Pressure Point Massage
What Are Pressure Points And What Is Pressure Point Massage?
Pressure points, and their manipulation in massage for healing as well as other uses such as martial arts fighting, have a long and varied history. So varied, in fact, that there is no single definition about what they actually are, with different systems and traditions each using a different set of points (although usually with many commonalities between them) and a different theory about what they are and how they work.
The earliest uses of pressure points in massage can be traced back to ancient China, and they still play a major role in traditional Chinese medicine, sometimes abbreviates to TCM. TCM teaches that we all have a life energy within us called 'chi', which flows through the body along meridians. In TCM massage these spots are manipulated using acupressure, in the same way that they are in acupuncture only without the needles, in order to remove blockages and free up the flow of chi around these meridians. Although acupuncture and acupressure have proven themselves to be effective against certain ailments, and are recommended today by many western doctors for those same conditions, many people do not believe in chi or accept the somewhat metaphysical view of the body provided by TCM.
However there is also a more modern theory and method which advocates pressure points. Basically they are, from this perspective, defined as areas of the body which are sensitive to pressure and which produce and effect when pressure is applied. So this may mean that circulation is affected, or that an internal organ is close to the surface with little protection at certain spot allowing for deep massage of the organ, or a whole host of other things.
These pressure points are used in massage for a wide range of reasons, from deep relaxation to treating medical conditions through the manipulation of certain points associated with that condition, with a particular part of the body or bodily system.
Massage Styles Which Use Pressure Points
There are many different types of massage which use pressure points in some way. Here are 4 of the main ones:
Acupressure: As I already mentioned this is based on traditional Chinese medicine and is very similar in its approach to acupuncture, which uses needles and is perhaps a little better known. Acupressure is widely used both for relaxation and the removal of tension, and also for treating illness.
Reflexology: This is a very popular treatment in which it is believed that the feet are a microcosm of the whole body, meaning that each part of the body has a corresponding area or point on the feet. The whole body is therefore treated purely through the manipulation of these areas of the feet, and in particular by removing tension and blockages from them.
Shiatsu: This is a form of deep tissue massage which is most commonly used as a general treatment for stress and tension and for relaxation, but can also be used for treating minor illnesses.
Trigger Point: This is not actually a form of massage, but rather an alternative model of pressure points. Often in Shiatsu practitioners prefer this more modern model to that traditional view used by acupressure. I'm not an expert on this so it is probably best if I just direct you to the wikipedia page on trigger points, which is quite informative. Alternatively look around this page for links to related resources.
Pressure Point Massage Books From Amazon
Pressure Point Massage Techniques
These sensitive spots on the body are manipulated using various methods including: firm pressure using a thumb of finger, kneeding using the palm or fist, rubbing, and gentle tapping.
If you would like to learn more about how to do this yourself then I would recommend you find a class in your local area where you can go in and learn properly, but to give you a taster before that you might like to take a look at the videos below