Have you ever had a massage for your lower back pain and when it was over you left feeling even worse than you did when you first came? That’s because you went to get a massage when you should’ve scheduled an acupressure appointment.
Most people assume that any massage will do the trick when it comes to relieving pain and stress, which is a common mistake. Each form of massage serves different purposes, especially when it comes to choosing between a massage or acupressure.
Even though everyone loves the luxury of relieving their stress at the spa, extensive consideration should be taken for which is the best method for pain and stress relief.
What Is a Massage?
Massage therapy is the process of manual manipulation of the soft body tissues like your muscles, connective tissue, ligaments and tendons to enhance a person’s well being. So when you take a trip to the spa, what you’re going to get will be a form of massage therapy, whether it is a hot stone massage or a Swedish massage.
Massage therapy dates back thousands of years. References to the use of massage appear in writings from ancient China, Eygpt, Japan, India, Arabic Nations, Rome and Greece.
Hippocrates even defined this form of medicine as the “art of rubbing.” Now people all over the world use massage therapy to help the following issues:
- Reduce stress
- Increase relaxation
- Address anxiety and depression
- Improve general wellness
What Is Acupressure?
Used for thousands of years in China, acupressure applies to the same principles as acupuncture. Some even thought that acupressure is the same as acupuncture without needles because they both help to improve optimum health and to treat disease.
This traditional Chinese therapy is best described as a medical theory that relates to specific acupoints or acupressure points that exist along meridians or channels within the body. These are the same energy meridians and acupoints just like the points that are targeted with acupressure.
It is believed that through these invisible channels flow vital energy or a life force called qi (ch’i). It is also believed that these 12 major meridians connect to specific organs or to a network of organs, organizing a system of communication throughout the body. These meridians begin at your fingertips, connect to your brain and then connect to an organ correlated with a certain meridian.
The sole purpose of acupressure is to restore balance to the body’s energy channels and to regulate your body’s negative and positive energy. Advocates claim that acupressure not only treats energy fields within the body but also in the mind, spirit and emotions.
However, not all western practitioners believe that this is possible or even if meridians exist. Instead, they accredit any results to other factors like, reduced muscle tension, stimulation of endorphins or improved circulation, which are all natural pain relievers.
A couple benefits of acupressure include the following:
- Improve blood flow
- Increase the release of endorphins
- Relax muscle spasms
- Trigger specific brain receptors
Massages vs. Acupressure
Both these forms of bodywork therapies work to enhance your overall health. Acupressure recognizes symptoms and diseases that are caused by a blockage or an imbalance of energy flow in the body. By stimulating specific points, it aims to restore the body’s energy flow and improve overall health and emotional well-being.
Massage therapy helps relieve tension and helps relax the body as a whole as opposed to specific pressure points. In essence, you would get a massage if you’ve had a long day and need to relax or if your muscles are sore, as opposed to an acupressure massage for which you are dealing with an ailment or condition related to your 12 meridians.