M.K.P (Mahadevi Kanya Pathshala) College, Dehradun, India
Received date: September 17, 2014; Accepted date: November 12, 2014; Published date: November 17, 2014
Citation: Sehgal K (2015) The ‘Magic’ Touch– The Simple Guide to Acupressure from Your Own Home. J Yoga Phys Ther 5:177. doi:10.4172/2157-7595.1000177
Copyright: © 2015 Sehgal K. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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Acupressure is an ancient art that dates back thousands of years. It is often considered part of traditional Chinese medicine but today it can be found in all parts of the world. I am Kamal Sehgal, a simple Indian homemaker but with what I believe is a special gift - that of the art of acupressure. The following article is intended to share my knowledge of this technique in a manner that would be useful to the simple, untrained individual. A do-it-yourself guide, if you like, of acupressure techniques and tips that can be applied for different ailments or simply for day-today problems; be it body ache or the common cold. This article will not dwell into the scientific basis of the art of acupressure but simply list different techniques you can try from the comfort of your very home and decide for yourself the value of this ancient art of acupressure.
I will begin with a brief introduction to the underlying principal of acupressure.
The art of acupressure abides by the theory that there exist special acupoints, or acupressure points, that lie along meridians, or channels, in your body. It is believed that through these invisible channels flows vital energy or a life force called qi (ch'i). It is also believed that these meridians connect specific organs or networks of organs, organizing a system of communication throughout your body. The meridians begin at your fingertips, connect to your brain, and then connect to an organ associated with a certain meridian.
The following is a quick summary of what each finger and corresponding toes on your hands and feet, respectively, are responsible for:
• the ring finger corresponds to the heart
• the middle finger to the kidney, the blood circulation
• the middle finger and index finger together consists of points for your eyes
• tip of the thumb corresponds to the brain and the length of the thumb corresponds to the spine
• the base of the thumb corresponds to the tail bone, back
• little finger is associated with water in the body and is also linked to the ears
• the ears are our energy webs
• the nose corresponds to the centre bone in the chest (can be implicated in colds etc.)
• the back of the hands correspond to the chest
• the sides of your feet correspond to your spine
The endocrine glands
Endocrine glands secrete different hormones directly into the bloodstream. The major glands of the endocrine system include the pineal gland, pituitary gland, pancreas, ovaries, testes, thyroid gland, parathyroid gland, hypothalamus, gastrointestinal tract and adrenal glands. These glands control a host of different bodily functions, some of which are detailed in the table below (Table 1)  (Figure 1) .
|Pituitary gland||Antidiuretic hormone (vasopressin)||Causes kidneys to retain water and, along with aldosterone, helps control bloodpressure|
|Corticotropin (ACTH)||Controls the production and secretion of hormones by the adrenal glands|
|Growth hormone||Controls growth and development
Promotes protein production
|Luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone||Control reproductive functions, including the production of sperm and semen in menand egg maturation and menstrual cycles in women
Control male and female sexual characteristics (including hair distribution, muscleformation, skin texture and thickness, voice, and perhaps even personality traits)
|Oxytocin||Causes muscles of the uterus to contract during childbirth and after delivery andstimulates contractions of milk ducts in the breast, which move milk to the nipple|
|Prolactin||Starts and maintains milk production in the ductal glands of the breast (mammaryglands)|
|Thyroid-stimulating hormone||Stimulates the production and secretion of hormones by the thyroid gland|
|Parathyroidglands||Parathyroid hormone||Controls bone formation and the excretion of calcium and phosphorus|
|Thyroid gland||Thyroid hormone||Regulates the rate at which the body functions (metabolic rate)|
|Adrenal glands||Calcitonin||In people, has unclear function, but in other species, regulates calcium balance|
|Aldosterone||Helps regulate salt and water balance by causing the kidneys to retain salt and waterand excrete potassium|
|Cortisol||Has widespread effects throughout the body
Especially has anti-inflammatory action
Maintains blood sugar level, blood pressure, and muscle strength
Helps control salt and water balance
|Pancreas||Glucagon||Raises the blood sugar level|
|Insulin||Lowers the blood sugar level
Affects the processing (metabolism) of sugar, protein, and fat throughout the body
|Kidneys||Erythropoietin||Stimulates red blood cell production|
|Renin||Controls blood pressure|
|Ovaries||Estrogen||Controls the development of female sex characteristics and the reproductive system|
|Progesterone||Prepares the lining of the uterus for implantation of a fertilized egg and readies themammary glands to secrete milk|
|Testes||Testosterone||Controls the development of male sex characteristics and the reproductive system|
|Digestive tract||Cholecystokinin||Controls gallbladder contractions that cause bile to enter the intestineStimulates release of digestive enzymes from the pancreas|
|Glucagon-like peptide||Increases insulin release from the pancreas|
|Ghrelin||Controls growth hormone release from the pituitary gland
Causes sensation of hunger
|Hypothalamus||Thyrotropin-releasing hormone||Stimulates the release of thyroid-stimulating hormone and prolactin|
|Gonadotropin-releasing hormone||Stimulates release of luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone|
|Corticotropin-releasing hormone||Stimulates release of adrenocorticotropic hormone|
|Growth hormone–releasing hormone||Stimulates release of growth hormone|
|Somatostatin||Inhibits release of growth hormone, thyroid-stimulating hormone, and insulin|
Table 1: List of some of the endocrine glands and the functions mediated by their respective hormones.
