Although we focus on acupuncture at Palm Beach Healing Arts, we also offer acupressure for people who really don’t want to try needles, or for those who want to try a different healing modality. Many of us are understandably fearful of needles, as the only time we are usually in contact with needles in a medical setting is when we’re getting a vaccination or a blood draw. And those needles often hurt! But rest assured that acupuncture needles are very different. First, they are solid, and they are so thin that they can actually bend. Needle sizes use gauges, and the higher the number of the needle gauge, the smaller it is. A typical blood draw needle is a 21-gauge size, which has an outer diameter of about 0.82mm, whereas in our office we typically use acupuncture needles that are a 38-gauge size, with an outer diameter of about 0.18mm. That’s a big difference! With acupuncture, once the needles are inserted, the acupuncturist usually leaves the room for a period of about 30-40 minutes, allowing the patient to fully relax.
Acupressure uses either light or firm pressure on the same points as acupuncture needles, usually from finger pressure given by the acupuncturist. As the pressure cannot be maintained for the same length of time as a needle, nor on as many points at the same time, often acupressure involves moving from point to point on the body in sequence. With light finger pressure, acupressure seeks to address more energetic aspects of a person’s condition and is quite gentle. A sense of profound relaxation can still occur as the sequence of points is moved through, and sometimes emotions and old memories can surface as the energetic pathways of the body open up again. For physical pain we would usually recommend acupuncture, as it is stronger. But for conditions where relaxation and gentle energetic healing are beneficial, acupressure can definitely help.