Acupuncture and acupressure are both forms of Traditional Chinese Medicine that use pressure and needles to stimulate particular points in the body. While they share many similarities, the two treatments have some distinct differences. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the differences and discuss which treatment might be right for you.

acupuncture vs acupressure

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1. Acupuncture Is A Practice That Uses Needles To Stimulate Specific Points On The Body

The goal of acupuncture is to relieve pain and improve overall health. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, over 2,000 acupuncture points on the human body correspond to different organs and systems. By stimulating these acupressure points, practitioners believe they can help correct imbalances and restore health.

Acupuncture is typically done with thin, sterile needles inserted into the skin. The needles are often left in place for 20-30 minutes. Some people report a tingling sensation or mild discomfort when the needles are first inserted, but this usually goes away quickly.

Acupuncture is effective for various conditions, including headaches, arthritis, menstrual cramps, and low back pain. It may also be helpful for nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy and pregnancy. A growing body of research suggests that acupuncture can effectively treat certain medical conditions. However, more research is of the essence to confirm these findings.

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2. Acupressure Applies Pressure To The Points With The Hands

Acupressure is based on the principle of qi, or life energy, which flows through the body along energy pathways called meridians. By applying pressure to specific points along these meridians, acupressure can help to unblock qi and restore balance within the body.

Acupressure is often compared to acupuncture, another TCM technique that uses needles to stimulate points in the body. First, acupuncture requires needles, while acupressure uses only pressure from the hands. Second, acupuncture treats specific medical conditions, while acupressure can be used for prevention and treatment.

Despite these differences, both acupuncture and acupressure share a common goal: to improve qi flow and restore balance within the body. Research has shown that both techniques can effectively treat pain, stress, anxiety, and other health concerns. If you need to try acupressure, there are many easy-to-learn self-care methods that you can practice at home.

acupuncture vs acupressure

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3. Acupuncture Treats A Variety Of Conditions, While Acupressure Is Mainly Used For Pain Relief

Although often grouped together, acupuncture and acupressure are different practices with different origins and purposes. Acupuncture is a form of Traditional Chinese Medicine that has been in use for centuries to treat various conditions. The practice involves inserting thin needles into the skin at specific points along the body, stimulating the energy flow or Qi.

Acupuncture is a relatively modern practice for pain relief. It involves applying pressure to particular points on the body using the hands, elbows, or feet. While both can effectively relieve pain, acupuncture is more versatile and can treat many conditions. Therefore, it is important to consult a qualified practitioner to determine which approach suits your needs.

Also read: 5 Foot Acupressure Points

4. Acupuncture Is Typically More Expensive Than Acupressure, But May Be Covered By Insurance In Some Cases

Acupuncture is typically more expensive than acupressure because acupuncture requires special training and equipment, whereas anyone with strong hands can perform acupressure. In addition, insurance companies often cover acupuncture but not acupressure. However, this varies from insurer to insurer, so it’s essential to check with your insurance company to see their coverage.

Even though acupuncture is usually more expensive than acupressure, many people prefer it because it’s often more effective. In addition, some insurance companies will cover at least part of the cost of acupuncture treatments, making it more affordable for people who want to try this treatment option. If you’re considering trying acupuncture or acupressure, talk to your doctor or a qualified practitioner to find out which choice is right.

acupuncture vs acupressure

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5. Only A Licensed Practitioner Can Perform Acupressure, While Anyone Can do Acupressure

Though acupuncture and acupressure are based on the same principles, some important distinctions exist between the two practices. Acupressure is a relatively simple technique that anyone can learn. It involves applying pressure to particular points on the body using the hands, elbows, or feet.

Like acupuncture, acupressure restores balance and promotes health by stimulating the flow of qi. However, it is a much safer treatment option because it does not involve needles. As such, it is often useful in a self-care practice or as an adjunct to other forms of treatment.

Also read: How To Use Acupressure Mat For Weight Loss

6. Acupuncture Is Popular In China, While Acupressure Is More Popular In Asia

Acupuncture is more widely common in China, primarily by traditional Chinese medicine practitioners, while acupressure is more prevalent in Asia. This difference is unclear, but it may be due to the differing philosophies of traditional Chinese and Asian medicine. Whatever the reason, acupuncture and acupressure are useful treatments that can improve health and well-being.

Also read: 8 Acupressure Mat Positions That Can Help You Relax


So, there you have it! The next time someone asks whether acupuncture and acupressure are the same, you can confidently explain that they’re quite different. Acupuncture involves the insertion of very thin needles into particular points on the body, while acupressure uses pressure (from either the hands or elbows) to stimulate those same points.

Both methods root themselves in Traditional Chinese Medicine practices and philosophies, and both can be used to promote relaxation, relieve pain, and improve overall wellness. So, if you’re looking for a natural way to feel better, give acupuncture or acupressure a try – or both!

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