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Among alternative therapies, acupressure is one of the most pleasant, non-invasive treatments a patient could hope for.

I have always been a big advocate of complementary healing modalities, especially for chronic diseases. Personally, I get acupressure therapy on a weekly basis to help strengthen my immune system — anyone with an autoimmune condition will benefit. You yourself can be trained to apply pressure to different acupoints, which is great when you are travelling or don’t have time to see a therapist – you can heal yourself!

Acupressure also helps with nausea. When my boys were growing up, they had travel sickness. Motion of any kind — whether by car, sea or air — used to make them wear wrist bands, as pressure on particular points on the inner arm near your wrist takes care of motion sickness! I totally recommend it.

Now to bust a popular myth about acutherapy. “Although most of us are under the impression that acupressure is a Chinese traditional medicine practice, the truth is that Indian massage techniques were studied by Chinese travelers who came to India to study Buddhism,” says Kumar Vadadi, MD, who has been practising acutherapy for the last five years.

“This health science is based on the principle of accurate pressure and stimulation to flush out toxins and energise the affected organ or part of the human body,” he explains. Patients mostly come to his Delhi clinic with lifestyle diseases, both acute and chronic. Most come after trying other treatments and wish they had tried acupressure first.

There are at least 20 acupressure clinics throughout the Capital city. They use sophisticated techniques that build on traditional Indian deep massages. Head massages, according to Amarjeet Bhamra, president of the Institute of Indian Head Massage, not only ward off stress, but also “stimulate the body to heal itself and to reduce the rate of progress of the prevailing condition.”

Can a patient get instant relief or does one have to undergo prolonged treatment? The reassuring answer from Dr Vadadi is that acupressure gives immediate relief from headaches, migraine, prolapse disc, back pain and sciatica. But to treat the root cause requires regular sittings for 15-45 days.
Doctors like him have an understanding of anatomy, pathology and physiology. They might follow different schools like Shiatsu (recognised by the Japan government), Zone Therapy, Meridians and Reflexology. Shiatsu practitioners can be seen using their knuckles, elbows, fists and even feet to apply pressure.

According to zone therapy our body has divided into 10 parts or zones, thus there are five zones in each hand and foot. Energy flows from feet to various organs and glands through imaginary longitudinal channels.

Very similar in concept are Meridians of classical Chinese acupressure, where positive energy (yang) is balanced with negative energy (yin). Each organ in our bodies is said to be made of five elements, viz. Earth, Water, Air, Fire and Space, and pressure is applied to rectify flow of energy to cure disease.

In Reflexology, pressure is applied on specific points on the feet and hands which are said to be connected to all glands and organs.
As with any treatment, there are certain patients who cannot go for acutherapy, like people with high blood pressure and pregnant women. If a person has open wounds, scar tissue, varicose veins or has inflammation, this treatment cannot be given.

Dr Reshma is an advocate of wellness, prevention and holistic health. Instagram handle: dr.reshmakhattarbhagat