Reflexology and acupressure are great ways to provide quick discrete relief for a variety of pain and symptoms without having to wait for an appointment, further impeding your routine, or touching sensitive areas where you are experiencing pain.
Acupressure & Reflexology
Used for thousands of years in China, acupressure applies the same principles as acupunctureto promote relaxation and wellness and to treat disease. Sometimes called pressure acupuncture, Acupressure is often thought of as simply acupuncture without the needles.
But what exactly is acupressure and how does it work?
According to WebMD, acupressure practitioners use their fingers, palms, elbows or feet, or special devices to apply pressure to acupoints on the body’s meridians. Sometimes, acupressure also involves acupressure massage or stretching, as well as other methods.
During an acupressure session, you lie fully clothed on a soft massage table. The practitioner gently presses on acupressure points on your body. A session typically lasts about one hour. You may need several sessions for the best results.
The goal of acupressure or other types of Asian bodywork is to reinstate health and balance to the body’s channels of energy and to regulate opposing forces of yin (which is negative energy) and yang (positive energy).
Some proponents claim acupressure not only treats the energy fields and body but also the mind, emotions, and spirit. Some even believe that therapists can transmit the vital energy (external qi) to another person.
Here we have combined approaches of these two practices that you can use, at home or on the go.
Migraines and Headaches
You can ease the pain from headaches and migraines by focusing on the area at the base of the fingernails. Concentrate on the index finger and the webbing between thumb and index finger.
Sinus Pressure and Pain
Face palm towards you and bring your thumb to the pad of your finger and forefinger to the opposite side close to your cuticle. For 1-3 minutes, squeeze and hold the tip of each finger and press firmly. Then, lightly massage the area. Do the same on every finger.
Tension and Pain in the Neck
Start by massaging from the middle part between the knuckle at the top toward the base of the finger. Do this on every finger on both hands.
Warm up the whole thumb by massaging it. It will respond to the stomach and spleen meridians. Also, you can press directly in the center of your palm.
Cold or Sore Throat
Massage the whole thumb and warm it. You can apply pressure for a longer period on the meaty part of the web of your hand. Moreover, apply specific pressure to the thumb on the tissue to the inside by the nail.
Massage the whole hand with a gentle pressure. Then, press directly the point on your middle finger just below and on the side of your nail on the side closest toward the index finger.
Menstrual Cramps or Abdominal Pain
Massage gently the whole hand and then press directly on the point on your index finger just below and on the side of your nail on the side closest to the thumb.
Another location you need to press directly is a point on your small finger just away from the nail on the cuticle line toward the outside.
First, start by massaging your hands together for a minute to boost the energy and sensitivity of your hands. Massage gently by using the fingers and thumb of your opposite hand to warm up the skin.
Press firmly the area of interest using your opposite thumb and fingers. Hold it for 1-5 minutes and repeat 1-5 times as needed, or each day to prevent this problem.
For more gentle areas hold 3-5 seconds. Keep the pressure and start slowly massaging in small clockwise circles up to five times. Then, give the area a small break. Try to move the tissue with this massage, not merely rubbing the skin. Press firmly again up to a minute and then take a break. Do this process up to five times.
Staying hydrated is probably one of the best tips from massage therapists and body workers. It is important because adequate hydration offers optimal health of the tissue, quality circulation, and aids in toxins removal from the bloodstream post massage and otherwise.
Avoid deep pressure to the web of the hand while pregnant. Also, there are areas that can support stimulating uterine contractions, and if you are not in labor and supervised by a professional MT or doula, this practice should be avoided.