Acupressure utilizes the method followed in acupuncture to cure different symptoms by the application of the fingers at precise pressure points on our body. This system of treatment helps to maintain the equilibrium of the body's energy as it entails applying pressure to particular points all along the energy channels. However, it may be noted that the term 'pressure' in acupressure is somewhat ambiguous, as this mode of treatment actually involves application of gentle touches of the fingers of the performer.

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In ancient times, Chinese believed that energy flowed in our body all along precise conduits, which they termed as meridians. In addition, they were of the view that the body's energy circulated in particular directions. This has been provided on all the meridians as running from point 1 to the highest points on each meridian. For instance, the bladder meridian flows from point 1 to point 67 and it circulates from point 1 in the direction of point 67. While using acupressure, this is of utmost importance since the massage requires to be applied in the same direction as the flow energy in a particular meridian. Ancient Chinese also believed that it was of vital importance to maintain the equilibrium of energy flowing from one side to another, from the top of the body to the bottom of the body as well as from inside to the outside of the body. To express this idea, they used their philosophical principles of Yin and Yang. Precisely speaking, this denotes that all the things are a combination of the opposites - the reverses are called Yin or Yang.

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According to the ancient Chinese doctrine, among other things, Yang was related to fire, activity, the male principle as well as the sunlit part of the hill, while Yin was considered to be linked to water, material substances, female principle and the shadowy side of the hill. It was believed that the equilibrium between these two reverses was continuously varying. To put it in other words, the equilibrium between Yang and Yin may be said to be in a vibrant balance. In case an individual was considered to be misbalanced in the sense of body energy, then the guideline for treating him/ her would be to reinstate the missing balance. Hence, the approach of the ancient Chinese to the body as well as its functioning was fundamentally vitalistic (the theoretical doctrine that it is not possible to elucidate the existence of life merely in terms of mechanism since something immaterial differentiates living things from lifeless objects). In fact, this doctrine or approach was in line with several other ancient therapy systems. In this regard, it is fascinating to note that the contemporary Western medicine is the sole medicine system that has ever existed that has never had any vitalistic approach to wellbeing and ailments.

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It may be mentioned that the ancient Chinese had developed an extremely intricate as well as complicated system of experimental regulations that were founded on numerous observations of ailments as well as the response to treatment, which lead to several basic rules to lead a medical practitioner as to the manner in which he/ she would be able to improve the condition of their patients. What is amazing is the fact that the implementation of these seemingly strange-sounding laws seem to work in an extremely noteworthy percentage of patients. It is very obvious that if they were not effective, neither the Western nor the Eastern cultures would have accepted acupuncture to such a great extent.

Ancient Chinese were also of the view that in addition to having a balance between Yang and Yin, it is also important that the energy or essence, which the Chinese termed as 'chi', ought to be in a position to flow unobstructed around the meridians. In the event of any disturbance or obstruction in the free circulation of 'chi', in any part of the body, the individual was most likely to fall sick. For instance, conventional Chinese were of the view backache is caused when the chi flowing in the bladder meridian, running over the back of humans, is obstructed at some place. This condition can be cured most simply by inserting a needle at the precise place of uneasiness, thereby promoting the reinstatement of the flow of chi in the appropriate manner. It is strange to note that this comparatively rough approach works wonderfully in a large number of cases, which is enough to make it more interesting than just to have a passing influence.

Applying acupressure enables you to invigorate the precise points where the flow of energy has been obstructed simply be giving a deep massage at this point ensuring that it is done in the direction in which the energy is flowing in that particular meridian. Although acupressure is not equally effective as acupuncture, which involves inserting needles in the affected points, it still is useful in several cases.

Presently, there are two favourite justifications regarding the modus operandi of acupuncture. While one is the gate control hypothesis regarding pain, the other one is known as the neuro-endocrine theory.

The gate control hypothesis regarding pain

Our nerve fibers are akin to huge cable bundles, each varying in size - a number of them thick, while others are slender. While the slender nerve fibers transmit the feeling of pain, those that are thick transport the feeling or sensation of touch. During experiments, it has been discovered that if we are able to enhance the impulse transmission in the touch or thick nerve fibers, it will block the transmission of pain in the thin nerve fibers selectively by means of shutting down the gate comprising particular nerve cells in our spinal cord. Hence, this action provides an effective way to control pain just by means of making use of anything that enhances transmission in the thick or touch nerve fibers. This is one reason why applying deep pressure on an injured knee aids in providing some relief from pain. In fact, it has been found that acupuncture has the aptitude to enhance transmission in the thick or touch nerve fibers significantly. The same results may be obtained by acupressure, but one ought to apply deep pressure at the affected point. This is vital for its success.

Neuro-endocrine hypothesis

The fact that needling acupuncture points (also known as energy points) help the body to release of endorphin, the natural analgesic produced by our body, has been a major discovery related to acupuncture. Precisely speaking endorphin is a protein molecule having extremely potent sedative/ analgesic attributes. Several parts of the nervous system release this protein molecule, which is also associated with glandular or endocrine system. Researchers have discovered that the release of endorphin partially elucidates the reason behind the success of some treatments using acupressure therapy.

Additional hypothesis

Examinations of extremely small electrical charges taking place at acupuncture points provide most of the fascinating justification of using acupuncture therapy. In fact, it has been found that the acupuncture points have the aptitude to produce consequences that are much in excess of the insignificant electrical modification at the point which is responsible for activating these effects. This is a very novel area of research and focuses on observing the fine modifications over these acupuncture or energy points. Currently, we are all aware of the fact that the acupuncture points or energy points denote the areas that have low skin resistance. In other words, this denotes that these low resistance skin areas transmit electricity into the body in a much superior manner compared to the skin surrounding these areas. Moreover, over the years, scientists have developed several techniques of applying electrical variations to the energy points. A different method to undertake the research/ study is to make the energy/ acupuncture points perceptible by means of using refined photographic expertise. When this method is adopted, the acupuncture points become visible as electrical stoma or aperture on the surface of the skin.

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