WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?
Acupressure and acupuncture are both classified as types of Asian body work and both possess the ancient healing powers of Chinese medicine. However, it can be tough to differentiate what benefits each method can help you achieve. I hope to show you just how unique acupuncture and acupressure truly are.
Acupuncture and acupressure do have many similarities. Both methods are described as holistic medicine since they both work with our body’s meridians that carry energy throughout our body and focus on overall balance. These traditional Chinese practices help alleviate ailments that cause blockage along our 14 meridians, therefore, you can depend on acupuncture and acupressure to encourage a free flow of energy within our channels.
A Chinese practitioner would have to examine the patient according to their tradition. A thorough diagnosis of the patient’s condition would need to be derived so that they can better choose which type of healing your body needs. Acupuncture must be performed by an expert in the field of traditional Chinese medicine. It is more precise than acupressure because it deals with specific pressure points related to nerves in the body. Acupuncture has been known to treat diseases that have been known to resist most other treatments. Acupressure is an ancient Chinese massage known as Shiatsu and can be learned from a handbook rather than someone that has studied Chinese medicine. There are no needles involved with acupressure and it is simply the art of the human healing touch.
Both acupuncture and acupressure are forms of alternative medicine that do not involve surgeries, medication or extensive doctor visits. Acupuncture and acupressure both have their roots in Chinese medicine. Principles of Chinese medicine center around the idea that the body is a small part of the universe. Disease is viewed as an imbalance and Chinese practitioners throughout history have developed an intricate system of how organs relate to the physical and mental systems of the human condition. Acupuncture and acupressure are both very different. Acupressure is the art of using needles to pinpoint pressure points and acupressure is healing through finger pressure massage techniques.
Since both acupuncture and acupressure work with chi, they are used to treat issues such as allergies, nausea, migraines and headaches, depression, arthritis, and anxiety.
Acupuncture is very interesting compared to Western practices. Acupuncture uses thin needles that go into the skin to treat health problems. Acupressure, on the other hand, does not break the skin. Although tiny needles are being inserted into your body along the energy channels, acupuncture needles do not hurt—these needles are extremely thin and flexible, which allows the acupuncturist to insert them painlessly into tissue and muscle near pressure points.
In summary, acupuncture and acupressure are both healing techniques. Acupuncture requires much accurate, however, great relief comes quickly with the application of the thin needles. Since acupressure uses wider tools like elbows and fingers, the results might take longer to experience.
If you are deciding between both of these special treatments, acupressure is the safest choice. It may be harder to achieve the most accurate results but acupressure is more difficult to do wrong, which could further worsen your current aches and pains.
Whether you choose acupuncture or acupressure, you will definitely feel the healing effects of Chinese medicine on the body and its energy channels.
The primary difference between acupressure and acupuncture is that the latter uses thin needles in addressing health concerns, while the former doesn’t break your skin. However, the two methods of holistic medicine have much in common, since they are both based on touching meridians that carry energy, or chi, throughout the body. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, TCM, ailments are caused by blockages of chi somewhere along fourteen meridians, so both acupressure and acupuncture encourage energy to flow freely once again; they are used to treat allergies, arthritis, depression, nausea, migraine headaches, menstrual cramps, and anxiety, according to the philosophy of TCM.
Acupuncture, as the word suggests, punctures the skin with very thin, long needles. They do not resemble the needles you see at a western doctor’s office, for they don’t inject any material. Acupuncture needles are flexible lengths of disposable, hypoallergenic, sterile metal that a trained acupuncturist delicately inserts beneath the skin, into muscle and tissue. When properly done, this shouldn’t hurt at all. The needles reach certain areas, called pressure points, to break up the blockages.
One difference between acupressure and acupuncture arises in the specific application of the techniques. Acupuncture must be performed by a practitioner experienced in TCM. Several pressure points in specific combinations are accessed at the same time. The acupuncturist needs to reach bare skin; therefore the patient usually disrobes prior to being treated.
Anyone can easily learn acupressure from a handbook, especially pressure points that relieve common discomforts. You can perform the miniature massages on yourself, anywhere. Massaging the muscle located between your thumb and index finger is believed to relieve dehydration headaches, while pressing a spot on the inside of your forearm eases motion sickness. Since this is similar to massage, it can be administered through loose clothing.
Acupressure is much older than acupuncture, dating back to 2500 BCE in China. Both practices have been recently evaluated by western standards of medicine; some studies have found them to be efficacious. For example, cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and suffering from extreme nausea used acupressure, applied through a bracelet, to curb their nausea with consistent results.
In general, since an acupuncture tool is so thin, it requires greater accuracy, yet might bring quicker relief. On the other hand, acupressure is less precise since the tool is as wide as a finger. Then again, speedy relief can come with side effects from releasing toxins or realigning muscle groups. Acupressure produces fewer side effects, similar to a deep tissue massage, and is more difficult to do “wrongly” to worsen the ailment.
Acupuncture is the most widely practiced technique of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and is focused on by both popular media and scientific research. An even older practice, acupressure, is also worth noting and exploring for its benefits. Both practices stem from TCM and they share the same view on the body and its Qi network. Both can also be used to treat symptoms such as pain, nausea, stress, depression etc. Still, there are some differences between acupressure and acupuncture.
As the name implies, acupressure uses pressure to stimulate Qi points rather than needles. This pressure can be applied by hand (fingers, palms, elbows, etc.) or tool. Like acupuncture, acupressure can also reach meridians within the body, such as the large intestine, liver and spleen, to treat the body in different ways.
Clinically, there have been more studies and trials performed on the effectiveness of acupuncture than acupressure. Still, acupressure does offer some benefits over acupuncture. Although acupuncture is typically a pain free experience, acupressure, laser or cupping can be used when someone is not comfortable with needles.
Acupuncture and acupressure offer benefits to those seeking treatment for anything from pain to anxiety. Depending on your preference and prognosis, one treatment may be more appropriate than the other so a proper consultation is recommended before proceeding with either treatment.
Although both forms of ancient Chinese medicine deal with alternative ways to heal infections and diseases that reject modern medicines, acupuncture and acupressure are both very different.
- Acupressure should only be used to treat minor aches and pains
- Acupressure relieves stress and offers the patient deep muscle and tissue relaxation
- Acupuncture is used to pinpoint nerves from the source of more serious illnesses
- Acupuncture is known to treat certain cancers neck back and joint injuries and even fibromyalgia.