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Pressure Point Therapy is Medication-Free Alternative to Reducing Effects of Stress

Stress is a normal part of the human condition, resulting from juggling work, family, finances and time, to name a few. When a person’s stress level exceeds their ability to manage the condition, physical and emotional effects can result – ranging from body aches, illness, high blood pressure, paranoia and irritability.

Called pressure point therapy, an alternative method to managing stress can come in the form of massage that focuses on the body’s pressure points. The approach can bring stress relief without medications and some patients can even learn techniques to perform themselves.

Pressure points can be described as places on the body that cause pain and a reaction of movement when they are activated by physical force or rubbing. The body has a reflex to move away when pressure points are activated.
Many times pressure points are found along clusters of nerves or nerve pathways. As stress accumulates, it is believed by some that the pressure points of the body can store up stress and cause pain, tension and emotional side effects. Chinese medicine like acupuncture focuses on releasing the pressure points, believing that energy and “life force” flows along many acupressure points in the body. When these acupressure points are blocked or inhibited by stress, the body’s life energy is also blocked.

Similar to acupuncture therapy, pressure point therapy is also designed to release stress and tension in the body. Practitioners believe that because the nerves control the body’s processes and functions, nerve messages can be blocked by accumulation of stress in a pressure point location. To allow the body to function normally, the stress that has accumulated within the pressure points must be released, thus also freeing up nerve messages to travel throughout the body.

A muscle that stays tense over time can spasm, and the fibers will contract as the body produces lactic acid. Lactic acid is part of a bodily response to stress, tiredness or problems with circulation. As a pressure point is pushed upon, the muscle will eventually give way to the pressure and the fibers will relax and lengthen – allowing for better circulation, more oxygen flow throughout the body and stimulating a sense of emotional wellness. As the pressure points and areas of tension are manipulated, circulation is improved and toxins that have built up along tense muscles fibers can be released.

In pressure point therapy, a pressure point can be manipulated for as long as three minutes until the muscle is released. Many times pushing upon a pressure point that has accumulated a stress reaction will cause pain to also refer to another region of the body, and a practitioner can then activate the referred pain areas to further release blockages.
Some practitioners believe the therapy helps the body’s immune system and provides an overall sense of wellness – both of which can be very valuable tools to helping people combat the mental, emotional and physical ramifications of daily stress, especially as the connection between problems like stress and substance abuse continues to surface.

Posted on November 17th, 2010

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