Generally speaking, acupressure techniques are relatively easy to apply. This is of course, providing a good working knowledge of the acupressure points’ locations and indications is understood. With this in mind, the application of acupressure is merely a matter of practice. Good posture and a correct stance are very important aspects for the effective application of acupressure. If you, the practitioner, are not in a good posture and an appropriate position that is relative to the area or acupoints to be treated, then not only will the treatment outcome be jeopardised, but you could also put unnecessary strain upon yourself. If this continues over a period of time after treating many patients, you may find yourself also seeking a therapist!
This is not something that can really be taught in words, it has to be shown and practiced. Anybody that has been practicing tai chi for some length of time will have more of an understanding about correct posture and how to apply acupressure correctly through their physical structure to their fingertips, thumbs and palms etc. This is a very important part of applying acupressure techniques correctly because it will give your patient the maximum effect from the treatment, with the least amount of effort and strain to you, the practitioner. The importance of these basic principles of acupressure practice can’t be emphasised enough. If you sustain injury, however mild, it will hinder your progress as a therapist and reduce your potential to help others and to also earn a living.
Acupressure using Body weight
To put it in simple terms, wherever possible and appropriate, use your own bodyweight to apply a co-ordinated and even pressure to give acupressure to your patients. This will ensure they get a steady, even and controlled pressure, while at the same time you use less energy. As already mentioned, if you are a complete beginner you probably won’t be able to apply these principles. You will need to attend a course to be shown how to utilise your posture correctly, in order to effectively and efficiently apply acupressure to your patients.
Note: the picture on the right offers a lovely visual photograph of acupressure to Colon 4. However, the person giving the acupressure technique is actually not in the best position for this point. You can see there would be some mild strain on the practitioner’s fingers and hand if they practiced acupressure techniques this way every day. To be fair, I do believe this photo was actually taken this way deliberately for photographic purposes, so as to allow a good view of the point while being treated. It just so happens that is also shows us how NOT to give acupressure techniques if we want to remain strain and injury free.
In addition to the basic posture and position of the practitioner there are other aspects of administering acupressure that affect the overall treatment. Basically these are; the amount of pressure that should be applied, what digit or other aspect of the practitioner’s anatomy should be used to apply the pressure, and how the pressure should be applied, i.e. static, circular or intermittent pressure. All these things are quite simple but offer the practitioner a variety of applications.
Further practical study is of course necessary for the beginner to fully understand and utilise these principles in practice.
Learning how to apply acupressure techniques correctly requires that you are first taught the basics on a good acupressure course. The practice of Tai Chi and other similar disciplines will also greatly help to increase your level of acupressure skills by increasing your postural awareness. Tai Chi teaches you how to stand and move correctly from a bodily structure viewpoint. As you become better at Tai Chi, so too will your acupressure because you will be standing and applying the techniques from a more rooted and ‘structurally correct’ posture. The patient will feel this ‘power’ through your technique. If you’ve ever had a treatment from such a person you would know what I mean here. Tai Chi also helps to cultivate your Chi levels which again all helps.
Practice makes perfect as the saying goes and this is true here also. The more you practice acupressure the better you will become, providing of course you are practicing correctly and not practicing with bad habits.
I hope this helps to offer some kind of introduction on how to understand and apply acupressure techniques correctly. To learn more why not come to our tuina massage course for excellent practical training.