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An acupressure chart is a diagram used in practicing acupressure. Acupressure uses many charts to decipher symptoms and identify pressure points. These charts can function as a guide to whole body acupressure, or they may focus on a specific part of the body, such as head, ear, foot, or hand acupressure. Because acupressure is sometimes used on animals in veterinary practice, dog, cat, and horse acupressure charts are not uncommon. An acupressure chart can also be called a pressure point chart.
Generally, an acupressure chart helps a practitioner to perform acupressure exactly as instructed. To ensure direct pressure, an acupressure practitioner applies pressure to a small, specific pressure point on the body with a narrow object like a knuckle, finger, or massage tool. The acupressure chart tells the holistic medicine practitioner the precise points to target in order to relieve the patient's symptoms. Some acupressure charts identify the muscles that are thought to affect the body's organs and glands.
A practice that is estimated to be several thousand years old, acupressure is an alternative method of healing used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Acupressure is also called Shiatsu, especially in eastern medicine practices. Reflexology, a practice thought to have been used by ancient Egyptian healers, involves massaging specific areas of the foot in an effort to heal whole-body symptoms. Charts used in reflexology identify the pressure points on the foot thought to affect the different parts of the body.
Many similarities exist between the information on an acupuncture chart and the pressure points listed on an acupressure chart. In acupuncture, instead of putting precise pressure on a trigger point on the body, the practitioner puts tiny needles in the skin. The needles used in acupuncture are several dozen times smaller than the hypodermic needles the doctor uses for shots, and acupuncturists are trained in techniques designed to make the procedures painless. Acupressure is a technique that can be practiced at home using guidance from an acupressure chart, while acupuncture requires a visit to a trained professional with sterile needles.
Treatment by acupressure is often given to patients faced with problems that are difficult to treat in western medicine. Acupressure charts are used to identify the pressure points that treat allergies, chronic fatigue, sexual and reproductive issues, and digestive problems. The pressure points on an acupressure chart are also thought to help relieve emotional and psychological problems such as repressed memories, fears, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).