The Science of Acupressure: How It Works to Relieve Back Pain

The Science of Acupressure: How It Works to Relieve Back Pain


Acupressure is an alternate way to heal. It uses fingertips to press particular points on the body for reducing pain and stress. This old-fashioned healing process has been practiced in Asian societies for a long time to treat different sicknesses.

In this article, we will research the science behind acupressure and how it helps to ease back pain.

Definition of acupressure

Acupressure is an ancient form of alternative medicine. It is thought to have begun around 5,000 years ago in China. It combines principles of acupuncture and massage therapy. By applying pressure to certain areas of the body, called acupoints or meridian points, it is believed that energy or qi (the life force) can flow. Stimulating these points with gentle finger pressure can improve circulation and healing. This can lead to better health, less stress and more restful sleep.

Acupressure can help treat acute pain and chronic conditions such as headaches or back pain.

History of acupressure

Acupressure is an ancient form of alternative medicine from Chinese culture. It is based on the premise that a practitioner can use their fingertips to manipulate pressure points, to reduce tension and stress, and induce relaxation. By applying pressure on meridians or pathways throughout the body, energy meridians can be unblocked, relieving physical ailments.

It is believed acupressure was used as far back as the Shang Dynasty in China (1600-1050 BCE). Illnesses were thought to be caused by blockages in the energy pathways or meridians running through the body. By pressing certain points along these pathways, balance and health could be restored.

Acupressure was widely used during WW2 to treat shrapnel wounds. Nowadays, it is incorporated into massage therapy treatments to improve circulation and reduce muscle tension. It is accepted as an alternative treatment for various conditions, such as:

  • Headaches
  • Joint pain
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Lower back pain
  • Menstrual cramps
  • And much more

How Acupressure Works

Acupressure is an ancient Chinese medical practice that has been utilized for thousands of years. It is still used today for pain relief and improved overall health. Acupressure works by stimulating the pressure points on the body. These points are said to be connected to different organs and functions. Applying pressure and massaging these points can reduce tension, lessen pain, and better circulation.

Let’s explore the science of acupressure and how it can be applied to soothe back pain:

Acupressure points

Acupressure is based on the concept of specific points, known as pressure points, on the body. When these points are pressed, it helps reduce pain and muscular tension.

Charts have been made to show the locations of the pressure points. Massage therapists can use their thumbs or tools to stimulate these points. Acupressure increases circulation and helps balance qi (or “chi“). It can help with back pain, such as spasms in muscles.

Three common pressure points are:

  • Hoku: between spine and shoulder blades – reduces muscle tension in neck and upper back.
  • Taichong: on feet between first two toes – relieves lower back pain due to digestive issues and sciatica.
  • Zusanli: below knee along outer shinbone – calms nerves, stimulates digestion and helps lower back pain caused by stress or tension.

Pressure techniques

Acupressure is a type of massage therapy that uses pressure techniques, like finger, thumb and palm pressure, to relax tight muscles and release tension. This helps improve circulation in the area being treated. It involves kneading, tapping, stretching, grasping, applying sustained pressure and rubbing. Sessions can last 10-30 mins.

This type of therapy increases blood flow in stressed or injured areas to reduce pain and tension, and speed up healing time. Pressure points along body meridians are targeted for relief from physical conditions such as:

  • Headaches
  • Neck pain
  • Back pain
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Digestive disorders

Benefits of acupressure

Acupressure has been in use since ancient times. Evidence of it is seen in Chinese medicine, as far back as 5,000 years ago! It is used today to treat pain in the back, neck and joints. It is thought to promote balance in the body’s systems by controlling energy flow.

Acupressure involves pressing specific points on the body’s meridians or energy pathways. Doing this helps to restore balance, reduce tension and stress and ease physical pain. Furthermore, it aids emotional, psychological and spiritual healing.

Acupressure offers many advantages. It helps ease muscle spasms that can cause back pain and improves digestion by releasing constipation or bloating. It boosts immunity by increasing circulation throughout the body and reduces stress levels through relaxation techniques. Endorphins are released into the body, improving your mood without drugs or alcohol. Lastly, it boosts energy levels.

Scientific Evidence of Acupressure

Acupressure is an old Chinese healing technique. It uses pressure on certain spots to reduce pain and other medical conditions. Is there scientific proof that it works? Let’s explore the studies and research on acupressure.

We’ll find out if there’s evidence of its efficiency.

Studies on the effectiveness of acupressure

Acupressure is a popular alternative therapy, but scientific evidence of its effectiveness is limited. A 2008 study in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine suggests it may be effective for chronic low back pain.

The study included 80 people with such pain. One group had acupressure. The other group had sham acupressure with light pressure but not to traditional points. Those who had traditional acupressure reported greater improvement than those with sham treatment.

A 2006 study found that chiropractic care or a combination of acupuncture and acupressure reduced risk factors. Vital signs improved, suggesting treatments can reduce stress and improve quality of life.

Although more research is needed, many individuals with persistent pain report relief when using acupressure.

