The Life List: Clarifying five common perceptions about acupressure

SINGAPORE – Acupressure is a form of traditional Chinese medicine which may provide temporary relief from anxiety in these stressful times. But take note of the myths surrounding it.

1. Myth: The longer and harder I press, the better the effect.

This is false. Exerting too much pressure on an acupoint for a prolonged period of time will result in bruises and other injuries.

Instead, you should spend only 30 seconds to one minute on each acupoint. You should feel some soreness if the acupoint is being stimulated correctly.

If you feel sharp pain instead of soreness, you are either stimulating the wrong point or applying too much pressure.

2. Myth: If I am pregnant, I have to exercise caution with acupressure.

This is true. While most of the points are safe for pregnancy, there are a few acupoints that have been proven to induce labour and hence should be avoided during pregnancy.

Check with your acupuncturist or TCM physician if you are unsure.

3. Myth: Acupressure may conflict with supplements, medication and physical therapy.

This is false. As acupressure is safe and non-invasive, there is no conflict between acupressure and conventional medicine.

Acupressure should work nicely as a supplement to your conventional treatment plan. However, patients with life-threatening diseases or serious medical conditions should consult their doctor before performing acupressure or other alternative therapies.

4. Myth: Acupuncture and acupressure points are useful only for treating pain.

This is false. While acupuncture and acupressure points are widely known for managing pain conditions, they are also used to treat stress-related conditions, addiction problems, and digestive and other conditions, as the network of meridians or channels have linkages to our organ systems as well.

5. Myth: Acupressure or acupuncture is a magic pill that gives instant results.

This is false. While some conditions, especially acute ones, may experience almost instant relief, most issues require a course of treatment before seeing results.

Acupuncture and acupressure points stimulate the body’s own mechanisms, but without appropriate lifestyle changes, such as a better diet and exercise, it is difficult for positive changes to occur in the body.

Those who try it are encouraged to be patient with themselves and provide their bodies with the right conditions for healing to take place.

• Source: Acupuncturists Amanda Chua and Melissa Ong from Khoo Teck Puat Hospital Sports Medicine Centre

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