The ancient therapy known as acupressure has evolved from the same roots as the Oriental arts of shiatsu and acupuncture. The Oriental medical view describes how the body works in terms of its Energy, or Qi, rather than in the mechanical terms we are more familiar with in the West. Oriental therapies work by treating imbalances in the level and flow of our bodies' Energy. Acupressure uses finger pressure on the acupuncture points to manipulate the Energy imbalances. It may be used as part of a shiatsu treatment. However, used on its own, it is an effective therapy.

This vital Energy, known as Qi, is what keeps our bodies functioning and keeps us active. The main source of Qi is Universal Qi, which is all around us and provides the life force of all living things. Other sources of Qi include the air we breathe and the food we eat.

To an Oriental medicine practitioner, the quality of our Qi depends on the state of balance between our mental/emotional, physical and spiritual aspects. When these aspects are in step with each other, we enjoy good health. But an imbalance in any one of them, whether as a result of an emotional trauma or of a virus, will alter our equilibrium and call for our bodies to readjust. Constant readjustment taxes our Qi, and from time to time we will not be able to respond sufficiently enough to restore the harmony between our minds, our bodies and our emotions and this results in illness.

How Acupressure works
The treatment system known as acupressure involves working on a patient's Qi by pressing the fingers and thumbs on specific points that are located along Channels (also known as Meridians) of Qi. These pressure points are the places where the Channels come near to the body's surface, making it possible to influence the Qi there. By manipulating the points the therapist can strengthen, disperse or calm the Qi, helping it to flow smoothly in the body and to bring a harmonious relationship between body and mind, relieving any symptoms.

Knowledge of the Channels and pressure points has arisen from thousands of years of medical practice in China and more recently in Japan. Each of the major Channels is connected to a specific organ from which it takes its name: for example, Large Intestine Channel or Lung Channel. The health of the organs depends on the smooth flow of Qi in the Channels, and this can be regulated by acupressure.

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