Acupressure for back pain

Acupressure has been used to help with a range of health issues. It requires pressure to be applied to points along the body’s pathways, to ease pain, boost circulation, relax and improve health.

When it comes to back pain, it’s unclear if acupressure works. Studies in 2010 and 2012 showed it could help people with chronic lower back issues, but effects were not long-term.

In 2016, TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) approaches, like cupping, acupuncture and acupressure, were studied. After 8 weeks of treatment, there was no significant change in physical activity compared to the control group.

In 2017, a review concluded that there wasn’t enough evidence to suggest that acupressure is better than other treatments for long-term pain management.

It’s still not clear if acupressure works for lower back pain. To get the best results, it should be used with other interventions.

Safety and Precautions

Be aware of safety considerations and regulations when learning acupressure points and techniques! It’s essential for an effective and healthy practice. Taking necessary precautions helps make sure acupressure is safe when performed correctly. This section will provide an overview of safety and precautions to take with acupressure.

Potential risks and side effects

Acupressure is usually safe, but it has potential risks. If you have any of these medical conditions, avoid acupressure without medical supervision:

  • Bleeding disorders
  • Stroke or seizure disorder history
  • Heart issues or high blood pressure
  • Deep vein thrombosis or other clotting issues
  • Recent fracture or surgery
  • Infectious diseases like hepatitis C and AIDS.

Moreover, certain points on the meridian could cause reactions. If you feel pain, soreness, dizziness, tingling in arms or legs, shortness of breath, headache, nausea, or sweating, stop massaging and seek medical advice.

Who should not use acupressure

Certain people should not use acupressure or do physical therapy. Before trying this technique, speak to your doctor if you have any of these:

  • A serious health condition such as cancer, heart disease, or diabetes.
  • Are pregnant.
  • Are prone to deep vein thrombosis or blood clots.
  • Have varicose veins or severe hemorrhoids.
  • Are taking anticoagulants or blood thinners for medical reasons.
  • Had recent surgery in the area needing treatment.
  • Suffer from an undiagnosed strain.

Back pain can be related to this. Get medical attention immediately if you:

  • Experience sudden, unavoidable twisting movements with intense lower back pain.
  • Get relief when you stop moving.

This could be a spinal disc herniation. It needs medical treatment quickly to prevent more damage later.


To wrap up, Acupressure is a secure, successful technique for easing back pain. It works by stimulating certain parts of the body to lessen strain and encourage relaxation. For chronic back pain, Acupressure can be a great option compared to conventional treatments.

We hope this article has provided more insight into this ancient healing practice.

Summary of acupressure

Acupressure is an ancient healing practice from traditional Chinese medicine. It works by stimulating the body’s meridian points, which are pathways of energy. When these pathways are blocked or imbalanced, physical ailments, such as back pain, can arise. Acupressure helps to release and restore Qi.

Pressure is applied to certain areas of the body to reduce tension and relax muscles. Additionally, breathing techniques can be used to focus energy into a particular area. Every point has a unique purpose. Some boost circulation, while others regulate hormones or soothe the nervous system.

Overall, acupressure promotes balance and harmony in the body. This includes blood pressure, immune response, digestion, and hormone levels. With greater balance, people often experience relief from chronic pain, like lower back pain and headaches. Regular acupressure can lead to improved physical and emotional wellbeing.

Benefits of acupressure

Acupressure is a powerful, natural form of healing used for centuries to relieve pain. It works by applying pressure to certain points on the body. This activates the nervous system, and promotes healing. Acupressure can be part of a holistic approach. Here are its main benefits:

  • Pain relief. Pressure on the body helps reduce tension and other pains. It can even help chronic conditions, such as lower back pain and sciatica.
  • Relaxation. Gentle pressure relaxes muscles and reduces stress. This improves physical health, and mental wellbeing.
  • Energy levels. Stimulating energy flow boosts circulation. This leads to increased energy and productivity.
  • Detoxification. Acupressure helps flush toxins out through lymphatic drainage.
  • Overall wellbeing. It increases blood flow and digestion. Plus, it helps with emotional and psychological issues like anxiety, insomnia, depression, and fatigue.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is acupressure?

A: Acupressure is the practice of applying pressure to certain points on the body to relieve pain and promote healing.

Q: How does acupressure work?

A: Acupressure works by stimulating the body’s natural healing processes, including the release of endorphins and the reduction of inflammation.

Q: Can acupressure relieve back pain?

A: Yes, acupressure has been shown to be an effective way to relieve back pain, especially when combined with other treatments such as exercise and stretching.

Q: Are there any risks associated with acupressure?

A: In general, acupressure is a safe therapy with few side effects. However, it is important to use caution when applying pressure to certain points on the body, especially if you have a medical condition or are pregnant.

Q: How long does it take for acupressure to work?

A: The amount of time it takes for acupressure to work varies depending on the individual and the severity of their condition. Some people may experience relief after just one session, while others may require several sessions before noticing a difference.

Q: Do I need to see a professional to receive acupressure treatment?

A: While it is certainly possible to perform acupressure on yourself, it is often recommended to seek treatment from a trained professional, especially if you are new to acupressure or have a complex medical history.

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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