The use of the ancient Oriental practices of acupuncture and acupressure for treating a variety of common ailments has been steadily on the rise in recent years. In fact, according to the 2002 National Health Interview Survey, an estimated 8.2 million US adults have used acupuncture, with an estimated 2.1 million US adults having used acupuncture in the previous year. More and more women are finding relief from common pregnancy problems using these two ancient therapies.
Acupuncture vs. Acupressure
Acupuncture can be traced back more than 2,000 years to its origins in China. The practice is based on the belief that a person's health is determined by a flow of qi, sometimes spelled ch'i or chi; this fundamental concept of everyday Chinese culture is often defined as the "air" or "breath" which moves throughout the body along fourteen energy pathways, called "meridians." These meridians are linked to several of the body's vital organs, and there are numerous points within the meridians that can be activated to increase the stream of qi.
A person's qi is considered unstable when it is interrupted, especially if that person is under stress. According to acupuncture's teachings, an interruption may cause illness. To treat this illness, an acupuncturist locates the meridian points that should be treated to re-establish balance in the body.
Acupuncture treatment requires the use of tiny, thin needles that are placed in precise acupuncture points on the body to restore harmony and health.
Similar to acupuncture, acupressure's roots can be traced back over thousands of years to China. Acupressure is an ancient bodyworking technique that involves applying pressure to the same meridian points used during acupuncture. With acupressure, those points are stimulated through the touch of fingers, elbows, hands, or various other devices, but not through the use of needles. Acupressure has been used to help relax the mind and body, increase blood circulation and energy levels, and ease the pain of childbirth.