How Does Acupressure Differ From Massage Therapy?

At Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, where we are firmly committed to a holistic approach to healing, we have had great success providing pain relief and improved mobility through both massage therapy and acupressure. Although both treatments involve manual manipulation, they work in different ways.

What Is Massage Therapy?

Massage therapy involves having a licensed massage therapist manipulate the patient’s soft tissues — muscles, connective tissues, tendons, ligaments, and skin — in order to advance their overall wellness. Massage accomplishes this goal by:

Promoting relaxation, ridding the patient of muscle knots, reducing stress and anxiety carried in the soft tissues, and inducing a state of calm.

Improving circulation, which aids in the recovery of muscle and other cells by providing them with nourishment and oxygen.

Alleviating muscle tension to reduce pain, increase flexibility, and improve range of motion. 

Enhancing lymphatic drainage to support the body’s natural detoxification process. 

Boosting the immune system so the body’s natural defense mechanisms are able to work more efficiently.

What Is Acupressure?

Acupressure is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that focuses on stimulating specific points along the body’s pathways (meridians). Unlike massage therapy, it involves applying pressure to particular points rather than manipulating large areas of the body. Unlike massage therapy, acupressure:

  • Targets specific points (acupoints) that have been carefully charted over millennia as the precise spots on the body at which energy blockages can be released.
  • Balances body energy by optimizing the body’s energy flow, known as Qi (chee).
  • Reduces stress and alleviates pain by decreasing inflammation and releasing endorphins.
  • Improves sleep and digestion

Furthermore, unlike acupuncture, acupressure:

  • Is non-invasive, involving no needles or external instruments. 
  • Can be self-administered with proper guidance from one of our skilled professionals, 

Primary Differences Between Massage Therapy and Acupressure

While both massage therapy and acupressure offer significant health benefits, they differ in several key aspects, at times making one more suitable or more appealing to a particular patient. Differences between them include:

  • Administration: Massage therapy involves broader manipulations across the body, whereas acupressure focuses on specific points.
  • Stated purpose: Massage is typically used for muscle relaxation and stress relief, while acupressure aims to release and balance Qi, the body’s energy.
  • Method of delivery: Massage often uses oils and involves varying degrees of pressure and movement, while acupressure uses steady, direct pressure without oils.
  • Cultural origins: Massage therapy can be traced back to multiple cultures and incorporates various modalities, whereas acupressure has its roots in traditional Chinese medicine.
  • Ability for patients to self-administer: Once the patient learns the specific points, acupressure can often be self-administered, whereas massage therapy typically requires another person.

At Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, our doctors work collaboratively with our patients so we are always responsive to your needs, questions, concerns, and preferences when it comes to deciding which treatment method is best for you.

Wondering Whether Massage Therapy or Acupressure Is Right for You?

At Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, we value the unique attributes of both massage therapy and acupressure. Whether you require relief from chronic pain, stress reduction, or improved physical function, either treatment may be invaluable. Although each therapy provides optimal results through different channels, both offer the benefit of soothing both your body and the mind, reinforcing your sense of health and well-being. Contact our knowledgeable physiatrists today to discuss which one will be most helpful to you.