How acupressure is helping war veterans with brain injuries

A new study has found that acupressure may be effective in helping war veterans, or anyone else, with brain injuries.

“We found that the study subjects with mild traumatic brain injury who were treated with acupressure showed improved cognitive function, scoring significantly better on tests of working memory when compared to those in the placebo control group,” said Theresa Hernandez, a professor in CU-Boulder’s psychology and neuroscience department. “This suggests to us that acupressure could be an effective adjunct therapy for those suffering from brain injuries”.

Acupressure has been commonly used in Asia for several thousand years, and like acupuncture, is only recently becoming accepted as a therapeutic treatment in the West. But what makes it so effective?

How does acupressure work?

According to traditional Chinese medicine, we all have an energy flowing through our bodies and this is referred to as our Qi or Chi.

When we become injured or suffer an emotional event, this energy flow can be interrupted, in turn leading to long-term health issues. By using pressure on the designated acupoints of the body, this energy can again flow freely, resulting in aided blood flow and therefore assisting the body’s natural healing processes. This also results in encouraging a general wellbeing.

The body’s energy circulates via a series of channels, called meridians, which connect the various acupoints. There are known to be 20 meridians and about 400 acupoints and often, the point at which the acupressure is applied may be nowhere near the point of the injury.

It is believed that each point is tied to the health of specific body organs, as well as the entire body and brain, Hernandez said.

“Think of the meridians as freeways and the pressure points as towns along the way,” she said. “When there is a traffic jam in Denver that causes adverse effects as far away as Boulder, clearing the energy blocks, or in this case traffic jams, helps improve flow and overall health.”

What else can acupressure be used for?

Acupressure can be used as an aid, or to stop, literally hundreds of different conditions. In addition to promoting a general wellbeing, acupressure can be used for physical conditions such as a massage therapy: to relieve muscular tension, to stop headaches, stiff necks and backaches. It can be used to counteract the effects of hay fever, for example, and to stop feelings of vertigo or to reduce insomnia.

Acupressure also aids with numerous emotional conditions, such as resolving anger, dispelling fear, healing the body of the effects of grief, improving concentration and making you less sensitive to what others think of you.


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