Acupressure is the application of pressure to a specific area of the body that has pain. The therapist will use fingers, thumbs, palms, or elbows to stimulate, disperse, and regulate the body’s own healing energy.
The main concept is to move the body’s energies along established pathways called meridians, which connect and cross at various locations throughout the body. For example, facial pain can be eliminated by applying pressure to a specific section of the hand since a meridian connects the two areas at that point. According to traditional Chinese philosophy, the body’s twelve major meridians start in the chest and travel to the hands and back to the head. From there, they flow to the feet and then back to the chest. Each meridian links a number of areas of the body, including the organs and their functions.
Credentialing is not officially established and varies among acupressurists, with some using the initials indicating OBT (Oriental Bodywork Therapist).
Foot reflexology is a therapeutic approach that applies pressure to specific areas on the feet in order to locate and correct problems in other areas of the body. This form of healing dates back to the ancient cultures of China, Japan, Egypt, India, as well as from North and South America.
In the early 1900’s, Dr. William Fitzgerald developed ten “zones” of the body that could be stimulated within certain regions of the foot. Later, Eunice Ingham, a physical therapist, developed these zones by charting them on the soles of the feet.
Credentials are earned after successfully passing a 200-hour program of which 100 hours must be documented clinical work. Although foot reflexology is an independent field, some therapists incorporate it into their own established practices.
Shiatsu is a form of bodywork based on the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine dating back thousands of years. Pressure can be applied to various parts of the body using fingers, thumbs, palms, elbows, knees, and feet. Shiatsu techniques stimulate the flow of energy, breaking down blockages, and restoring balance while gently stretching to relax the muscles.
Credentialing can include the use of the initials OBT (Oriental Bodywork Therapist).
Trigger Point Therapy
Trigger point therapy is also known as myotherapy. It is a bodywork technique that focuses on trigger points in muscle tissue that radiates pain to other areas of the body. The goal of this therapy is to interfere with that signal. Pressure is applied to these areas to relieve pain, tension, or spasms and to reprogram the signal.
Trigger point therapy began with a US doctor, Janet Travell, who used injections of saline and procaine to relieve the areas of pain. She is credited with mapping the trigger points. Later, a fitness expert named Bonnie Prudden in the 1950’s, applied sustained pressure to these points, relieving the pain without injections.
Certification is received after a 1400-hour training program and a board examination to become a CBPM (Certified Bonnie Prudden Myotherapist). Various healthcare professionals incorporate this approach into their practices and, after training, must have forty-five hours of continuous education each year to maintain certification.