Acupressure is an alternative medicine technique similar in principle to acupuncture. It is based on the concept of life energy which flows through “meridians” in the body. In treatment, physical pressure is applied to acupuncture pointswith the aim of clearing blockages in these meridians. Pressure may be applied by hand, by elbow, or with various devices.
Some medical studies have suggested that acupressure may be effective at helping manage nausea and vomiting, for helping lower back pain, tension headaches, stomach ache, among other things, although such studies have been found to have a high likelihood of bias.Like many alternative medicines, it may benefit from a placebo effect.
According to Quackwatch acupressure is a dubious practice, and its practitioners use irrational methods.
Acupoints used in treatment may or may not be in the same area of the body as the targeted symptom. The traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) theory for the selection of such points and their effectiveness is that they work by stimulating the meridian systemto bring about relief by rebalancing yin, yang and qi (also spelled “chi”).
Many East Asian martial arts also make extensive study and use of acupressure for self-defense and health purposes, (chin na, tui 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 supposed blockages from their own meridians, claiming to thereby enhance their circulation and flexibility and keeping the points “soft” or less vulnerable to an attack
An acupressure wristband that is claimed to relieve the symptoms of motion sickness and other forms of nauseaprovides pressure to the acupuncture point, a point that has been extensively investigated.The Cochrane Collaboration reviewed the use of P6 for nausea and vomiting, and found it to be effective for reducing post-operative nausea, but not vomiting. The Cochrane review included various means of stimulating P6, including acupuncture, electro-acupuncture, transcutaneous nerve stimulation, laser stimulation, acustimulation device and acupressure; it did not comment on whether one or more forms of stimulation were more effective. EBM reviewerBandolier said that P6 in two studies showed 52% of patients with control having a success, compared with 75% with P6.
Quackwatch includes acupressure in a list of methods which have no “rational place” as massage therapy and states that practitioners “may also use irrational diagnostic methods to reach diagnoses that do not correspond to scientific concepts of health and disease.”