Chinese Acupressure Therapy
What is acupressure?
Acupressure (sometimes written as "accupressure") is a technique related to acupuncture, where the energies of the body are regulated by manipulating points on the body. This has effects on the emotions, tension and physical conditions.
The points are commonly called "acupuncture points," "pressure points," "acupoints" or "acupressure points."
There are two ways that acupressure points are manipulated: pressing (reinforcing) and reducing them. Most are probably familiar with the first, but not with the second method.
To press points, use something blunt. Usually the fingers are used to press, but I find that for many points the fingers may be a bit too thick, so you'd have to press quite long and firmly. Ideal would be something 3 to 4 mm thick, like a (preferably used) pencil eraser that's on the other side of a pencil. Some points can be pressed using a fingernail.
Pressing points for less than half a second can already have a distinguishable effect. So for just trying out a point you could press it only briefly. To get a full effect however, pressure should be applied for at least half a minute, but preferably longer. One to two minutes should do.
To reduce a point, turn a finger over it in counter-clockwise direction, also for one to two minutes. (What happens when you do this is explained in "What manipulation of points brings about.") Clicking on the picture of points that need to be reduced displays an animation showing how this is performed (clicking again stops the animation).
I think it's a good idea not to get into the habit of doing the same points every day. Do them when you feel you need them, don't overdo it. Pay attention to what effects points have on you.
If you're weakened (from age, disease or whatever), be sure to not reduce points more often then necessary. You could also additionally press these points for a few seconds.
Do a point on both sides of the body.
When you are not feeling any effects from pressing points, several things may be the case.
You may not be pressing on the exact right spot (acupuncture points are about 0.5 mm diameter, so you'll have to be precise). Try different spots around the location you first tried.
You shouldn't press lightly, but you shouldn't hurt yourself either. Also, don't press for just a few seconds (although if you're very sensitive you might already notice effects then).
To feel if acupressure is working (for knowing that the location of the point is accurate), I usually sense what's happening in my face. Almost all points in the list on this site have some effect here. Many of the points also have some subtle effect on the quality of vision. You may see more clearly and more colors. Meditation will develop your ability to feel the effects.
If you're using a point quite often, or if you don't need a point, the effect may become very little or unnoticable.
If you're tense, you may not feel much, although usually you'll become less tense by using the techniques on this site.
Using information from other sources ("cun")
To be able to use information from other sources for locating points, you'll need to know what the "cun" is.
The "cun" is the standard unit of measurement for the body used in acupuncture. As everyone's body has different dimensions, it is defined according to the person whose body is to be treated.
1 cun = width of the thumb, in the middle, at the crease
Acupuncture points can be manipulated in various ways. To keep things simple, acupressure books usually just mention pressing the points.
If you've ever seen an acupuncturist you may have noticed that he will turn needles after inserting them or do other manipulations. Acupuncturists also apply heat by burning stuff called "moxa" or using a laser, or apply electric currents.
By simply pressing a point, you are reinforcing it. You, thereby, increase energy in areas that the point influences. Reducing a point is actually not the opposite of reinforcing it. By reducing, you remove a blockage of energy. A blockage may be felt as tension, pain or heat. Energy acumulates there which starts moving again after removing the blockage. So if you reduce a point after you reinforced it, you get reinforcement and removal of energy blockage. They don't cancel each other out.
In acupressure, you can reduce a point by continually moving a finger counterclockwise over it. An acupuncturist will turn his needle immediately after insertion.
It's also possible to apply heat to a point to warm it. This is an advanced technique that may injure your energy system, so it's best to stay away from this.