Acupressure Massage at our Bristol Clinic
Acupressure massage (known as Tuina in Chinese) is an important component of the treatment that we offer at our clinic in Bristol. It is a form of Chinese manual therapy that comprises one of the four main branches of traditional Chinese medicine. In acupressure massage we use the same channels and points that are stimulated with acupuncture, but use our fingers rather than needles to do the work. Acupressure is used to help with issues of an internal nature as well as musculoskeletal problems.
Depending on your situation, acupressure massage at our Bristol clinic may focus on the local area that you need help with or may focus on the channels as they run through larger areas of your body. During these sessions I use fingers, knuckles, palms, and elbows to apply pressure to the channels and points indicated by your condition. I may also talk you through ‘sinew stretches’ that aim to release deeper blocks, or simple breathing exercises that can help with relaxation and release.
Simple techniques that can lead to emotional and physical change.
Benefits of Acupressure Massage
Acupressure operates on the same fundamental principles as acupuncture and so can be used to help with many of the same conditions. In my own training I have studied methods for helping with aches and pains, headaches and migraines, digestive disorders, anxiety, depression, asthma, period pains, and menopausal issues.
In addition to acupressure techniques, you might also receive some of the supplementary treatments associated with acupuncture. This could include moxa, cupping, scraping, qi transmission, dietary advice, and qigong exercises. I will always discuss my treatment plans with you, and ensure that you are happy before we proceed with anything.
The Initial Consultation
Acupressure is a form of therapeutic bodywork, and as such sessions at our Bristol clinic are based on a thorough examination of the presenting condition. Much like with acupuncture, at your first appointment I will need to investigate your current situation, read your pulse and check your tongue, and may also palpate various muscles, channels and acupuncture points in order to make a full treatment plan. Subsequent visits will only require a brief enquiry to find out what has changed.
Acupressure & Acupuncture
When called for, and if you are happy to do so, I will often combine acupressure and acupuncture. This is an excellent way to improve the efficacy of your sessions, and should lead to faster and better results. For those not interested in needles, acupressure alone still offers a wonderful opportunity to benefit from traditional Chinese medicine.
What to Wear
Acupressure is performed through clothing so there is no need to remove your clothes. It is best if you can wear a single layer of thin clothing and avoid denim jeans as it is very hard to feel anything through this thick fabric. Supplementary techniques such as therapeutic oils, acupuncture, moxa and cupping may require access to more of your body, but here we can use a gown or sheet as needed.
This Healthline website summarises research into conditions that may be benefited by acupressure massage. Their list includes blood circulation, neck pain, low back pain, depression, lactation, osteoarthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, musculoskeletal disorders, foot issues from diabetes, and quality of life in cancer patients.
This Acupuncture Massage College website describes some of the different methods used in acupressure massage, as well as some of the health benefits.
This University of Minnesota website gives a brief introduction into the therapeutic nature of acupressure massage, and also discusses when it might be used.
Frequently Asked Questions
Acupressure is performed through clothing, so it is best to wear a layer of light clothing during treatment. Please avoid wearing denim jeans as it is difficult to work through this thick fabric and may effect the quality of treatment you receive.
Please try to eat a light meal about two hours prior to treatment, as it is best to avoid feeling too full or too hungry when on the couch. Please also avoid consuming caffeine and alcohol for at least two hours before your session, as these can interfere with your treatment. Finally, please avoid brushing your tongue, wearing strong perfume, and wear only minimal makeup, as this will allow for more accurate diagnosis.
Acupressure is a form of therapeutic bodywork, and as such not generally sought out solely for pleasure. Sessions involve a combination of strong and gentle techniques. Whenever strong pressure is required, I will always work with you to find the appropriate level. At no point will you be pressured to accept techniques you are not comfortable with.
With acute conditions, I would want to see improvement after 2 or 3 sessions, and for chronic problems I would want to see improvement after 5 or 6 sessions. I will review your treatment plan at each session, and discuss referral options if we are not seeing the changes we would like.
Some clients choose to attend clinic regularly for help with ongoing chronic problems as well as for help with the everyday stresses and strains of life.
Many people in Western countries expect to come for acupressure massage once a week, and this works well for the most part. There are, however, some cases where more frequent sessions may lead to better results and I will discuss this with you if I think it is the case. Generally, once an issue is under control, sessions can become more spaced out. I also recommend quarterly visits to ensure that you are staying well.
Most patients report feeling much more loose and energised after their sessions.
If you are receiving acupressure for the first time then you could feel a little light headed or tired directly after treatment. This is a normal reaction and is not something to be concerned about. It should pass quickly, and leave you to appreciate the otherwise positive benefits.
Acupressure can also cause the body to become a little dehydrated so it’s good idea to drink some water before and after your session.