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Health Benefits of Acupressure

Author: Fay Smith    

Acupressure applies the same principles of acupuncture but without needles. This noninvasive pressure point therapy stimulates the body’s natural self-curative abilities by using the fingers to press key points on the skin’s surface.

What are the health benefits of this Asian form of massage? Can acupressure help with pain due to medical conditions and rare diseases like mesothelioma?

This article discusses the general health benefits of acupressure and how it can help relieve pain. It also lists the potential benefits of acupressure, particularly for individuals with medical conditions and rare diseases like mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma at any stage causes pain because of the tumor that grows and pushes against sensitive nerves. Fatigue is a common symptom of this rare cancer.

Research published in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) Oncology suggests that acupuncture and acupressure may ease the pain of some cancer patients. These two ancient forms of therapy may also help with cancer-related fatigue.

Some individuals may want to try acupuncture but hate needles. If you’re one of them and needles freak you out, acupressure may be a good option. Read on to learn more about acupressure’s health benefits and other related information.


Acupressure treatment

The Top 5 Health Benefits of Acupressure

Acupressure stimulates your body’s natural ability to heal itself. This ancient form of massage relies primarily on the fingers, thumbs, and palms to apply pressure to different points on your body.

Acupressure not only provides you with a deeply relaxing experience but may also have numerous health benefits. This touch therapy is a natural holistic approach to address possible blockages that may cause further health problems.

Here are the top five potential health benefits of acupressure:

1.  Acupressure May Help Minimize Headaches

Research suggests that one month of acupressure therapy is more effective in alleviating chronic headaches than one month of muscle relaxant treatment. The effect of acupressure therapy may also last for six months.

Sodium valproate is an anticonvulsant occasionally used to prevent migraine headaches. Studies have shown that acupressure as an adjunctive therapy to sodium valproate (ASV) may reduce migraine-related nausea during treatment.

However, ASV neither relieves pain nor enhances the quality of life in patients with chronic migraine with aura.

2.  Acupressure May Help Improve Sleep

A study suggests that acupressure may be an effective complementary nonintrusive method to help older people with cognitive disorders get fewer sleep disturbances. Still, more research is necessary to validate the result.

3.  Acupressure May Help Reduce Digestive Issues

Acupressure may also be a safe, noninvasive technique for individuals who undergo abdominal surgery. This pressure point therapy may also help improve gastrointestinal motility, or the movement of ingested food through the gut for absorbing water, electrolytes, and nutrients.

4.  Acupressure May Help Relieve Stress and Anxiety

A study suggests that acupressure may be applied in clinical stress management. This ancient form of massage may also alleviate anxiety.

Acupressure puts pressure on specific areas, called acupoints, in the body. An example of an acupoint is Yin Tang, found at the midpoint between your eyebrows. Putting pressure on this point may help alleviate stress and anxiety.

5.  Acupressure May Help With Neck Pain

Your neck can hold much tension, especially if your work requires you to use a computer for long periods.

Apply acupressure to your neck’s acupoints by pressing your fingers simultaneously on either side of the muscles surrounding your upper spine. Do this for several minutes, working your way up and down your neck.

Benefits of Acupressure for Medical Conditions and Rare Diseases

Acupressure may stimulate the body’s lymphatic, circulatory, and hormonal systems. It may also help the immune system to function properly.

Therapists use their knowledge of the points and meridians, the highways on which the qi (vital energy) flows throughout the body, to address specific disorders in patients.

For instance, applying pressure on the Feng Chi (GB20 or gallbladder 20 acupressure point), situated at the base of the skull, may help with ailments ranging from the common cold to high blood pressure.

Below are a few medical conditions and rare diseases that may benefit from acupressure:

  • Knee Osteoarthritis
    Studies have shown that self-administered acupressure may seem superior to usual care in managing and improving the physical function of older adults with knee osteoarthritis.
  • Type 2 Diabetes
    A 2018 study suggested that self-acupressure may be a helpful complementary method for reducing fasting blood sugar (FBS) and increasing insulin levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes.
  • Asthma
    Research suggests that individuals with chronic obstructive asthma may improve their quality of life when acupuncture or acupressure is added to their standard care.
  • Fatigue in Systematic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
    SLE is an autoimmune disease that is relatively uncommon and difficult to diagnose. SLE occurs when the immune system attacks its own tissues, causing tissue damage and inflammation in the affected organs.
    Fatigue is a universal symptom. However, for individuals with SLE and other autoimmune diseases, fatigue is more frequent and usually unresolved by rest. About 67% to 97% of individuals with SLE experience fatigue.
    Self-administered acupressure is a potentially safe technique that may improve fatigue in several chronic conditions, such as SLE.
  • Mesothelioma
    Studies have shown that acupressure may help mesothelioma patients with dyspnoea (labored breathing). This symptom affects individuals with lung illnesses.

