Acupuncture and acupressure are often associated with each other because they have such similar-sounding names, and they are in fact based on similar principles as well. So, it can hard to know which is right for you and how each one can benefit you. If you’ve been wondering, then read on to find out more about the difference between acupuncture and acupressure, and which one to choose.
What are acupuncture and acupressure?
Acupuncture and acupressure are both based on Traditional Chinese Medicine and both follow the same map of pressure points on the body to treat a variety of ailments and to boost overall wellness. These points are located along the meridians of the body and are linked with the flow of energy around the body. With hundreds of these points identified in Traditional Chinese Medicine, different ones correspond to different parts of the body or different aspects of your health.
What’s the difference?
The main difference between acupressure and acupuncture is described in the names. With acupressure, a massage therapist applies pressure to the trigger points using mostly their fingers and hands. Acupuncture uses small, very thin needles that are inserted into the skin to target these same trigger points. Acupressure is also similar to reflexology, although the system of pressure points that acupressure is based on is much larger.
What are the benefits?
Acupressure and acupuncture have similar benefits and are particularly used for managing pain from a variety of conditions or when recovering from an injury or surgery. They can also be used to manage nausea, so could be beneficial for those undergoing chemotherapy and other cancer treatments, both for pain and nausea reduction.
Both treatments can also be used as complementary therapies when treating or managing mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. They generally produce effects of relaxation, which can help lower stress, improve your mood and energy levels, and help to improve quality of sleep.
Choosing between the two
Acupuncture is more commonly used for chronic conditions or specific medical diagnoses, such as migraines and various types of chronic pains. Acupressure can be used for a wide range of ailments, including minor ones, and is even something you can try yourself at home, particularly on the pressure points in the hand.
Some people are put off from acupuncture due to a fear of needles or simply not liking the idea of the treatment. It’s important to get treatment from a trusted, fully-trained professional when it comes to acupuncture, as it can be unsafe otherwise.