Acupuncture vs. Acupressure FAQs

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What’s the difference between acupuncture and acupressure?

Acupuncture involves the insertion of needles into specific points in the body by a licensed acupuncturist. Acupressure uses firm pressure to massage those points, with similar effects.  


Can you do acupressure at home?

Yes.  While acupuncture generates stronger stimulation of strategic points in the body, acupressure is a great self-healing alternative that individuals can do at home to help circulate Qi, increase blood flow and decrease stagnation in the body.  The key is to focus on a few specific channels and work with points that are easy to reach. For guidance on acupressure at home, book a virtual session with one of our licensed acupuncturists. You can book through the ORA website.


How does acupressure relieve stress and anxiety? 

Acupuncture and acupressure work in the same way. To treat anxiety and stress, we focus on points that calm the spirit.  Using slow, rhythmic strokes to stimulate these points will help activate the channels and break up stagnation. Chinese medicine focuses on balance and movement of Qi throughout the body.  Stagnation in the body occurs when a person is anxious or under extreme stress.  Acupressure can help open up the channels in the body, relieve stagnation and dissipate negative emotions. 


How does acupressure work?

Every person has an internal map that traditional Chinese medicine refers to as “channels” in the body. Located on these channels are specific points that when stimulated can help rebalance the system. Applying pressure to these points stimulates the nervous system and brain to increase the flow of Qi and blood throughout the body. Acupressure also causes the release of nitric oxide and endorphins which help lower your blood pressure and trigger positive feelings.


Can you feel a measurable difference before and after acupressure?

If done properly using the correct points and with the proper massage technique, acupressure can be extremely effective. Proactively opening up the channels in the body can relax the system and calm the spirit, relieving pain, stress and anxiety. 


How often would you recommend performing acupressure? 

The more pain, stress and anxiety one has the more I would recommend doing acupressure.  Generally, I recommend doing acupressure at least two to three times a day.


Are there any other tools or products that can promote better results?

Using your hands (or a partner’s hands) and fingers is the best way to do acupressure. A calming massage oil can also be a great addition to the treatment.


Do you have any special acupressure techniques or tips?

  • Creating a calm, peaceful environment is essential to acupressure treatments. You don’t have to do acupressure in your home.  It can be somewhere in nature that makes you feel calm and relaxed.  If you don’t have the luxury of a lot of space or to be in nature, doing acupressure wherever you can and whenever you have time can still be very helpful to achieving peace of mind.  For instance, I have created a calm space in my bedroom that I go to when the rest of my family is busy so I can take a few moments for myself. 
  • Try spending fifteen to twenty minutes at least two times a day doing acupressure where you need it most.  
  • Create a soothing environment with soft music and a calming scent.  
  • Massage the area and focus on circulating Qi up and down the meridians.

Any final thoughts?

When acupuncture is not an available option, acupressure is a great alternative during these uncertain, stressful times. We need to do everything in our power to keep our system balanced, calm the spirit and strengthen our immunity.