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The Use Of Acupressure In Massage Therapy Treatments

By Dave Hanemaayer RMT CAMA, Registered Massage Therapist and Acupuncture Practicioner


Acupressure has been practiced as a healing art for at least 5,000 years through Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). This complete health system has been documented for use in treating over 3,000 conditions that is totally natural and taps your own body’s ability to heal itself.

The Traditional Chinese Medicine View

Similar to acupuncture with needles, pressure is applied instead with either the fingers, thumbs knuckles or elbow. Acupressure works to stimulate specific “acu” points located along lines through the body called in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) “meridians”. There are 14 main meridian lines that contain over 600 “acu” points. These meridians cannot be physically seen - they are separate from the western anatomical interpretation of nerves, blood vessels and lymphatic ducts.

TCM views meridians as series of channels that carry “qi” (aka “vital energy”, pronounced “chee”) through the body. When qi is able to flow through the meridians in a balanced and even way, the result is good health. When you experience pain or illness it is an indication that there is a block or leak in the energy flow within your body. By stimulating a specific combination of acupoints, the aim is to promote a “healing response” that restores proper balance and health in the body.

The Scientific View

Despite not being physically able to view meridian lines, some scientific evidence is emerging supporting the physical presence of meridian lines in the body.

It is theorized that the “healing response” triggered by acupressure promotes an intricate internal process. Pain, injury or stimulation to your body alerts it to unleash a host of naturally occurring compounds to heal the affected area. The heart rate increases, blood pressure is altered and the delivery of endorphins and nutrients required for repair is excellerated. This speeds up the elimination of toxins from the damaged area, which also promotes healing.

In summary, acupressure induces a healing response by stimulating injury through pressure. When applied to specific acupoints along the meridians at different spots for different conditions, this pressure tricks the body into thinking it has been damaged. The body then produces endorphins to relieve distress in the organs and systems corresponding to that acupressure point. While the body is healing at the point of pain, it also produces a healing response all along the meridian.


Acupressure is one of Dave's favourite techniques utilized in his massage therapy treatments. It is a perfect compliment to laser acupuncture for many different pain syndromes such as neck pain, back pain, stress, carpal tunnel, sciatica, tennis elbow and more.