Acupressure's Potent Points: A Guide to Self-Care for Common Ailments By Michael Reed Gach
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With your hands you have potential to relieve everyday aches, pains and ailments without taking drugs, to improve your health, and to increase your vitality. Acupressure is an ancient healing art that uses the fingers to stimulate key points on the skin that, in turn, activate the body's natural self-healing processes. With this book, it is a skill you can learn now--and use in your own home.
In Acupressure's Potent Points, Michael Reed Gach, founder and director of the Acupressure Institute of America, reveals simple techniques that enable you to relieve headaches, arthritis, colds and flu, insomnia, backaches, hiccups, leg pain, hot flashes, depression, and more--using the power and sensitivity of your own hands.
This practical guide covers more than forty ailments and symptoms, from allergies to wrist pain, providing pressure-point maps and exercises to relieve pain and restore function. Acupressure complements conventional medical care, and enables you to take a vital role in becoming well and staying well. With this book you can turn your hands into healing tools--and start feeling good now.
- Amazon Sales Rank: #5031 in Books
- Published on: 1990-11-01
- Released on: 1990-11-01
- Original language: English
- Number of items: 1
- Dimensions: 9.15" h x .65" w x 7.30" l, 1.19 pounds
- Binding: Paperback
- 272 pages
From Library Journal
The technique of using acupressure to relieve pain has been around for 5000 years and even predates acupuncture. It is possible to learn to perform acupressure on oneself by following the well-illustrated instructions and diagrams in this book. Two clearly written chapters give the history, theory behind the technique, and some general instructions, followed by 40 chapters which cover specific disorders--acne, insomnia, shoulder tension, etc.--and how acupressure can help relieve them. There is also a glossary. Libraries that don't have other works on this subject will want this one; those that do will still want to consider this as a worthy additional purchase.
- Natalie Kupferberg, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., New York
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
About the Author
Michael Reed Gach, PhD, Dipl ABT, founded the Acupressure Institute in 1976, one of the leading international training schools in Asian bodywork. Gach is a national expert on acupressure therapy and has taught over 100,000 people from all over the world. He is also the originator of Acu-Yoga, a self-healing system of exercises that integrates acupressure and yoga. Gach received his PhD from Columbia Pacific University in health and human services.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
1 What Is Acupressure?
Acupressure is an ancient healing art that uses the fingers to press key points on the surface of the skin to stimulate the body's natural self-curative abilities. When these points are pressed, they release muscular tension and promote the circulation of blood and the body's life force to aid healing. Acupuncture and acupressure use the same points, but acupuncture employs needles, while acupressure uses the gentle but firm pressure of hands (and even feet). There is a massive amount of scientific data that demonstrates why and how acupuncture is effective. But acupressure, the older of the two traditions, was neglected after the Chinese developed more technological methods for stimulating points with needles and electricity. Acupressure, however, continues to be the most effective method for self-treatment of tension-related ailments by using the power and sensitivity of the human hand.
Foremost among the advantages of acupressure's healing touch is that it is safe to do on yourself and others--even if you've never done it before--so long as you follow the instructions and pay attention to the cautions. There are no side effects from drugs, because there are no drugs. And the only equipment needed are your own two hands. You can practice acupressure therapy any time, anywhere.
My clinical experiences over the past eighteen years have shown me that acupressure can be effective in helping relieve headaches, eyestrain, sinus problems, neck pain, backaches, arthritis, muscle aches, and tension due to stress. I have also shown hundreds of my acupressure students, patients, and friends how to use acupressure to relieve ulcer pain, menstrual camps, lower back aches, constipation, and indigestion. You can also use self-acupressure to relieve anxiety and to help you get to sleep at night.
Susan, a student of mine, was suffering from insomnia and occasional headaches for many years, as the result of a neck injury. "I feel so tired and weary, nearly all the time, Michael," she said. "Can acupressure points help me?"
I showed her several potent points on her ankles and neck for headaches, as well as some upper-back stretching exercises for her insomnia. Susan reported to me two weeks later, glowing. "The treatment really worked! I've been sleeping uninterrupted and soundly through the night for the first time in fifteen years."
