This article is from the Alternative Medicine Therapies guide.
During a treatment, which can last anywhere from 15 minutes to nearly an hour depending on the severity of the problem, an acupressure therapist may have you sit or lie on a massage table. Some acupressure therapists will work through clothing; others will ask you to undress (you will be covered with a towel).
The therapist will then locate and work on the specific acupoints that relate to your condition. Pressing a point behind your knee, for example, can help address low back pain. Or pressing a point on the top of the foot may help ease the pain of migraine.
Typically, the therapist will press each point for about three to ten seconds (longer in some cases). The points may be pressed and released repeatedly. If the problem doesn't respond after about 20 to 30 minutes of treatment, acupressure may not be effective for you on that particular day, or for that particular ailment.
After a treatment, you will probably feel looser and more relaxed. You may experience a slight achiness, but you shouldn't be in pain. Within three to eight visits, you should know whether the treatment is working for your ailment. Stress management usually requires a series of about six regular (weekly or monthly) treatments.
There are many different types of acupressure, and each practitioner may draw from a variety of methods. One of the most popular is shiatsu, a Japanese technique based on ancient Chinese principles. Practitioners of Zen shiatsu use their whole bodies as leverage to apply strong pressure. Barefoot shiatsu practitioners bring the feet into play, as well as the hands, to rub and press acupressure points. In the Chinese acupressure variation known as Tui Na, practitioners use their hands for massage like kneading motions. Reflexology is a type of acupressure that involves pressure points on the feet and sometimes the hands.
Even if you prefer to do acupressure on yourself, you may wish to see an acupressure practitioner for a visit or two first, particularly if you are addressing a chronic or complex medical problem. These visits can help you learn where the particular acupoints are on your body.