Acupressure vs. Acupuncture: Which Is Right for Your Back Pain Relief?

Acupressure vs. Acupuncture: Which Is Right for Your Back Pain Relief?


Back pain is a common issue. People often try Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to ease it. Two treatments are popular – Acupressure and Acupuncture. Acupuncture involves needles, Acupressure does not. Both can give short-term pain relief. We need to figure out which works best for us.

This article talks about the differences between Acupressure and Acupuncture, and how they can help with back pain:

Overview of Acupressure

Centuries ago, acupressure was used in many cultures around the world. It is an alternative medicine technique. Applying pressure to specific points on the body’s energy pathways is what acupressure is. It is believed to reduce pain, improve circulation, and give energy.

In this article, we’ll discuss acupressure and the advantages of using it for back pain relief.


Acupressure is an old Chinese healing technique, from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It can be used to relieve pain and other issues. It works by pressing specific points on the body to balance the energy pathways – or meridians – This restores balance in the body and can provide natural pain relief.

A session begins by gently pressing around the pain area. This helps locate blockages. Then, direct or indirect pressure is applied to the points. Knuckles, elbows, and other pressure techniques can also be used. Pressure is usually held for 5-30 seconds, repeating till balance is felt or benefit is achieved.

Manual massage, joint mobilization, stretches and exercises may also be used. Tools like compresses, moxibustion, gua sha, needles, magnets and lasers can be used too. This can provide added benefits for overall health maintenance or specific health concerns.


Acupressure is an old healing practice & form of alternative care involving the use of hands, elbows, & feet to apply pressure to certain areas of the body. The aim is to reduce stress, ease pain, & balance energy. It is said that acupressure can help with conditions such as depression, headaches, insomnia, joint pain, and strains & sprains.

Acupressure has many advantages that make it attractive for people with chronic or acute pain. Here are the major benefits:

  • Relaxes muscles: Acupressure targets “acupuncture points” where there are more nerve endings. By applying pressure to these areas, it unwinds tight muscles & relieves pain.
  • Improves circulation: Acupressure boosts circulation throughout the body. This allows more nutrients to be absorbed & blood to flow, leading to more energy & better health.
  • Reduces stress & anxiety: Acupressure decreases stress & anxiety by releasing endorphins (the “happy chemicals”) in the brain, which relaxes & refreshes.
  • Strengthens immune system: Acupressure also supports the immune system by removing toxins & improving the lymphatic system’s activity. This enhances sleep, mental clarity, & focus.


Acupressure and acupuncture are both safe with little risk. They are non-invasive, using needles or finger pressure on certain points.

Side effects could include bruising, soreness, minor bleeding and tiredness. If instruments like needles aren’t sterilized, complications could occur. So, it’s best to go to a licensed practitioner.

  • Incorrect needle use, or unsanitary conditions, can lead to infection.
  • Internal organ puncture is also possible if the practitioner isn’t experienced.

Before choosing an alternative therapy, seek advice from a healthcare provider. This will help you get relief from back pain.

Overview of Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an old Chinese healing technique. It involves thin needles which are inserted into specific points on the body. It is believed that stimulating these acupoints can help the flow of qi (energy) and restore balance in the body. People have used Acupuncture for ages to cure different conditions. One of them being back pain relief.

Now, let’s take a look at the specifics of Acupuncture and how it relates to acupressure.


Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice which is over two thousand years old. It involves inserting thin needles into certain points of the body. This is thought to regulate the natural energy, known as qi or chi. It is believed to bring balance and help with healing.

Acupressure is a form of massage therapy. It is directed at specific points on the body. It relieves tension, increases blood circulation and boosts metabolism. It helps to improve the body’s functions.

Acupuncture and acupressure both make use of acupuncture points that have been used for centuries in Chinese medicine. It is thought that these systems restore balance within the body, but with different methods and results.


Acupuncture has been a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years and is linked to a variety of health benefits. Needles are inserted into the skin to stimulate points on the body. This can help with pain, circulation and balancing the body’s natural energy. Practised properly, acupuncture can treat physical and mental ailments, including back pain.

Acupuncture works when endorphins are released. These are the body’s natural pain killers, reducing inflammation and improving blood flow. Also, the nervous system is regulated and nerve endings that have trouble are stimulated. Anxiety, depression and stress can be improved too, as neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine are released.

Clinical studies have shown that patients had positive responses to acupuncture treatments for up to three months, or even two years. Results depend on individual diagnosis, lifestyle choices and other medical conditions. Talk to your healthcare provider before using acupuncture for your back pain relief.