Fix it yourself
With the knowledge of which part of your body may be responsible for your particular ailment, one can attempt to alleviate any problem by simply applying pressure to (pressing) the corresponding areas either with one’s fingers or using one of many available acupressure tools (Figure 2). The idea is to repeatedly apply pressure to the points concerned, which would activate, clear the (affected) channels or meridians earlier described. To achieve this, one can also make use of acupressure slippers or the acu-ring (Figure 2). The concept for these is the same in that they press or rather keep pressed the different acupoints.
The arrows indicate recommended motions, i.e. up-down movement with tool or twisted actions. These tools can be purchased from certain shops or may be designed and produced from an enthusiastic carpenter or craftsman.
In addition to pressing acupressure points, there are also some other handy tips that are linked to or associated with the art of acupressure.
Tape it up
Applying clinical plaster tape (Figure 3) to any part of the body in pain, be it the back or legs or wherever else, can help alleviate any muscle strain that may be responsible for the pain. The tape should cover the whole area affected and should not be kept wet. As in after a shower, the wet tape should be dried down with a hairdryer or and such. You will find that this simple technique will reduce or completely get rid of the pain in the affected area in quick time. This technique is usually applicable to chronic pain or injuries. The duration of use would depend on the severity of the pain and should be adjusted accordingly, i.e. tape for a longer duration for more severe pain.
Acupressure taping has its roots in traditional Chinese medicine but has been more recently described by two German doctors, Hans- Ulrich Hecker and Kelly Liebchen .
Taping up the knees or using a crepe bandage to tie up the calves, ankles can help with weakness in the legs (Figure 4).
Taping up the sides of the insides of your foot is useful for back (or spine related) problems.
Taping up your knuckles, the back of the hands can help with chest aches.
Using a milder type of medical tape, one can also tape up the fingers or toes to constantly keep pressed the associated acupoints on each (Figure 5).
Using this same tape if one were to tape together the index and middle fingers or the corresponding two toes on your foot, immediate relief is gotten from a cold, runny nose (Figure 6).
Heat it up
Another useful method is to apply heat to an affected area. This improves blood circulation in that area, which can help alleviate an associated problem or ailment. A strategy tried and tested over the last couple of decades is using the poultice. This method of heating is more effective than the conventional ‘hot water bottle’, as this is deeper penetrating. The following is one recipe for this:
You will need:
o A heavy bottom wok (kadai)
o 2 cups of whole wheat flour
o 1 table spoon of turmeric powder (haldi)
o A cup of clarified butter (ghee)
• Dry roast the flour and the turmeric on slow heat for 4-5 minutes.
• Add the ghee and stir and mix it well for a minute.
• Continue stirring constantly while slowly adding water till you get a thick ‘cake batter’ -like consistency. It should be smooth and oily.
This is now ready to use.
Empty the poultice onto a clean plastic sheet or cloth. This is simply for ease of handling. Place the poultice directly onto the skin to heat the affected part. Use it as hot as possible. When the poultice cools and down it can be reheated in a microwave by wrapping-up in the plastic sheet and heating for 1-2 minutes depending on the power settings. After use, the poultice can be stored in the fridge well wrapped-up in a plastic bag to prevent drying out. It can be heated and reused for up to a week to ten days.
The ghee/oil is deep penetrating. The turmeric is also very beneficial and the flour helps retain the heat. This strategy works miraculously for joint pains and tired or aching muscles, as well as stiff necks and such.
It is hoped that this article gives quick, easy to-do tips on alleviating general problems that one might be experiencing using acupressure techniques. There are of course more extensive descriptions of acupressure available in the literature but the aim of this article was to provide a bite-sized account of helpful acupressure tips that would be easy to digest for the lay person. This coupled with my personal experiences of using tapes or the poultice I am sure will benefit anyone who ventures to just try.
I would like to state that the techniques listed in this article are not necessarily a substitute for conventional medical therapy or allopathic treatment. That remains to the individual’s discretion. The aim of this article is just to provide an additional (not necessarily alternative) strategy for treatment.