Helping by touch has a long and distinguished pedigree. It has been practised by people in different cultures since the dawn of civilisation. Different methods have been found, different theories about their mechanism of action have been postulated, but the essence of their nature is the same. They all belong to the rich tradition of Fingertip Medicine.
There are many different methods of physical treatment which are practised across the globe. As we shall see, many of them seem to be based upon theories which are literally worlds apart. This does not mean that they are mutually exclusive, or that one is necessarily superior to another in terms of effectiveness. The differences reflect the differing cultures in which they have developed.
First let us look at the main methods which had their origin in the East. Note that these methods are based on the belief that there is a form of energy which permeates the body, and that the essence of treatment is to stimulate or sedate, depending upon whether the energy is deficient or excessive.
Acupressure is the name given to the technique of stimulating the same points as acupuncture, but with pressure alone. As the above legend implied, it is derived from an older method of treatment in which the body was not penetrated by needles.
Acupressure can be used to treat most of the same conditions as acupuncture. Indeed, for people who are very sensitive to needles, or who fear needles it is treatment of choice. In stimulating the points the practitioner uses the fingers and thumbs.
In acupressure, local symptoms are considered to be an expression of the condition of the body as a whole. So acupressure focuses on relieving pain and discomfort as well as on responding to tension before it develops into a "dis-ease" that is, before the constrictions and imbalances can do further damage. A basic session should last between 30 and 60 minutes and cover all the meridians of the body to restore balance and harmony.