Acupuncture Massage Types

There are different ways to stimulate acupuncture points with the use of hand. Therefore, there are various types of acupuncture massages. Putting pressure over an acupuncture point is called acupressure and massaging the point or giving a peculiar type of vibration during the massage is called micromassage or acumassage. In history, before the widespread use of acupuncture with needles, these massages and especially acupressure was more commonly used. Hence, today, the use of these types of massages may be useful if you’re afraid of someone inserting needles to your body. Instead of going to a clinic where needles are used, acupuncture at home with acupressure or other massages may be more convenient if you consider that it may be difficult to take elderly people out of their houses.


Light pressure at the point will tonify the energy while the hard pressure at the point will disperse or sedate the energy. Hard pressure is applied for some time and immediately released after one or two minutes and again the pressure is applied. This method is very good to give fast relief in pain. Slow increase of pressure at a particular point and slow release of pressure will give better results in some nervine conditions and psychosomatic diseases.

A Good Explanatory Video for the Use of Acupressure At Home


By massaging at the point we can either tonify the energy or sedate the energy . Massage is of different types:

  • Tui message with palm and fingers,
  • Na with the heel of palm.deep massage is carried out, and
  • Ning catching or pinching the body points in the hand and giving massage.

With tui we can tonify the energy while with na we sedate the energy and with ning we can reduce the pain very fast by releasing the spasm of muscles.


If biceps muscle is tightly contracted then a few vibrations can be produced in the fingers. While creating these vibrations, slow hand massage is given by putting full force to vibrate the entire body of the acupuncturist, and this will give a micromassage. With light micromassage we can tonify the energy while with deep micromassage we can sedate the energy.

There are many other methods of stimulating the acupuncture points with hand, and one of these is called shiatsu, a Japanese system of giving pressure and massage at the acupuncture points.

With light type of massage circulation of blood is improved and with deep type of massage and pressure spasm of the muscle is reduced as well as due to the increase in muscle tone and release of endorphin pain is reduced.

Benefits of Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an art of healing where very fine needles are introduced into the skin for curing a disease at quite definite spots called acupuncture points. The usual inference that could be drawn from this is that it might be a very painful procedure, but the reality is just contrary to it. The needle prick is hardly as painful as an ant-bite.

Acupuncture points are definite spots on the human body. Picture shows acupuncture points
UB·1 (JingmingJ GB -1(TongziliaoJ St·1(ChengqiJ)  LI-4 (Hegu) on the face and hand of a child.

The acupuncture points are about 700 in number and they have their definite places on the body-surface. Most of the acupuncture points fall in the pathway of the regular channels (or meridians) through which the vital energy chi flows on the surface and inside the body, but many of them are situated beyond the pathway of the channels in other different places in the body. In disease when the balance of yin and yang, which should always be in equilibrium, is disturbed, these tiny spots (acupuncture points) are needled and it is believed that this process brings back the disturbed balance of yin and yang into equilibrium. It is not always that needles are used, but there are other methods of acupuncture used in day-to-day practice as follows:

  1. With needles
    a. By using hand manipulation for stimulation.
    b. By using elect rical stimulation.
    c. By applying heat to the needles.
  2. Moxibustion
    By using heat of moxa rolls and moxa powder on acupuncture
  3. Acupressure Massage on acupuncture points.
Acupressure is a form of hand stimulation which can be used for the treatment of various common ailments. Picture shows the acupuncturist giving acumassage to release mental tension.

How Acupuncture Works

The logical question at this time is: ‘How does acupuncture work? This is not an easy question to be fully answered with the present knowledge about it. After several decades of dedicated research we know very little of how the normal nervous system functions in a healthy, let alone a diseased, body. Serious research on acupuncture commenced only a few years ago, and such a short period has been insufficient to unravel the entire mechanism of the complicated neurophysiological phenomenon which acupuncture evidently is. Part of the difficulty lies in the fact that acupuncture works in a great variety of ways in different disorders and its action must therefore be assumed to vary to some extent with each type of pathology. Nevertheless, many aspects of its actions are now being understood in ‘the light of recent research and those are being placed together in an attempt to solve the enigma.

First of all, it is necessary to be clear about what really happens when a very fine needle is inserted into an acupuncture point on the body surface. The effects observed are both subjective and objective. One of the subjective effects may be a slight pain at the point of needling, but with the use of proper techniques by a trained acupuncturist this is usually negligible. Another important subjective effect is appearance of a peculiar sensation which is called dequi in Chinese. There is no exact equivalent for this term in English but it is usually translated as “taking’ Dequi“.is a combination of slight soreness, heaviness, numbness and distention.

Effects of Acupuncture

As regards the objective effects produced by needling, six different effects are recognized.

Analgesic (Pain killing) Effect

This is brought about by lowering of the pain in the different parts of body. This is the physiological basis of acupuncture anesthesia and also explains how acupuncture is able to relieve the pain of arthritis, toothache, headache, backache and other painful disorders. Some acupuncture points are more effective in this respect than others. This is an example of what is called the specificity of acupuncture points.

Sedative Effect

Some people may even fall sleep during treatment but wake up refreshed . It has been shown that there is a decrease in delta and theta wave activity on the electroencephalogram during acupuncture treatment. These effects are utilized in the acupuncture treatment of insomnia, anxiety states, addiction, epilepsy and behavioral problems.

Homeostatic Effect

This means adjustment of the internal environment of the body towards a state of proper balance. Normally homeostatism is maintained by balanced activity of the sympathetic and parasympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system and also by the glandular system. In addition there are numerous homeostatic mechanisms in the body for regulating the respiration, heart rate, blood pressure, urinary excretion, metabolic rate, sweating, temperature, etc. Ionic balance of the blood and many other parameters are seriously deranged in many diseases, and in such cases acupuncture has been found very helpful in restoring the original state of equilibrium. Very often the same set of points can be used for treatment for opposite conditions like high and low blood pressure, or diarrhea and constipation. These are examples of the homeostatic or normalizing action of acupuncture.

Immunity Enhancement

Under the acupuncture treatment body resistance to a disease is strengthened. This has been shown to be due to an increase in the white corpuscles (leucocytosis), antibodies, gammaglobulins and other biochemical substances which increase the resistive power of the body. In many cases a two-to four-fold increase in antibody titre has been observed, presumably brought about by activation of the reticuloendothelial system. Acupuncture is therefore very useful in controlling a large number of infections.

Effects on Motor Action

This is meant for motor recovery in patients who have been paralyzed due to one cause or another. Even late cases of motor paralysis respond well to acupuncture therapy despite previous failure with other systems of therapy. The explanation which is complex, apparently involves antidromic stimulation of the anterior horn, nerve cells are reactivated through a biofeed mechanism operating through the Renshaw and Cajal cells of the spinal cord or their cranial equivalents.

Tonification Effect

Acupuncture is quite effective in tonifying the body. The effects which are being achieved by prescribing various vitamins, proteins and anabolic steroids in cases like chronic illness, fatigue and old age can be produced by stimulating acupuncture points.

Psychological Effect

This has a calming and tranquilizing action apart from mere sedation.
“This is believed to be due to some action on the mid-brain. Measurable effects have also been reported on the metabolic chemistry of the brain tissue. For instance, there is an increase in the dopamine content of the brain after acupuncture. This may account for its effectiveness in certain mental disorders and in parkinsonism in which there is considerable depletion of the dopamine content of the brain.