Benefits of Acupressure Therapy to Your Yoga Practice

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- Jason H, Old Greenwich

In a world full of stresses and strains, self-care routines are more important than ever. Beneficial for the mind, body and soul, self-care can also prevent a wide range of physical and mental health issues. It can also enhance energy and general day-to-day feelings of contentment and well-being. Self-care can take many forms, with many activities that are good for multiple areas of a person’s all-round well-being. Acupressure therapy is one such activity.

What Is Acupressure Therapy?

Rooted in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), acupressure therapy is an ancient type of massage. Similar to the Japanese therapy of Shiatsu, acupressure therapy works by applying pressure to certain points around the body. According to ancient Chinese beliefs, this helps prevent and remove blockages, thus allowing the free movement of qi life energy around the body. When any channel is blocked and energy cannot flow correctly, the body is in a state of unbalance and cannot maintain optimum health.

There are more than 300 acupressure points around the body, with many on the feet. Acupressure uses the same points as reflexology, along with additional pressure points. The points used in acupressure and acupuncture are the same. Whereas acupressure stimulates the pressure points externally, acupuncture uses fine needles to activate pressure points.

Benefits of Acupressure Therapy

An alternative form of medicine, acupressure may be used alongside conventional remedies to reduce pain and sickness following surgery. It can cut the pain of menstrual cramps, migraines, backache and other aches and pains around the body.

Acupressure can stimulate the body’s lymphatic, hormonal and circulatory systems, relieve tensions in muscles, have anti-inflammatory effects and promote quicker healing.

Other acupressure benefits can include:

  • Promotes calm
  • Reduces stress
  • Aids sleep
  • Boosts blood circulation
  • Releases endorphins
  • Relieves motion sickness
  • Decreases fatigue
  • Improves digestion
  • Raises energy levels
  • Improves depression
  • Reduces anxiety

Acupressure benefits can vary from person to person, although most individuals experience positive effects.

Acupressure for the Feet

While massaging the feet can be soothing in any case, there are numerous specific pressure points on the feet that correspond with other parts around the body. For example, areas on the upper part of the foot relate to the knees, groin, chest and lower back, while points underneath the toes include the brain and sinuses. Other areas underneath the foot connect to areas ranging from the kidneys, stomach and spine to the spleen, liver, heart and arms.

It is believed in Chinese traditional medicine that stimulating these points both allows the flow of life energy, known as qi, and can also be beneficial for the corresponding parts of the body. Acupressure just on the feet, therefore, can be beneficial for the whole body and mind.

What Does Acupressure for the Feet Have to do With Yoga?

There are several ways to reap the benefits of acupressure for the feet. Individuals can visit a licensed professional for therapy. Alternatively, there are various methods for easy DIY acupressure therapy that people can do by themselves. These include the use of acupressure pads, foot massage chairs, manually applying pressure to certain points and walking barefoot on uneven but smooth surfaces. Indeed, long-held beliefs promote the benefits of taking a barefoot stroll along cobblestone pathways.

river rocks showers at YogaSol

River Rocks in the showers at YogaSol

For many centuries people in China have seen walking along smooth rounded pebbles as advantageous to the health. As well as stimulating acupressure points it can improve balance and strengthen leg muscles. Research has validated health benefits of such practices in older people, with a greater range of benefits as compared with regular exercise.

At YogaSol, the river rock shower floor is perfect for DIY acupressure therapy. The smooth river rocks effortlessly stimulate pressure points on the feet and improve balance as individuals bathe. Even better — enjoying this added level of self-care doesn’t tag any extra time onto daily routines; people would be showering in any case!

Benefits of Acupressure with other Self-Care Regimens

Combining various self-care and fitness routines is overall more beneficial than sticking to simply one or two activities. People’s physical, mental and emotional needs change over time, along with interests and availability. Diverse activities are better for holistic well-being.

Studies have shown, for example, that a combination of both yoga and acupressure therapy can reduce levels of anxiety for pregnant individuals. While both yoga and acupressure are beneficial alone, performing both therapies increases the health advantages for both the woman and the unborn child.

Combining yoga and acupressure therapy can also:

  • Boost energy
  • Ease tension
  • Promote calm
  • Enhance relaxation

Acupressure is also a terrific accompaniment for Pilates.

Precautions against Acupressure Therapy

Although acupressure is a non-invasive therapy with almost no side effects and very few risks or limitations, there are some circumstances when acupressure isn’t recommended.

Individuals shouldn’t have acupressure in areas where there is bruised or broken skin, or areas that are swollen, feel tender or feel sore. Pressure points around varicose veins should also be avoided.

People who are pregnant should generally avoid acupressure around the stomach, lower back and parts of the legs.

Individuals should consult their physician before having acupressure therapy if they have certain conditions, including:

  • Bleeding disorders
  • Cancer
  • Recent injuries
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Brittle bones
  • Arthritis
  • Other chronic health conditions

In most cases, acupressure will be fine if certain parts of the body are avoided. However, it is better to check first with a medical professional.

Feel Great with YogaSol

Located in Norwalk, CT, YogaSol’s modern studio boasts an attractive hydro-heated hot yoga studio, high standards of cleanliness, a top-quality sound system, LED lighting, soothing rain head showers with a river rock floor, a pro shop and rentals, large windows and a comfortable cushioned floor for the ultimate customer experience.

As well as multiple hot yoga classes throughout the week at convenient times to suit almost anyone, the schedule also includes Pilates cardio, hot Pilates strength and Bikram flow fusion.

Reap the many health benefits of yoga or Pilates and continue to enjoy valuable self-care in the acupressure shower while freshing up after invigorating sessions.

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