Acupressure is a kind of physical Chinese medical treatment. The principal of it is quite similar to acupuncture. It is based on the concept of life energy or "Qi" which flows through some crucial points in the body. In treatment, physical pressure is applied to acupuncture points by using doctors' fingers, elbows or many other devices. By doing this it can clear the blockages in the meridians and stop the pain.
Although acupressure is not as widely used as acupuncture, records show that the history of it is actually older than acupuncture by more than 2500 years. Unlike acupuncture, it doesn't need any needles but only physical pressures. Since acupressure relies on neither tools nor equipment, it is more accessible than other medical techniques and can be easily taught to people to enable them to do self-treatment in their own home.
Some East Asian martial arts also use acupressure for self-defence as well as for maintaining health. They believe that if you attack some points suddenly, you can manipulate or incapacitate your opponents. Also, martial artists regularly massage their own acupressure points to remove "blocks" to thereby boost their circulation and flexibility. This kind of practice is usually included in novels with swordsmen.
According to a Chinese medical theory, the acupressure points are related to the meridians in one's body. By applying pressure on the points it can strengthen the function of the corresponding organs thus can relieve pain. The purpose of acupressure is to let the qi and blood in people's body move smoothly.
Some medical studies have shown that acupressure may be effective at helping to alleviate nausea and vomiting as well as reducing back pain, headaches, tension and stomach aches among others. However, its mainly practiced for the relief of temporary pain.
Recent studies have also shown a correlation in the reduction of spondylopathy and lumbar muscle strain.
From a practical perspective, acupressure has several distinct advantages: non - invasive, potentially free and relatively easy to learn. Also, the fact that it doesn't require any tools to be inserted into skin makes it look safer, less dangerous and appealing for many to try.