What Is Chinese Acupressure Massage?-Tui Na

Have you been experiencing a high-stress level and looking for ways to relieve it? You are probably considering therapy. One of the types of therapy that can help you relieve stress is Shiatsu. It is a Chinese acupressure massage style that means finger pressure.

In today’s post, we will talk about what you should know regarding this style of acupressure massage, including its history, how therapists perform it, and what it is good for. You will also learn when to do acupressure and how it differs from acupuncture through this post. Let’s get started!

What is acupressure massage?

The Chinese have been using massage therapy for thousands of years to help fight different conditions that affect the body. Acupressure is a form of massage therapy based on Traditional Chinese Medicine. This is a manual technique of therapy that is non-invasive.

According to Chinese medicine, the human body contains meridians. The Chinese believe that a particular energy force called qi runs along the meridians. Acupressure massage therapists reveal that the meridians start at the fingertips and connect to the brain. Performing acupressure massage enables the energy that tends to get stuck at different points to flow. The therapists that perform acupressure achieve this by applying pressure at specific points on the body.

Though there are different styles of acupressure massage, Shiatsu is the most popular style. People use this form of massage therapy to enhance patients’ overall well-being. It involves using thumb and finger techniques. If energy flow gets stuck, the body fails to maintain the balance required to deal with different health issues. Performing Shiatsu can help combat this.

Other people believe that acupressure massage works by releasing endorphins in the body. Endorphins are natural pain relievers. There is also another theory regarding how acupressure massage works. Some people believe that the pressure applied to the body during the therapy impacts the autonomic nervous system. This part controls different systems in the body, such as breathing and digestion.

What is acupressure good for

Since Shiatsu improves the flow of energy in the body, therapists believe that it can help manage different conditions. It has both remedial and preventive effects. Therapists use Shiatsu to help minimize muscle stiffness, menstrual cramps, and headache in patients. If you have been experiencing insomnia, you should also consider Shiatsu since this acupressure massage therapy can help combat the condition.

Many experts also use it to treat low back pain, digestive disorders, bowel dysfunction, cancer-related fatigue, and pregnancy symptoms such as morning sickness and nausea. Specialists also reveal that acupressure is also suitable for motion sickness, PMS, and fibromyalgia.

According to most experts, Chinese acupressure massage works. Even clinical evidence proves that Shiatsu is effective in dealing with such conditions. Most Chinese believe that acupressure massage treats the body and spirit and can also help regulate emotions.

How to acupressure massage

Shiatsu massage therapists detect energy imbalance in patients’ bodies and use specific techniques to deal with this. Some acupressure massage techniques include tapping, brisk rubbing, kneading, and firm pressure, depending on your energy levels. Therapists can use the palms, fingers, feet, elbows, or even specific devices to perform Shiatsu on patients.

If you go for an acupressure massage, you will first lie down on a soft table with or without your clothes on. The therapist can then start pressing on specific acupressure points on your body. The practitioner can also stretch or rotate specific body tissues depending on your condition. The acupressure massage can feel more like a dance between the patient and therapist. Open communication is essential during the session.

The therapy session can take about an hour or more. Experiencing soreness after a Shiatsu massage is normal though this should not persist beyond 48 hours. For this massage therapy to work, you should go for a couple of sessions. You can, for instance, go for one Shiatsu session in a month to help maintain wellness. However, if you are experiencing high-stress levels, you can arrange for regular acupressure massage therapy sessions.

Acupressure history

The first people to introduce acupressure were the Chinese. Shiatsu originated from a Japanese massage style that was called Amna. The history of acupressure starts with the launching of Chinese medicine in Japan. Here is more!

When was acupressure invented?

This form of therapy dates back to 2000 B.C. Experts introduced traditional Chinese medicine in Japan in 700 AD. Shiatsu evolved from amna, which was developed in 1320. Shiatsu officially began in 1912 in China.

By the 1950s, acupressure massage therapy practices spread across different parts of the world. In 1957, the Ministry of Health gave the Shiatsu school license to teach acupressure massage. Shiatsu was initially considered a part of Amna during this period. The government recognized Shiatsu as a unique style of acupressure massage by 1964.

Who invention acupressure

Tokujiro Namikoshi is credited for inventing modern Shiatsu. He was a gifted child that healed his mother from rheumatism using hand and finger massage techniques. After this incident, he started gaining popularity and continued treating people using acupressure massage.

Though he was at one point arrested for conducting this practice without a license, he did not give up. He started training in Amna and, with time, managed to refine his massage techniques. His massage style differed from Amna’s since he utilized hand and finger techniques. He decided to name his massage style Shiatsu to distinguish it from Amna.

The term Shiatsu is a combination of two words that is Shi which means finger, and atsu, which stands for pressure. He established a Shiatsu college in the 1940s. Tokujiro continued offering acupressure massage therapy in different parts of the world until his demise in 2000.

When to do acupressure

You can do acupressure if you have a strong immune system but are experiencing either of the conditions we mentioned above. Most people that do acupressure suffer from anxiety or pain. If you choose to do Shiatsu, you must remember that patience is key to healing.

If you have a serious health concern, you should first consult with a doctor before going for acupressure massage therapy. Since acupressure is a complementary type of treatment, you should not solely depend on it, especially when you have a serious condition.

You should avoid acupressure if you have issues such as a rash, burns, open wound, blood cancer, chickenpox, fever, athlete’s foot, or uncontrolled diabetes. Doing it while pregnant can be uncomfortable due to challenges such as difficulty lying on your back. If you are feeling dizzy, you should be careful during acupressure massage therapy.

While some people practice acupressure by choosing professionals, some prefer at-home Shiatsu massagers. Though both options work, acupressure with a professional’s help is better since the expert can transfer energy and a sense of healing through their personal touch.

Acupressure points

The body contains certain spots that therapists refer to as acupressure points. Pressing acupressure points in the body promotes energy flow to specific parts that may be experiencing discomfort or pain. According to practitioners, acupressure points come in two forms: the trigger and local points.

The local acupressure points target the precise area in the body where you may be experiencing tension or pain. When a therapist stimulates the local points, you may experience pain relief. On the other hand, trigger points are those acupressure points that a therapist can stimulate to get rid of tension. This differs from local points since they are mostly far from the specific area that the therapist may be touching.

During Shiatsu, acupressure practitioners use different acupressure points to help alleviate certain conditions. For instance, a therapist can apply pressure between your forefinger and thumb. This is believed to massage the large intestines, and it can help eliminate migraines. This can also induce labor in pregnant women.

Another acupressure point is found between the neck and shoulder. Applying pressure on this point can relieve tension on the neck. On the other hand, massaging between the eyebrows can promote relaxation and stress relief since it is an acupressure point.

Acupressure vs acupuncture

Apart from Shiatsu, there is also another form of therapy that practitioners use on patients, known as acupuncture. Though both styles of therapy stimulate the meridians, they involve different techniques. While acupressure uses finger and palm techniques to apply pressure on certain points, acupuncture uses hair-thin needles.

In the second practice, the therapist inserts disposable needles into the skin of a patient to unblock the energy pathways. These two forms of treatment differ in that acupuncture is ideal for patients with chronic conditions while acupressure is suitable for patients with minor illnesses.


People have different views when it comes to acupressure massage. Though people believe that it works, some western practitioners do not believe in the existence of the meridians in the body. Despite the difference in opinions, evidence suggests that Shiatsu, a common style of acupressure massage, effectively treats minor ailments. If you are considering looking for an acupressure massage therapist, choose a certified and licensed one.

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