5 IMPRESSIVE BENEFITS OF ACUPRESSURE
The benefits of acupressure are seemingly never-ending. You name it and there is most likely at least one, if not multiple, acupressure points that are known to be helpful. In general, acupressure can help to release tension, boost circulation & reduce pain. Here are some top acupressure benefits for common health concerns:
1. RELIEVING PAIN
One of the most popular generals uses for acupressure is definitely pain relief. A systematic review published in 2014 in the journal Pain Management Nursing Studies looked at studies (from 1996 to 2011) where acupressure was used as a form of treatment and its effectiveness at reducing pain was evaluated. What kind of pain are we talking about with all of these many studies? Examples of conditions that led to pain for study subjects included conditions such as chronic headaches, lower back pain, labor pains, dysmenorrhea & “other traumatic pains.”
Overall, the review concludes:
Acupressure has been shown to be effective for relieving a variety of pains in different populations. The review begins to establish a credible evidence base for the use of acupressure in pain relief. The implication for health care providers would be incorporating acupressure into their practice as an alternative therapy to facilitate patients who suffer from pain.
A randomized, controlled clinical trial published in The American Journal of Chinese Medicine has more specific results when it comes to headache pain. The researchers found that “one month of acupressure treatment is more effective in reducing chronic headache than one month of muscle relaxant treatment, and that the effect remains six months after treatment.”
The most popular acupressure point for pain and tension is probably LI4, aka the “joining valley” or “hand valley point.” This point can be found in the firm skin between the thumb and index finger. It’s very easy to manipulate with the fingers of your other hand.
2. REDUCING PMS SYMPTOMS
For many women, premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a dreaded thing to deal with month after month. There are certain things you can do to reduce PMS symptoms, including making changes to your diet. It also appears that acupressure can improve these unwanted symptoms. Research shows that manipulating acupressure points LI4 and LV3 (also known as LIV3) may help. LV3 is located on your foot about two finger-widths above the place where the skin of your big toe and the next to join.
A study published in 2017 in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine looked at the effects of acupressure on the quality of life in women with PMS. This randomized, single-blinded clinical trial had 97 participants with PMS receive 20 minutes of acupressure on different points for the two weeks before menstruation for three consecutive menstrual cycles. Subjects received acupressure on either LV3, LI4 or a placebo point.
What did the researchers find? Both LV3 and LI4 were highly effective acupressure points for reducing PMS. The number of subjects with moderate/severe PMS decreased in LV3 and LI4 acupressure groups by the second and third cycles compared with the placebo group. In addition, anxiety and depression scores “significantly decreased” in the LV3 & LI4 groups by the second and third cycles compared with the placebo group.
3. CALMING NAUSEA
One of the most popular acupressure points used for nausea and vomiting is pressure point P6 or Pc6. P6 is located on your inner arm near your wrist. It works so well that Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer center recommends acupressure on this point to relieve nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy.
It’s common for some patients to experience nausea after surgery. Research has shown that acupressure is “an effective minimal risk and low-cost adjunctive therapy for prevention and treatment” of postoperative nausea and vomiting in high-risk ambulatory surgical patients. The specific acupressure point used was P6.
The stomach 44 pressure point or S44, also referred to as the “inner courtyard”, is another well-known point targeted for nausea relief. There are also several other acupressure points that can be helpful for nausea and vomiting including S36 and CV22.
4. INDUCING LABOR
Many pregnant women don’t want to be induced using unnatural means which is why many turn to alternative methods like acupressure or acupuncture. A review of 22 randomized controlled trials involving more than 3,400 pregnant women concludes that while acupressure (and acupuncture) do not appear to decrease the need for a Caesarean section, acupressure “may increase the readiness of the cervix for labor.”
Pressure points for labor include LI4, BL67, SP6, BL60, PC8 and BL32. Points like these are believed to boost blood flow to the uterus, affect hormonal responses and encourage uterine contractions.
Of course, pregnant women should check with her doctor before using acupressure to induce labor. The same thing goes for acupuncture to induce labor.
Sleep issues, like insomnia, plague many people today. The good news? Acupressure may be able to help. A randomized controlled trial published in 2017 in the Journal of Sleep Research looked at the effects of self-acupressure for alleviating insomnia. The 31 male and female subjects with insomnia disorder were randomized to receive two lessons on self-administered acupressure or sleep hygiene education.
The acupressure group performed acupressure on themselves for four weeks. By week eight, the subjects in the self-administered acupressure group had a lower (yet not statistically significant) Insomnia Severity Index (ISI) score than the subjects in the sleep hygiene education group. More studies are warranted, but overall the study concludes, “self-administered acupressure with the Yogapressure mat may be a feasible approach to improve insomnia.”
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HOW MANY ACUPRESSURE POINTS?
- The Mat has 6,210 acupressure points
- Neck Pillow has 1,782 acupressure points
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