The Benefits of Acupressure

In In The News by Barbara Jacoby

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By: Laura Carfang


2020 was a year that forced doctors, patients and their caregivers to rethink how they work together–virtual appointments over Zoom, conversing through electronic portals, viewing diagnoses through the lens of a global pandemic. One bright spot, however, was that patients and caregivers had to get creative and look into alternative forms of therapy and relief. The numerous benefits of acupuncture, acupressure and other forms of integrative treatment have been widely shared and discussed, but the stay-at-home orders as a result of the pandemic have shone a new light on just how great those benefits are, and how easily some of them, like acupressure, can be administered at home.

Acupressure is an ancient healing art that’s based on the traditional Chinese medicine practice of acupuncture, but instead of using needles, pressure is put on specific places on the body, called acupoints. Pressure on acupoints helps to relieve muscle tension, promote blood circulation and can even relieve many common side effects of chemotherapy. Pressure Point P-6, also known as Neiguan and located on your inner arm near your wrist, for example, can help relieve nausea and vomiting related to chemotherapy, according to Memorial Sloan Cancer Center. 

Acupressure is a great option not only for relief from chemotherapy symptoms, but can be used to help alleviate lingering symptoms of treatment that many who are diagnosed with breast cancer experience. The results of a randomized study published in JAMA Oncology found that six weeks of self-administered acupressure reduced fatigue in breast cancer survivors by as much as 34% as compared to those with no intervention. Suzanna M. Zick, ND, MPH, of the departments of family medicine and nutritional sciences at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, one of the authors of the study, notes  “Fatigue is an underappreciated symptom across a lot of chronic diseases, especially cancer. It has a significant impact on quality of life.”

Acupressure requires little to no cost and is easy and safe to learn and self-administer. Read on to learn more about the benefits of this ancient healing art and ways you can incorporate it into your own daily practice.