Acupuncture and acupressure are two distinct treatments. Each has its own risks and potential side effects.

Acupuncture is generally safe, as long as it’s done with sterile needles. Possible side effects are lightheadedness, bruising, bleeding and soreness. Complications may occur if non-sterile needles or pressure points are used.

Acupressure carries fewer risks. It is less likely to cause pain than acupuncture, and has a lower risk of infection. But it could worsen existing conditions if done incorrectly or too vigorously.

Check with your doctor before starting either treatment plan. They can assess your individual level of risk and decide which one is best for you.

Comparing Acupressure and Acupuncture

Acupressure and acupuncture are two alternative treatments for back pain relief. Both have been verified to be successful in improving symptoms. However, there are dissimilarities between them including: how they are used, the type of back pain they treat best, and potential side effects.

In this article, we will examine the differences and similarities between acupressure and acupuncture. We will also reveal which one may be best for your back pain relief.


The success of acupressure and acupuncture for reducing pain is determined by the proficiency of the practitioner and the individual’s reaction to the procedure. Generally, both treatments are helpful for relieving back pain if done properly.

Comparing the two methods, acupressure may be better for lessening inflammation since it does not involve needles. Studies show that PENS, which is often used in acupressure, is more effective than regular medicines for curing inflammatory issues.

Acupuncture may be more useful for long-term relief from chronic back pain, as its results go beyond what can be accomplished with everyday lifestyle changes or pills. Chinese medicine looks at back pain as a sign of an energy imbalance, which acupuncture can be used to correct and improve overall wellbeing. In some cases, practitioners may give an individualized blend of:

  • Dietary guidance
  • Behavioral therapy
  • Herbal remedies

with one or both of these treatments.


When it comes to cost, acupuncture and acupressure are usually similar. An acupuncturist might charge $50-100 for one session – this varies depending on location, length of the session, and complexity of treatment.

Acupressure, however, is different. It is charged by the minute, with a 15-minute session costing from $30-70. If your needs are basic or you need a quick fix, this may be more affordable.

Also, if you’d rather treat yourself, there are plenty of books and videos on self-acupuncture and acupressure. However, bear in mind – both therapies don’t come with guarantees. If you don’t feel any improvements, don’t continue using them.

Side Effects

Choose acupressure or acupuncture for back pain relief, but be aware of potential side effects.

  • Acupressure: You may get a sore spot, lightheadedness, and warmth where the pressure was applied. Rarely, you may have short-term bruising.
  • Acupuncture: You may feel soreness or warmth at the insertion site, but more serious side effects are rare. Before starting, discuss any risk of infection from unsterilized needles with your health care provider.


The decision to try acupressure or acupuncture for back pain relief is yours. Both forms of Chinese medicine promise health benefits, including symptom relief and a sense of wellbeing. Speak to an experienced practitioner to make an informed decision. Depending on your situation, they may suggest one or both therapies, alone or together.

Lastly, to achieve long-term back pain relief, it’s essential to consider lifestyle factors like diet, exercise, stress-reduction and sleep.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is acupressure and how does it work for relieving back pain?

A: Acupressure is a form of traditional Chinese therapy that involves applying pressure to specific points on the body to stimulate healing and relaxation. When performed correctly, acupressure can help release tension and promote blood flow, which may help ease back pain.

Q: What is acupuncture and how does it work for relieving back pain?

A: Acupuncture is another traditional Chinese therapy that involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body to reduce pain and promote healing. This can help relax muscles and stimulate blood flow, which may provide relief for back pain.

Q: What are the main differences between acupressure and acupuncture?

A: The main difference between acupressure and acupuncture is the way they are administered. While both therapies focus on stimulating specific points on the body, acupressure uses pressure from the fingers or palms, while acupuncture uses needles.

Q: Is acupressure more effective than acupuncture for back pain relief?

A: There is no clear answer to this question, as both therapies have been found to be effective for treating back pain. However, some people may prefer acupressure because it does not involve needles, while others may prefer acupuncture because it is more precise.

Q: Are there any risks or side effects associated with acupressure or acupuncture?

A: Both acupressure and acupuncture are generally considered safe when performed by a trained practitioner. However, some people may experience minor side effects such as bruising, soreness, or bleeding.

the back recovery program by alex larsson
Jane Smith is a natural health enthusiast on a mission to uncover effective methods for achieving pain-free living. Through her personal journey with chronic back pain, she has become well-versed in holistic approaches such as yoga, Pilates, and essential oils.

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