How Acupressure May Help With Cancer-Related Pain

A 2018 survey showed that 75% of U.S. adults believed alternative therapies would be a good supplement to standard medical treatments for cancer.

Herbal medicines, spiritual therapies, and relaxation techniques were cancer patients’ most commonly used complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).

Data suggested that individuals with cancer were satisfied with the use of CAM without even seeing the apparent benefit from it. For instance, there were claims that acupressure, acupuncture, relaxation, and breathing techniques could provide relief from dyspnoea.

A preliminary study has shown that acupressure may be performed in the radiotherapy setting and can potentially make a difference in patients’ pain.

Another study suggested that acupuncture and acupressure may help reduce cancer pain. The two ancient forms of therapy may also decrease the use of analgesics, particularly opioids, in cancer patients.

Opioids, although effective in managing pain, are highly addictive. The U.S. is currently facing an opioid epidemic, with more than 33,000 individuals dying from opioid overdoses in 2015 alone.

The perception that opioid addiction is unavoidable has also led to persistent under-treatment of cancer pain. For these reasons, complementary and alternative medicines such as acupressure can be a potential pain management alternative to such a drug.

Acupressure done right can’t hurt you. Still, more research is necessary to determine how this pressure point therapy can specifically help people based on their symptoms.

Where Can You Go for Acupressure?

Visit us at King Spa to experience a relaxing acupressure session done the right way.

Hate needles? Our licensed therapists will reach deeply into your body’s pressure points to help relieve your pain, insomnia, stress, menstrual cramps, headaches, and fatigue.


  1. Acupressure
  2. Mesothelioma
  3. Clinical Evidence for Association of Acupuncture and Acupressure With Improved Cancer Pain
  4. Effects of Acupuncture and Acupressure on Cancer-Related Fatigue: A Systematic Review
  5. What Are the Benefits of Acupressure?
  6. Effect of acupressure and trigger points in treating headache: a randomized controlled trial
  7. Sodium valproate
  8. A randomized controlled trial of acupressure as an adjunctive therapy to sodium valproate on the prevention of chronic migraine with aura
  9. Acupressure in insomnia and other sleep disorders in elderly institutionalized patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease
  10. Effect of Acupressure on Symptoms of Postoperative Ileus After Cesarean Section Author links open overlay panel
  11. The Effect of Acupressure on Clinical Stress Management in Nursing Students: A Randomised Controlled Study
  12. Effects of Acupressure on Anxiety: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
  13. Acupressure for Stress and Anxiety
  14. Key Pressure Points To Relax And Ease Tension
  15. What Are the Benefits of Acupressure?
  16. Self-Acupressure for Older Adults With Symptomatic Knee Osteoarthritis: A Randomized Controlled Trial
  17. Effect of self-acupressure on fasting blood sugar (FBS) and insulin level in type 2 diabetes patients: a randomized clinical trial
  18. Effect of acupuncture or acupressure on quality of life of patients with chronic obstructive asthma: a pilot study
  19. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
  20. Fatigue in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: An Update on Its Impact, Determinants and Therapeutic Management
  21. Acupressure for Fatigue in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (AcuSLE)
  22. A randomised study comparing the effectiveness of acupuncture or morphine versus the combination for the relief of dyspnoea in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer and mesothelioma
  23. Percentage of U.S. adults that supported alternative medical treatments for cancer patients in 2018, by age*
  24. The Effect of Acupressure on Pain in Cancer Patients With Bone Metastasis: A Nonrandomized Controlled Trial
  25. Alternatives To Opioids For Managing Pain
  26. Pain and Opioid Dependence: Is it a Matter of Concern

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