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Many people look at acupressure for the treatment and management of pains with skepticism. However, acupressure is a contemporary medicinal practice that has been practiced for centuries.
Originating in China, acupressure is a type of acupuncture that does not use needles but instead uses the pressure of thumbs on specific points to balance the flow of energy in the body. (1)
These specific points are referred to as trigger points or acupoints. It is believed that these points are located along the meridians of the body, which are channels that balance the qi and maintain health.
These meridians are connected to organs and tissues, and the activation of these points can therefore affect these organs to relieve pain and improve outcomes. (1)
The advantages of acupressure are it is noninvasive, is inexpensive, and can be done at home by the person experiencing pain or their caregiver.
Back Pain – How Badly Does It Affect You?
Acupressure is a popular management technique for back pain as it may clear blockages to energy flow. Many studies have reported the use of acupressure for a month can decrease pain, improve function, and reduce disability for at least 6 months. (2)
Acupressure Points for Back Pain Relief
According to a study done on nurses, among whom low back pain is the most commonly observed work-related disorder, the use of acupressure on specific points resulted in a significant improvement in pain. (3)
The method involved applying 3–4 kg pressure using thumbs on the following points. (3)
- H7 (Heart 7) – A point on the inner wrist below the crease of the palm in line with the little finger.
- K1 (Kidney 1) – On the sole of the foot.
- BL60 (Bladder 60) – Behind the bone on the ankle joint.
- BL32 (Bladder 32) – The lowest point at the base of the spine.
- GB30 (Gall Bladder 30) – Back of the leg on the outer side of the gluteus (butt).
- Auricular points – Certain points on the ear are taped with a small seed, and the patients are asked to press these points whenever they feel pain. Studies have reported improvement in the feeling of pain upon such treatment. (4)
Precautions to Consider
Acupressure involves modulating pressure points on the human body and it is very important to consult a professional as it is likely that self-administration may cause incorrect points to be pressed, which may lead to worsening of the pain.
How long does it take for acupressure to work?
Generally, improvements can be observed in acute pain in the first session. Your practitioner may suggest follow-ups for long-lasting effects.
Can I self-administer acupressure?
Acupressure can be self-administered provided you learn the location of pressure points upon consultation with your practitioner.
Acupressure is a very reliable contemporary remedy for pain relief. It can be a safe and effective noninvasive remedy for lower back pain, which is one of the most debilitating conditions in the adult population.
Care needs to be taken when practicing acupressure as too much pressure or applying it to the wrong points can worsen the symptoms.