As one of the Five Branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), acupressure is a powerful tool for health and healing. Like Qi Gong, it is a form of ‘healthcare’ that doesn’t require a medical degree, making it easily accessible to anyone who is willing to learn.
If you’re new to Chinese medicine or Qi Gong, acupressure can be a great way to learn about the fundamental principles that underlie the ancient practice. On the other hand, if you’re already a seasoned Qi Gong student, acupressure offers many wonderful opportunities for enhancing your practice and experiencing more Qi.
In this post, we’ll be exploring the theory and principles of acupressure practices and treatments.
The Origin of Acupressure
Long before doctors could use X Rays or blood tests to diagnose health ailments, people relied primarily on their own internal experiences to detect imbalances and heal themselves. Therefore, sages in ancient China paid great attention to the interconnectedness of all parts of the body.
One of the ways that these sages explored was through acupressure—a process by which they applied physical pressure to various parts of the body to awaken energy or remove blockages (more on this below).
Over time, they noticed similarities between how different people responded to the same acupressure treatments. After enough individuals experienced similar healing outcomes, the practice became widely respected and used within ancient China.
Understanding Acupressure Theory
As mentioned, acupressure is one of the Five Branches of TCM, which means that understanding acupressure requires discussing the fundamental principles of TCM.
In TCM, we view the body as a natural, physical structure that has a mysterious energy flowing through it called Qi. Every thought, feeling, or experience is intimately connected to the state of Qi within the body. Whether it’s a conscious behavior or an unconscious action such as the beating of the heart or inhaling with the lungs, Qi is the invisible life-force energy that makes us more than inanimate objects.
Like the soil in a fertile garden, each person has an abundance of energy (Qi) waiting to be cultivated. Although both gardens and people can grow without much guidance, the fruitfulness of each will be vastly different depending on the care put forth by the gardener.
An untended garden may yield some beautiful flowers, but it may also be hindered by unwelcomed weeds. Similarly, without self-care, a person’s own inner garden may encounter obstacles in the form of physical, mental, or emotional health challenges.
For humans, these obstacles usually happen when the Qi stops circulating in a natural and healthy way…
Just like the blood, Qi is constantly flowing and bringing its gifts to all parts of the body. And just like blood uses veins and blood vessels to circulate, Qi has its own pathways to move as well. We call these meridians.
Ailments are often the result of a blockage that occurs in one of the meridians. Essentially, when Qi is not able to flow naturally, a part of the body is no longer properly nourished.
Acupressure helps to clear such blockages so Qi can flow freely once again. A skilled practitioner can identify a blockage and apply the right amount of physical pressure to release the energy that is stored in that place.
Returning to the garden analogy, acupressure is like working with the soil to break up chunks of dirt and remove unwanted debris such as large rocks. By tending to a garden in this way, water will better permeate the soil and roots will have room to grow.
The similarities between people and gardens really aren’t that surprising from a Chinese medicine perspective. Qi is simply the force of nature, which is present both within and around humans. The same energy that causes a heart to beat also causes a tree to grow from seed. We are simply another creation of the natural world that relies on the same energy that flows abundantly wherever life and nature are found.
When Acupressure is Combined with Qi Gong
If you practice Qi Gong, you’re probably pretty familiar with the intention of allowing Qi to flow throughout your body. Qi Gong and acupressure are complementary practices that directly support one another.
Since Qi Gong focuses largely on moving energy throughout the body, acupressure is a very valuable practice for helping to facilitate that process.
To add one final analogy to our discussion: if you try to spread cold butter onto a piece of bread, you’ll notice that it doesn’t slide very easily. Therefore, it’s rather difficult to get the cold butter to cover the entire piece of bread evenly. Basically, it will take a lot longer than it needs to because the butter will be clumped together and resist the movement imposed by the butter knife.
On the other hand, if you heat up the butter, it will melt and your knife will effortlessly spread it across the entire face of the bread. The result will be a piece of bread that has a perfectly even layer of butter without any clumps or missing areas. Which piece of bread would you rather eat?
Combining acupressure and Qi Gong is like melting your metaphorical “Qi butter” before spreading it around your body. Acupressure is the process of melting the butter, and Qi Gong is the process of circulating. Together, we work in tandem to bring greater health, vitality, and aliveness to all parts of your being.
To provide additional insight into the power of acupressure practices, we’ve included a brief video with Lee…
Upcoming Acupressure Workshop
On Sunday, November 8th Lee will be guiding a special acupressure workshop to teach powerful practices for releasing blockages, freeing up stagnant energy, and improving the circulation of Qi.
Part of this workshop will focus on meridian theory and the specific acupressure points that we’ll be working with. Then, we’ll put theory into practice by applying the right techniques and unlocking latent potential.
Because acupressure and Qi Gong complement one another, Lee will also lead some nourishing Qi Gong routines to help in the process.
This is a virtual workshop that will be held online from 1 – 4:30pm Pacific (Los Angeles) Time. Therefore, all participants can enjoy the lessons from the comfort of their own homes, as well as go back and watch the recording after the workshop has ended.
Acupressure practices are deeply empowering for any student’s journey. Click on the banner below to learn more or sign up for the workshop today.
By Ian Drogin