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Acupuncture point LI-4 (Hegu) known in Chinese as (hg)

Acupressure [from Latin acus needle (see acuity) +
pressure (n.)
] is an alternative medicine technique sim-
ilar in principle to acupuncture. It is based on the con-
cept of life energy which ows through meridians in
the body. In treatment, physical pressure is applied to
acupuncture points with the aim of clearing blockages in
these meridians. Pressure may be applied by hand, by
elbow, or with various devices.
Some medical studies have suggested that acupressure
may be eective at helping manage nausea and vomit-
ing, for helping lower back pain, tension headaches, stom-
ach ache, among other things, although such studies have
been found to have a high likelihood of bias.
It may
probably not be as eective as acupuncture, but some
claim it provides temporary relief.
According to Quackwatch acupressure is a dubious prac-
tice, and its practitioners use irrational methods.
1 Background
Acupoints used in treatment may or may not be in the
same area of the body as the targeted symptom. The
traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) theory for the se-
lection of such points and their eectiveness is that they
work by stimulating the meridian system to bring about
relief by rebalancing yin, yang and qi (also spelled chi).
Many East Asian martial arts also make extensive study
and use of acupressure for self-defense and health pur-
poses, (chin na, tui na). The points or combinations of
points are said to be used to manipulate or incapacitate
an opponent. Also, martial artists regularly massage their
own acupressure points in routines to remove blockages
from their own meridians, claiming to thereby enhance
their circulation and exibility and keeping the points
soft or less vulnerable to an attack.
2 Reception
A 2011 systematic review of acupressures eectiveness
at treating symptoms found that 35 out of 43 random-
ized controlled trials had concluded that acupressure was
eective at treating certain symptoms; however, the na-
ture of these 43 studies indicated a signicant likeli-
hood of bias. The authors of this systematic review con-
cluded that this review of clinical trials from the past
decade did not provide rigorous support for the ecacy of
acupressure for symptom management. Well-designed,
randomized controlled studies are needed to determine
the utility and ecacy of acupressure to manage a vari-
ety of symptoms in a number of patient populations.
A 2011 Cochrane review of four trials using acupunc-
ture and nine studies using acupressure to control pain
in childbirth concluded that acupuncture or acupressure
may help relieve pain during labour, but more research is
An acupressure wristband that is claimed to relieve the
symptoms of motion sickness and other forms of nausea
provides pressure to the P6 acupuncture point, a point that
has been extensively investigated.
The Cochrane Col-
laboration, a group of evidence-based medicine (EBM)
reviewers, reviewed the use of P6 for nausea and vom-
iting, and found it to be eective for reducing post-
operative nausea, but not vomiting.
The Cochrane re-
view included various means of stimulating P6, including
acupuncture, electro-acupuncture, transcutaneous nerve
stimulation, laser stimulation, acustimulation device and
acupressure; it did not comment on whether one or more
forms of stimulation were more eective. EBM reviewer
Bandolier said that P6 in two studies showed 52% of pa-
tients with control having a success, compared with 75%
with P6.
One author of an article published in the Sci-
entic Review of Alternative Medicine disagreed.
A Cochrane Collaboration review found that massage
provided some long-term benet for low back pain, and
said: It seems that acupressure or pressure point massage
techniques provide more relief than classic (Swedish) mas-
sage, although more research is needed to conrm this.
Quackwatch includes acupressure in a list of methods
which have no rational place as massage therapy and
states that practitioners may also use irrational diagnos-
tic methods to reach diagnoses that do not correspond to
scientic concepts of health and disease.
3 Acupressure work theory
A variant system known as two point acupressure at-
tempts to bypass a blockage of vital ow by using one
acupoint to create a link with one of the collateral merid-
ians, and then using one additional acupoint to stimulate
or reduce the ow around the obstruction.
4 Criticism of TCM theory
Main article: Acupuncture Criticism of traditional
Chinese medicine theory
Clinical use of acupressure frequently relies on the
conceptual framework of Traditional Chinese Medicine
(TCM). There is no physically veriable anatomical
or histological basis for the existence of acupuncture
points or meridians.
