acupressure and shiatsu should only be used to treat functional disorders. If bones, muscles or organs are already damaged, the techniques usually do not work anymore. There is even the danger here of increasing the damage even further. Therefore, massage techniques should not be used on diseased or inflamed parts of the body.
For patients with severe diseases of the cardiovascular system, the pressure massage techniques are also not suitable, since the existing symptoms after the massage may possibly be aggravated for a short time. During pregnancy, do not massage any points related to the abdomen.
Acupressure and Shiatsu can be self-administered, as opposed to acupuncture. Even for the layman, there are no dangers due to the pressure on aching parts of muscles or tendons. However, no pressure should be exerted on diseased or inflamed areas.
The following is a small overview of how you can relieve common ailments such as headache, fatigue and runny nose with a pressure massage. Just place a finger on the respective point and then press, tap or circle. When circling, keep in mind that clockwise circles will attenuate the function, while counterclockwise circles will have an activating effect.
- Headache: Lightly massage the pressure points on the right and left sides of the temple. By stimulating the pressure points, throbbing headaches are relieved.
- In case of cold: In order to get the nose a little freer in case of runny nose, massage your nose, the nostrils and their lower edge. The massage should take about 30 seconds and can be repeated several times a day.
- Fatigue: When tired, it helps to put pressure on a point in the middle of the neck. A mere 15 seconds is enough to make you feel fresher again. It also helps to stimulate the acupressure points to the right and left of the root of the nose with circular movements.