Acupressure is very similar to acupuncture, and is widely used in TCM and other types of medicine that are often referred to as alternative remedies. The name comes from the Latin word for needle, acus, and pressure.

Core Idea of Acupressure

Many martial arts practitioners from East Asia use acupressure for health reasons and self defence. Health wise, TCM practitioners can apply pressure to their own trigger points to help relieve pressure and blockages, which then in turn can assist circulation, mobility, flexibility, and well being. Trigger points are learnt to enable one to render an opponent incapable, or to manipulate an opponent. A martial art fighter often aims for points on an opponent in order to win.


Whilst acupressure for health care has its fair share of detractors, it also has a large number of supporters. There are numerous people who practice acupressure and many more who are treated using the method.  

The concept behind acupressure is based on the idea of a flow of life energy, called qi in Chinese medicine theory Qi-Gong, that courses through the body, following channels known as meridians. There are various trigger points around the body, where the application of pressure can help to relieve blockages to the meridians and enhance the unimpeded flow of qi. Pressure can be applied by various means, including using the hands, the elbows, the feet, or objects.  

Implements and objects that can be used to stimulate pressure points include balls, rollers, mats, and flat ended “needles” that do not puncture the skin. 

When the trigger points are stimulated, Yin and Yang are re-balanced within the body. A balance of the two opposite and complimentary elements is essential for full well-being. Acupressure triggers the body’s own self healing mechanisms.

Acupressure and Alike Techniques 

Cupping works on a similar principle to acupressure, except a reverse pressure is achieved by light suction. A suction cup is placed at a trigger point on the body and the reverse pressure occurs. Reflexology is also similar, working with points on the feet that relate to different parts of the body. The relevant areas are massaged and have pressure applied to them with the aim that it will have a positive benefit on different parts of the body.

An interesting point to bear in mind is that the pressure is not necessarily applied to the part of the body, where the pain or problem is actually occurring. The meridians with a blockage can be anywhere in the body, and therefore the pressure needs to be applied to the points that can relieve the blockages and make the problem better, rather than simply soothing the localised pain.

The Use of Acupressure 

Acupressure is said to be particularly useful for helping to relieve vomiting and feelings of nausea, as well as various aches and pains around the body. It can be used for both chronic and acute pains, with many patients stating a benefit and an easing in pain after using acupressure. It has also been used for women, who are experiencing pain when giving birth.

It can be used to relieve stress and anxiety, and has proved to be effective in helping to treat addictions and mental health illnesses. It can boost the immune system, and can also be used to prevent diseases and illnesses by keeping the body healthy and everything functioning as it should be. Prevention really is better than cure!

Acupressure can also help one to develop spirituality, achieve a greater sense of calm, and generally feel more at peace, calm, content, and satisfied.

It can be used in beauty treatments, helping one to both feel and look better. 

Acupressure Among Other TCM Therapies

Acupressure may be used in isolation, or with other techniques and treatments from TCM. TCM takes a holistic approach to well being, using various methods in combination and treating all problems within the body, not only the signs and symptoms that are outwardly present. A TCM practitioner will give a patient a thorough assessment and examination to decide on a tailored and individual treatment plan. Other things that may be used in conjunction with acupressure may include dietary controls, exercise, herbal therapies, Shiatsu massage, moxibustion, reiki, and more.

TCM is one of the oldest systems of medicine in existence. It has endured the passage of time and its followers have spread around the globe. There are now patients and practitioners in all corners of the world, and TCM has been around for thousands of years.