Proponents reply that TCM is a
prescientic system that continues to have practical rel-
evance. Acupuncturists tend to perceive TCM concepts
in functional rather than structural terms (e.g., as being
useful in guiding evaluation and care of patients).
5 Instruments
There are several dierent instruments for applying non-
specic pressure by rubbing, rolling, or applying pressure
on the reex zones of the body. The acuball is a small
ball made of rubber with protuberances that is heatable.
It is used to apply pressure and relieve muscle and joint
pain. The energy roller is a small cylinder with protuber-
ances. It is held between the hands and rolled back and
forth to apply acupressure. The foot roller (also krupa
chakra) is a round, cylindrical roller with protuberances.
The Instruments of Acupressure
It is placed on the oor and the foot is rolled back and
forth over it. The power mat (also pyramid mat) is a mat
with small pyramid-shaped bumps that you walk on. The
spine roller is a bumpy roller containing magnets that is
rolled up and down the spine. The Teishein is one of the
original nine classical acupuncture needles described in
the original texts of acupuncture. Even though it is de-
scribed as an acupuncture needle it did not pierce the skin.
It is used to apply rapid percussion pressure to the points
being treated.
6 See also
Fire cupping
Luo Points
Manipulative therapy
Pressure Points
Pushing hands
7 References
[1] AcupressureOnline Etymology Dictionary
[2] Lee, Eun Jin; Frazier, Susan K. (2011). The Ecacy
of Acupressure for Symptom Management: A Systematic
Review. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management 42
(4): 589603. doi:10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2011.01.007.
PMC 3154967. PMID 21531533.
[3] Stephen Barrett, M.D. (March 9, 2006). Massage Ther-
apy: Riddled with Quackery. Quackwatch. Retrieved
June 2013.
[4] Chinese Medicine Demystied (Part III): The Energy
Meridian Model Debunked.
[5] Smith, Caroline A; Collins, Carmel T; Crowther, Caro-
line A; Levett, Kate M (2011). Acupuncture or acu-
pressure for pain management in labour. In Smith,
Caroline A. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.
doi:10.1002/14651858.CD009232. PMID 21735441.
[6] Dent HE, Dewhurst NG, Mills SY, Willoughby M. Con-
tinuous PC6 wristband acupressure for relief of nausea
and vomiting associated with acute myocardial infarction:
a partially randomised, placebo-controlled trial. Comple-
ment Ther Med. 2003 Jun ;11 (2):72-7 http://lib.bioinfo.
[7] P6 acupoint stimulation prevents postoperative nausea
and vomiting with few side eects | Cochrane Sum-
[8] Nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy [Jan 1999; 59-4]
[9] Acupuncture. Archived fromthe original on 29 Septem-
ber 2011.
[10] Massage for low-back pain | Cochrane Summaries.
[11] Felix Mann extquotedbl...acupuncture points are no more
real than the black spots that a drunkard sees in front of
his eyes. (Mann F. Reinventing Acupuncture: A New
Concept of Ancient Medicine. Butterworth Heinemann,
London, 1996,14.) Quoted by Matthew Bauer in Chinese
Medicine Times, Vol 1 Issue 4 - Aug 2006, The Final
Days of Traditional Beliefs? - Part One
[12] NIH Consensus statement: Despite considerable ef-
forts to understand the anatomy and physiology of the
acupuncture points, the denition and characterization
of these points remains controversial. Even more elusive
is the basis of some of the key traditional Eastern med-
ical concepts such as the circulation of Qi, the merid-
ian system, and the ve phases theory, which are di-
cult to reconcile with contemporary biomedical informa-
tion but continue to play an important role in the eval-
uation of patients and the formulation of treatment in
acupuncture. Acupuncture. National Institutes of Health:
Consensus Development Conference Statement, Novem-
ber 35, 1997. Available online at consensus.nih.gov/
1997/1997Acupuncture107html.htm. Retrieved 30 Jan-
uary 2007.
[13] Sharma, Rajeev (2003). Medicina Alternativa. Alpha Sci-
ence Int'l Ltd. pp. 196200. Retrieved 2009-01-05.
8 External links
Acupuncture at DMOZ
9 Text and image sources, contributors, and licenses
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9.2 Images
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