There are also great advantages to using acupressure as a way to balance the body and maintain good health. The healing touch of acupressure reduces tension, increases circulation, and enables the body to relax deeply. By relieving stress, acupressure strengthens resistance to disease and promotes wellness.
In acupressure, local symptoms are considered an expression of the condition of the body as a whole. A tension headache, for instance, may be rooted in the shoulder and neck area. Thus acupressure focuses on relieving pain and discomfort as well as on responding to tension before it develops into a "dis-ease," that is, before the constrictions and imbalances can do further damage. By using a combination of self-help methods such as trigger point stimulation, deep breathing, range-of-motion exercises, and relaxation techniques, you can improve your condition as well as feel more alive, healthy, and in harmony with your life.
Recently, Judy, one of my advanced acupressure students, complained about having night sweats. She was in the midst of making a serious decision about where to live, which also involved a relationship that was troubling her. I immediately noticed that her upper back was rounded by tension and discovered even more tension in her neck. I showed her the points for working on these areas. A month later, after using acupressure on herself twice a day, Judy reported that much of her upper back tension and a "ball" of deep anxiety had dissipated. She also felt clearer and more objective in dealing with her problems. Best of all, the night sweats that had made her miserable for two months were gone.
Alice, one of my elderly clients, had limited mobility in her neck with severe arthritic neck pain that radiated down her shoulders into her arms as well as up into her head. After her first acupressure session, she not only felt less discomfort but also had greater flexibility in her neck. For the first time in years, she was able to move her head freely without pain.
After several weeks Alice realized that she could help herself using the points underneath the base of her skull to relieve both her neck pain and stiffness. Recently she told me that whenever the pain "creeps up on her," she practices self-acupressure. It is possible that this increased mobility, in turn, prevents further deterioration.
The Development of Acupressure
The origins of acupressure 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.
More than 5,000 years ago, the Chinese discovered 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.1 Gradually, they found other locations that not only alleviated pain but also influenced the functioning of certain internal organs.
In the early Chinese dynasties, when stones and arrows were the only implements of war, many soldiers wounded on the battlefield reported that symptoms of disease that had plagued them for years had suddenly vanished. Naturally, such strange occurrences baffled the physicians who could find no logical relationship between the trauma and the ensuing recovery of health. After years of meticulous observation, ancient Chinese physicians developed ways of curing certain illnesses by striking or piercing specific points on the surface of the body.2
As with the Chinese soldiers, people through the ages have found the most effective ways to help themselves by trial and error. The art and science of acupressure was practiced by the contributions of people whose awareness was so highly developed that they could feel where the bodies of people in pain were constricted and sense which trigger points would alleviate the problem. The Chinese have practiced self-acupressure for over 5,000 years as a way of keeping themselves well and happy. You, too, can learn how to complement the care you receive from your doctors. You can help your body relieve itself of common ailments, such as those in this book, by pressing the proper spots, which I will teach you. In the course of trying out these points, you may even find others that work better for you.
Many of the health problems in our society--from bad backs to arthritis--are the result of living unnaturally. Stress, tension, lack of exercise, poor eating habits, and poor posture contribute to the epidemic of degenerative diseases in our culture. Acupressure is one way to help your body fight back and balance itself in the face of the pressures of modern life.
How Acupressure Works
Acupressure points (also called potent points) are places on the skin that are especially sensitive to bioelectrical impulses in the body and conduct those impulses readily. Traditionally, Asian cultures conceived of the points as junctures of special pathways that carried the human energy that the Chinese call chi and the Japanese call ki. Western scientists have also mapped out and proven the existence of this system of body points by using sensitive electrical devices.
Stimulating these points with pressure, needles, or heat triggers the release of endorphins, which are the neurochemicals that relieve pain. As a result, pain is blocked and the flow of blood and oxygen to the affected area is increased. This causes the muscles to relax and promotes healing.
Because acupressure inhibits the pain signals sent to the brain through a mild, fairly painless stimulation, it has been described as closing the "gates" of the pain-signaling system, preventing painful sensations from passing through the spinal cord to the brain.3
Besides relieving pain, acupressure can help rebalance the body by dissolving tensions and stresses that keep it from functioning smoothly and that inhibit the immune system. Acupressure enables the body to adapt to environmental changes and resist illness.
