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Difference Between Acupuncture and Acupressure

Acupressure and acupuncture are holistic medicinal therapies that originated in China, which cure various ailments by clearing blockages in the pathway of the energy flow known as Qi or Chi. As the name itself suggests, acupuncture is about piercing the skin with needles to achieve the goal, whereas the same is achieved by exerting pressure through acupressure.

The therapies stimulate specific points in the body which in turn, increases blood flow, oxygen supply to certain body parts in addition to releasing hormones like endorphins to bring about the desired effects. These points in our body which have access to the pathway of chi are known as acupoints. Both the therapies have been extensively used all over the world now to treat, depression, anxiety, nausea, allergies, rheumatism, aches and many more.


Acupressure evolved much earlier than acupuncture dating back to 2500 BC. Acupuncture can be called the updated version of acupressure, though the western world learned about acupuncture first. Acupressure is easy to learn and practice compared to acupuncture, and does not need any extra tools.

Acupressurists apply pressures on the points meant to cure specific conditions by using their fingers, thumb, palm, toes, feet or elbows.

Acupressure is much cost effective in comparison to acupuncture. It does not require a special place, setting or time to be administered. Many people learn acupressure through handbooks and benefit from self-acupressure practices. Acupressure is very similar to massage but the results obtained are more precise. Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy often use a band that exerts pressure on their wrists, which keeps nausea under control. They do not need an expert for this, but can buy the product and use it all by themselves.

That does not mean that anyone can handle acupressure without much practice. Applying abrupt pressure or force on spots like abdomen, armpits or throats can lead to pain and discomfort. Also it is important to apply pressure on specific points in the body for proper effects.

Acupuncture on the other hand requires expert skills of the practitioner to be on safer side.

Acupuncture is administered using thin needles which are inserted into the skin with great accuracy so that the patient doesn’t feel any pain at all.


The needles should be inserted in a particular pre-determined pattern, with accurate number and should be pushed into the skin and body tissue for the therapy. Some acupuncturists pass mild electric current through the needle to make it more successful.

Acupuncture is known to be more effective than acupressure in providing relief in many ailments. There is nothing much that can go wrong in acupressure but acupuncture when not handled properly can lead to bleeding, punctures on skin or worst still, breakage of needles which can be dangerous. At times herbal medicines are administered along the therapy to get maximum benefits for the clients.

Acupressure can applied on just a couple of spots on the body at a time as the therapist can not apply pressure on different body parts simultaneously, but acupuncture can be applied all over the body at once thus facilitating flow of energy at the same time. The blockages when removed together, allows balancing of energy chi more effectively than removing them one by one.

Acupressure and acupuncture function on the same principles though their application process could be different.

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