Acupressure is a safe, gentle, non-invasive alternative therapy used throughout the world to alleviate the symptoms of a range of common health conditions. This therapy is closely related to other forms of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), such as acupuncture and shiatsu. One of the key ways in which TCM differs from Western medicine is that it focuses on the entire body in terms of its qi (energy) rather than on specific diseases or symptoms. When the qi is flowing freely and smoothly through the body, say proponents of TCM, the natural result is good health. However, if this energy flow becomes blocked, it can interfere with the person’s health and well-being. Can acupressure indeed restore balance to the body and relieve physical symptoms, such as pain and inflammation?
What is acupressure?
Acupressure has been used for thousands of years, applying the same principles as acupuncture to promote wellness and relaxation. You may even think of acupressure as acupuncture without needles. The theory behind acupressure suggests that there are unique points in the body (known as acupoints or acupressure points) located along the channels through which the qi flows. It is believed that these channels can become blocked, causing illness, and that acupressure can help restore balance and health.
When you receive acupressure, you’ll meet with a practitioner who will use their fingers, palms, elbows, or even their feet to apply pressure to specific acupoints. Depending on your conditions and preferences, your acupressure treatments may also include other methods, such as stretching or massage.
However, not all health professionals believe that acupressure is effective or even that these energy channels exist in the first place. Instead, they attribute the positive results of acupressure to other factors, such as improved circulation, muscle relaxation, or endorphin stimulation. Regardless of the real explanation, though, one thing is for sure: acupressure does appear to help a great many people get relief from their pain and other unpleasant symptoms.
What does science say?
There are, in fact, numerous studies suggesting that acupressure can have a positive impact on a variety of symptoms. For example, acupressure may help alleviate the swelling and pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation throughout the body, but most commonly in the hands and knees. In the joints, this inflammation leads to fluid buildup and degradation, which in turn causes chronic pain. It appears that acupressure, whether used alone or combined with other treatments, can be beneficial for patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
Acupressure can also help relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis. A 2017 study concluded that patients with knee osteoarthritis who tried acupressure experienced significant improvement when compared with their usual care. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, occurring when the cartilage that cushions your joints wears down with age. While this damage cannot be reversed, symptoms can be managed. Maintaining a healthy weight and staying active are important goals for anyone with osteoarthritis; other treatments such as over-the-counter pain medications, physical therapy, and cortisone injections can also help improve symptoms. Adding acupressure to your osteoarthritis treatment regimen may help you achieve greater levels of pain relief and a higher quality of life overall.
Incidentally, acupressure isn’t only good for humans. In the same way that it can help relieve pain and inflammation in humans, acupressure may also be beneficial for your dog. Of course, if your pet seems to be in pain, it’s vital to consult your veterinarian first for an accurate diagnosis. If you’d like to add acupressure to the prescribed treatment to provide as much pain relief as possible, here is a helpful guide to performing this therapy at home.
Should you try acupressure for your arthritis?
Whether or not you should try acupressure depends on several factors, such as your specific conditions, how you feel about trying TCM, and what your doctor advises. In general, acupressure appears to be a safe therapy for most people. If you’d like to add acupressure to your current treatments and your doctor gives the okay, then go ahead – you may stand to benefit significantly from this ancient holistic practice.
Whether you decide to try acupressure or not, there are still many things that you can do to help minimize inflammation and joint pain. As mentioned, staying active and watching your weight are two fundamental strategies. Your diet is also crucial, as it provides the opportunity to consume the vital nutrients that your body needs to function at its best.
Finally, a good omega-3 supplement can help reduce inflammation throughout your body, possibly leading to more pain relief and better mobility. If you have a condition associated with inflammation, such as arthritis or asthma, or you want to do everything you can to prevent inflammation from causing these types of problems in the first place, consider adding GLX3 to your diet on a daily basis.
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