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Acupressure or Acupuncture?

Updated: May 30, 2019

Tui Na (Chinese medical massage) and Shiatsu (Japanese medical massage) can have similar effects to acupuncture when acupressure is applied to the points and channels by a skilled* therapist (someone with in-depth knowledge and training on the use of acupuncture channels and points). These skillful practitioners can identify disharmony in the body and devise a treatment to help restore balance to the areas of concern.



Medical massage therapies use traction, massage, and manipulation of the tissues in conjunction with stimulation of acupressure points and channels. Medical Massage can be used for both acute and chronic musculoskeletal conditions, as well as certain non-musculoskeletal conditions. Medical massage includes sports massage, as sports massage requires specific knowledge of sports, injuries, orthopedic conditions, techniques, and treatment of these types of conditions.


Tui Na can be used as a standalone treatment, but it is more often used in combination with acupuncture and cupping. When Tui Na is applied by a licensed acupuncturist, it is possible to treat a wide variety of conditions.

The therapeutic benefits of Acupressure include:


· Pain Reduction

· Muscle Tension Relief

· Reduces Inflammation

· Improves Range of Motion

· Improves Circulation

· Promotes Detoxification

· Promotes Relaxation & Calms the Nervous System



Conditions that respond well to Acupressure are conditions similar to those treated with Acupuncture, such as:


• Muscle-Skeletal Pain Conditions

• Migraines/Headaches

• Fatigue/Anxiety/Depression/Insomnia

• Digestive Conditions (Constipation/Diarrhea)

• Reproductive Conditions (Menstrual Irregularities, Fertility, Menopause, Urination)



When looking for an acupressure therapist determine what type of license and training they have to practice medicine, and ask if they are qualified to treat your specific concern. In America, only acupuncturists have been highly trained, have the knowledge and understanding of the acupuncture points and channels, and can treat disease or physical ailments.


In China, Tui Na (Chinese Medical Massage) practitioners have similar training as an acupuncturist, but specialize in manual manipulation and massage as opposed to using needles. In China, Western Medicine Doctors (MD), Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Doctors (Acupuncturist & Herbal Medicine), and Tui Na Doctors are all considered to have the same level of training and scope of practice when treating patients.


In America, each state regulates the scope of practice of each health professional, and depending on the state you live in a licensed acupuncturist can have the same scope of practice as a Western Medical Doctor (MD). The scope of practice of a Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT) in America does NOT include the ability to diagnosis, prescribe, or treat and physical or mental illness.


*DISCLAIMER: Most Licensed Massage Therapists (LMT) do NOT have an in-depth understanding and knowledge of the acupuncture points and channels. Massage or bodywork should not be construed as a substitute for medical examination, diagnosis, or treatment. It is not within the scope of practice of a massage therapist, to diagnosis, prescribe, or treat and physical or mental illness.


To learn more about how these treatments can benefit you schedule a consultation today!

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