- $45 for a 60-minute shiatsu massage ($75 value)
Acupressure: Healing with Precise Pressure
Acupressure treatments can bring back balance to your body. Learn how they reach for equilibrium with Groupon's study of this ancient technique.
The power to thwart a headache may lie in your own two hands. Simply use your right thumb to apply pressure to the fleshy web between your thumb and forefinger of your left hand, hold for a minute, then switch to the other hand. This DIY technique is based on a form of ancient Chinese medicine known as acupressure—basically, acupuncture without the needles. Both acupuncture and acupressure rely on the stimulation of key points along the body's meridians, invisible lines that are believed to serve as pathways for energy (called chi) to flow between vital organ systems. Acupressure practitioners use either their hands or blunt instruments to apply pressure to these points in order to knock down barricades on chi highways and restore balance to the body. This deceptively simple technique has been used to assuage symptoms ranging from nausea and muscle pain to stress and fatigue.
Although it's considered less precise than acupuncture, acupressure can focus more on the body as a whole, and is an ideal alterative for needle-phobic patients or sick balloon animals. The scientific jury is still out on how acupressure might work, but many believe that the pressure can help release endorphins or send signals through the autonomic nervous system, which regulates involuntary responses such as heart rate, digestion, and breathing.
Most acupressure sessions begin with a consultation to establish what ailments need addressing. Patients can remain fully clothed during the treatment, which can also be incorporated into traditional massage techniques, particularly shiatsu, which centers on pressure from the fingers and palms. Acupressure has even made its way into veterinary clinics, where practitioners apply their healing touch to dogs, horses, minks, and rabbits.