Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Acupressure is a traditional Chinese medicine bodywork technique based on the same ideas as acupuncture. It involves placing physical pressure, by hand, elbow, or with the aid of various devices, on different pressure points on the surface of the body (which may be far distant from the symptom, related by what is called the meridian system) to bring about relief through greater balance and circulation of energies in the body (qi). It is intended to affect and balance the energetic system of the body in order to treat the human body, mind, emotions, energetic fields, and spirit.
While some practitioners believe that first hints of acupressure or reflexology have been found in ancient Indian texts, the first formally recognized mention of qi is in the Chinese writings of the Shang dynasty oracle bones which were produced between the 16th to 11th century B.C.
Possibly the earliest evidence of use of the meridian system for health purposes has been found in Europe, of all places. Ítzi the Iceman, a 5,000 year old mummy found preserved in an Alpine glacier, seems to have tattoos on points which correspond to points that a modern acupuncturist or tui na specialist would use to treat symptoms of diseases that Ítzi seems to have suffered from, including digestive parasites and degenerative bone disease.
Many East Asian martial arts also make extensive study and use of acupressure for self-defense and health purposes (chin na). The points or combinations of points are said to be used to manipulate or incapacitate an opponent. Also, martial artists regularly massage their own acupressure points in routines to remove blockages from their own meridians, claiming to enhance thereby their circulation and flexibility and keeping the points "soft," or less vulnerable to an attack. Attacking the acupressure points is one theme in the wuxia genre of movies and novels.
- fire cupping
- manipulative therapy
- pushing hands
- shiatsu (a Japanese form of acupressure)
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