Access Your Own Power of Healing Touch
It might be a warm handshake, comforting embrace... or a luscious kiss. The lightest touch at the right moment can make a radical difference in how you feel… even send tingles up your spine. The transfer of energy seems palpable. So… it’s not surprising that in some cases, the power of touch is so intense, it can even heal. However, in the medical community, there’s much skepticism on the subject of healing touch, and whether it’s real or imagined. Ironically, modern science relies on energy medicine each day to diagnose patients. After all, what is an EKG but a medical test measuring the heartbeat’s electrical current?
Acupressure heals the body through pulsing fingertips... It can be performed by a practitioner or yourself, gentle or stimulating, and has shown to produce remarkable health benefits in the body and mind. Nature based medicine, including energy work has been traced back millennia. According to Chinese medicine specialist, Tsao-Lin Moy, founder of Integrative Healing Arts,“acupressure in China is thought to have been practiced even earlier than acupuncture and may date as far back as 2000 B.C.” Unlike acupuncture which is done with needles, “Acupressure is the pressing and stimulation of acupuncture points without piercing the skin. Shiatsu is the Japanese word for massage with finger pressure, it is essentially acupressure massage,” says, Tsao-Lin.
Traditionally, touch based therapies like acupressure were considered alternative medicine and based on belief rather than science. Today Western medicine is beginning to take notice of integrative approaches to healing, specifically acupressure; a recent study on self-administered acupressure, performed at the University of Michigan (published in Pain Medicine), showed significant relief in subjects with chronic lower back pain. Over the course of 6 weeks, 67 subjects were separated into 3 groups. For roughly 30 minutes each day, one group performed relaxing acupressure, another did stimulating acupressure, and the third group stuck to their normal care. After the time was up, both groups who’d used acupressure experienced pain relief. Other studies successful studies have been performed for osteoarthritis and cancer related pain.
There’s a beautiful harmony woven through Eastern medicine. Tsao-Lin talks about Chinese medicine, and says, “the practice is based on the Taoist principles of Yin and Yang and the energetic laws of the universe (life, death, re-birth).” How exactly does Yin and Yang fit in? According to Tsao-Lin, they, “represent the dynamic balance of interrelated and opposing forces of life. Life force is called “Qi” (chee), qi is what flows between energy and matter. Qi is everywhere.”
Acupressure is used in a rainbow of ways. In addition to treating health concerns, it’s also used as a diagnostic tool. So… how exactly does touching the body produce physical changes? Tsao-Lin says, “The Ancients believed the root of all disease was from the blockage of Qi and blood. And the goal is that acupressure removes the blockage by palpating along meridians where the Qi flows.”
Can touch and pressure remove the blockage? Tsao-Lin says, “If there is tenderness in an area the practitioner may devote extra time to help release the tension.” The result? “Stimulating specific points helps bring the body back into balance. By restoring the free flow of qi and blood, the body is able to heal itself… The mind, body, spirit connection.”
Ready to practice acupressure on yourself? Rub a little apricot or coconut oil in your palms and read on…
Which pressure points enhance immunity/wellness? When it comes to staying healthy, it’s crucial to listen to your body. Tsao-Lin says, “Intuitively we know when the body feels “blockage” of energy... there is stiffness and even some pain and discomfort.” A little self-care goes a long way. “Massaging those tender areas will help increase circulation and get the Qi flowing,” says Tsao-Lin.
How can you achieve deeper sleep, or fall asleep faster? Tsao-Lin says, “Massaging your feet helps bring the energy downward as opposed to in the head with racing thoughts.” In addition, Tsao-Lin recommends, “a little stretching before bed, like Yoga’s Cat Cow, so the spine goes into alignment before sleep.”
Should you do anything special upon waking to get your energy flowing? Tsao-Lin believes in the value of stretching each morning, “During sleep we stay in one position for several hours and the body stiffens up. Muscles and connective tissue need blood flow so they can coordinate and support the body.” So give yourself time to come back into your body with a long luxurious stretch, welcoming the new day. Or partake in a morning Yoga practice.
Wellness expert, Denise Baron is an Acupressure and Marma Therapist, offered another perspective on healing touch. Denise says, “Acupressure as an easy way to tune up the nervous system and calm the monkey mind.” Denise shares her acupressure tips for everyday needs below...
Suppose you have a headache, what pressure points work best? Denise says,“massage the area between your thumb and index finger.”
What if you have low energy and want to skip coffee in favor of a natural boost? Denise suggests, “Press your thumb into the ring finger (mantra point) to increase energy.”
To lift your mood with pressure points, Denise advises, “there are several pressures points… top of head, third eye, just below the knee.” In order to feel their effects, Denise recommends massaging for 1 to 3 mins.
Along with your mindfulness practice, include some daily self-care with acupressure. And when engaging in alternative healing practices, always check with your health care professional to make sure they are safe for you. If you’d like to delve deeper into the well of touch healing arts, explore reflexology, where pressure points in the feet correspond to all areas of the body. And for facial rejuvenation, try the trendy Gua Sha and Jade roller massage and face yoga to soften fine lines and keep skin looking radiant.