"The origins of acupressure and acupuncture are as ancient as the instinctive impulse to hold your forehead or temples when you have a headache. Everyone at one time or another has used his or her hands spontaneously to hold tense or painful places on the body.
The Chinese discovered more than 5,000 years ago that pressing certain points on the body relieved pain where it occurred and also benefited other parts of the body more remote from the pain and the pressure point. Gradually, they found other locations that not only alleviated pain but also influenced the functioning of certain internal organs."
Michael Reed Gach
Rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), acupressure promotes well-being through the stimulation of key points on the surface of the body. Stimulation of these "acupoints" which are part of a vast network of energy channels ("meridians") through which energy ("qi") continually travels, in turn, stimulates the body’s natural self-curative abilities by helping to clear a blocked energy flow. This promotes the re-establishment of harmony and well-being through the greater balance and circulation of fluids (blood, lymph) and metabolic energies in the body (heat, qi).
(Notably, acupuncture and acupressure use the same acupoints and meridians but acupuncture employs needles while acupressure uses the power and sensitivity of the hand, usually through the fingers and finger pressure.)
Further, acupressure is a holistic healthcare in that, as part of TCM, "disease" is generally perceived as a disharmony (or imbalance) in the functions or interactions of the body’s substances and energies and/or of the interaction between the human body and the environment.
In TCM, "patterns of disharmony" are identified through various techniques (listening, pulse taking, examination of the tongue, observation,...) and using several frameworks (Yin/Yang, Ba Gang, Zang Fu, Wu Xing, Pernicious Energies,...). Therapy is based on the "pattern of disharmony" identified.
In the case of acupressure, treatment points are chosen based on this pattern (or combination of patterns). In addition, the use of complementary techniques, like moxabustion, Gua Sha or Tui Na can be sometimes be indicated.
In short, acupressure is a natural, gentle, non-invasive, holistic therapy that encourages the body to heal itself.