Acupressure (or reflexology) is an ancient natural therapeutic method that stimulates the energy flow in the body, strengthens the body’s self-healing capabilities and resistance to illness. It is one of the three main fields of Traditional Chinese Medicine, along with herbs therapy and acupuncture.
The Vital Energy
Eastern tradition describes the world in terms of energy.
Energy is the elementary substance and vital life force. It is also a synonym of “breath”. The Qi evokes breath, movement and vital energy. It encompasses two complementary aspects: the Yin and the Yang.
Without energy, there is no life. All living beings have this energy. It goes way beyond simple muscular energy. It encompasses all the energies a body can pull: physical, mental, physiological and psychological.
This flow is called Qi or Ch’i in Chinese (as in Qi Gong and Tai Chi Chuan), Ki in Japanese (as in Aikido) and Prana in India. In the West it is referred to by scientists as bio-electricity and as orgone by Dr W. Reich.
According to traditional Chinese medicine, the Qi is always moving, and is constantly fed by external sources (food and fluid intake, air, sun, relationships). In the same way blood is transported by the veins system, vital energy circulates in the body along a network of subtle paths: the meridians. The meridians link the physical sphere to emotions and psyche. They are the key to a balanced and healthy state.
At some specific points along the Meridian paths, the Qi is near the skin and thus physically accessible. These points are the famous acupuncture points, or acupoints (called “tsubos” in Japanese). They are the gateways to the Qi, and to the whole energy system. To work on the acupoints, acupuncture uses needles while acupressure uses gentle to firm finger pressure (as well as the fist, elbow or feet, depending on the technique).