Tension tends to concentrate around acupressure points. When a muscle is chronically tense or in spasm, the muscle fibers contract due to the secretion of lactic acid caused by fatigue, trauma, stress, chemical imbalances, or poor circulation. For instance, when you are under a great deal of stress you may find you have difficulty breathing. Certain acupressure points relieve chest tension and enable you to breathe deeply.
As a point is pressed, the muscle tension yields to the finger pressure, enabling the fibers to elongate and relax, blood to flow freely, and toxins to be released and eliminated. Increased circulation also brings more oxygen and other nutrients to affected areas. This increases the body's resistance to illness and promotes a longer, healthier, more vital life. When the blood and bioelectrical energy circulate properly, we have a greater sense of harmony, health, and well-being.
Ways to Use Acupressure
Acupressure's potent points can be used to enhance many aspects of life. In addition to managing stress, you can use acupressure to relieve and prevent sports injuries. Sports massage has been widely used by athletes before and after Olympic events. Acupressure complements sports medicine treatments by using points and massage techniques to improve muscle tone and circulation and relieve neuromuscular problems.
The Chinese have also used acupressure as a beauty treatment for thousands of years. You can use potent points to improve skin condition and tone and relax the facial muscles, which can lessen the appearance of wrinkles without drugs...
Most helpful customer reviews
236 of 241 people found the following review helpful.
Want Relief? Get To The Point!
By Susan Nelson
In a nutshell, Acupressure's Potent Points: a Guide to Self-Care for Common Ailments shows the reader how they can use acupressure on themselves to relieve stress related problems.
So what exactly is acupressure? Well, its an ancient healing art that uses the fingers to press on key points on the surface of the skin- which in turn stimulates the body's natural self-curing abilities. More specifically, when these points are pressed on for several minutes, they release muscular tension and promote the circulation of blood and the body's life force to aid healing. If at this point you're wondering how acupressure differs from ACUPUNCTURE, well, there's not much difference- the same points are used for both, its's just that one uses needles and the other uses your fingers.
And just what makes these acupressure points or "potent points" so special? Well, as the book explains, they are places on the skin that are especially sensitive to bioelectrical impulses in the body and conduct these impulses readily. So, by stimulating these points with your fingers, you're triggering the release of endorphins (your body's natural pain killers) which blocks the pain. This in turn increases the flow of blood and oxygen to the affected area which promotes healing and causes the muscles to relax.
Neat huh? This kind of info is covered in Part I of the book. Part II, which is about 85% of the book, covers the acupressure points themselves and the techniques for the specific ailments- and boy do they cover the ailments! Just about everything you can imagine is covered from acne to fainting to shoulder tension. Pictures are a plenty and show you the exact areas to press on- it's a pretty easy process and the book makes it simple to do. Also of note is that there are two ways to use the book, you can look up a problem by system (i.e. digestive system, immune system, etc.) via a handy chart, or simply look a problem up by flipping around as the ailments are covered in alphabetical order.
The book ends with two appendices, one being a nice point location chart, and the other a summary of the potent points. All-in-all its a pretty clear and easy to use book that should help many put an end to their stress-related aches and pains. Other pain books that might be of interest include The 5-Minute Plantar Fasciitis Solution for readers suffering from plantar fasciitis.
56 of 56 people found the following review helpful.
Clears away my sinus problems!
By Joy Gatewood Fulton
I was skeptical of acupressure and only bought the book because my massage therapist uses it along with trigger point massage. I took it with me on a recent vacation. On the plane, I found that there were guided procedures to use for sinus problems and another set for earaches. I am always sniffling and my ears always hurt when the plane lands. I followed the procedures and found I could breathe out of my left nostril easily - for the first time in years (without any drugs). Also, my ears did not hurt when the plane landed and I could hear right away. These two things alone are worth the price of the book to me.
57 of 59 people found the following review helpful.
Very User Friendly and Helpful
By J. Eure
This is a very useful reference for anyone interested in playing an active part in healing themselves. Just look up your complaint (headache, nausea, etc) and the book provides several points that may help, along with a description of the points, their names and what they are specifically helpful for. The book also provides detailed instructions and photos to help you get the proper position of the points. Very easy to use and understand.
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