Acupressure is manual stimulation (touching, or pressing) of acupuncture points and other body parts. For many patients, acupressure can feel like massage therapy in that it feels good and is relaxing. However, Acupressure is therapeutic in a different way than massage therapy because it uses Chinese Medical principles to govern the treatment. This means that specific points and areas are targeted that may be different than the muscle groups used in massage therapy. Also some of the techniques in Acupressure and Tui-Na are also found in massage therapy, such as “rubbing” and “rolling,” but others like, “kneading” are not.
Tui-Na is the Chinese term for acupressure. Tui- Na can range from gentle touching of acupuncture/acupressure points all the way to intense manual stimulation of muscles with various techniques. Tui-Na can also include joint manipulation similar to chiropractic and physical therapy manipulation techniques.
Tui-Na and acupressure are great for young children and the elderly. It is usually a mild form of treatment and this is why it is so good for sensitive people and patients. Headaches, back pain and digestive symptoms are conditions that generally respond well to acupressure.
Unlike massage therapy Tui-Na is usually done without any oils or liniments (although topical herbs can be helpful for many patients). Tui-Na can even be done over clothing so it is very easy to use in a modern clinical setting.
We generally use acupuncture for most of our patients instead of Tui-Na because acupuncture is generally more effective (stronger and more immediate results) in most cases. The style of acupuncture that we use is so gentle that it is easy for patients of all ages.
Both acupressure and Tui-Na have been used for several thousand years and are common treatment methods in Chinese Medicine. The main advantage to acupressure is that it easy to do, requires no tools or special instruments, and has few side effects or contra-indications.