To compare two techniques of trigger point therapy and acupuncture, we have to take a look at each:
- Trigger Point Therapy: Trigger points are small areas in the body that become tight and tender due to reduced circulation, aggravated muscle spasm, and augmented nerve sensitivity. They show themselves in sensations such as sharp pain, tingling, and numbness and can even lead to more serious symptoms such as chronic pain and nausea. These complications can be caused as consequences of muscle overuse, accident or surgery, skeletal imbalance, poor posture, improper stretching, etc. Moreover, these spots can refer pain to other parts of the body, as well.
Induced pain and discomfort can be reduced by applying trigger point therapy. Trigger point therapy is the practice of applying pressure to the painful muscle tissue in a way that can untie muscle knots and relieve muscle dysfunction. Trigger point therapy can be categorized as a neuromuscular therapy that intends to promote the health and comfort of the muscles in deep layers of connective tissues. Similar to deep tissue massage, this therapy carries out sustained pressure on the muscle knots which can increase blood circulation and nourish the muscles with oxygen. Health problems such as arthritis, muscle spasm and stiffness, tension, weakness, sciatica, headache, back pain, etc. can be treated by trigger point therapy.
- Acupressure: A long-lived practice in traditional Chinese medicine, acupressure is meant to turn on the body energy, which is called Qi or Chi, through the stimulation of 14 special pathways inside the body. Acupressure applies deep and firm pressure onto the stiff muscles. It can relax the muscles, promote injury improvement, and reduce the recurrence of symptoms. According to traditional Chinese medicine, the whole process can balance and maintain energy throughout the body.
Energy pathways in acupressure can be accessed through special acupressure points, or acupoints, that are invisible energy pathways. By applying finger pressure and stimulation on these pathways, the blocked and faded life energy can re-circulate in the body again. This technique can reduce mental and emotional stress and anxiety. It can also balance heart rate and blood pressure. It can also reduce nausea and vomiting caused by invasive medical procedures. Among the complications and conditions that can be treated by acupressure are headaches, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, menstrual cramps, as well as mental and emotional stress and anxiety.
What Are the Differences Between Trigger Point Therapy and Acupressure
The two techniques have roots in the same principle. Trigger point therapy includes other massage techniques such as acupressure based on what the therapist is capable of. Therefore, it can be inferred that none of these techniques are meant to be soothing and luxurious similar to Swedish massage. On the other hand, the patient who undergoes these two therapeutic techniques may feel soreness and pain during and after the sessions.
For the most part, the two techniques are closely intertwined. They both share a set of trigger points as well as methods and procedures. Both involve deep manual pressure on specific areas of the body. Anyone with pain, specifically chronic musculoskeletal pain, can benefit from each of these two therapies.
However, despite their similarities, there are a few differences between trigger point therapy and acupressure therapy:
- Trigger point therapy is rather a more modern method while acupressure is traced back into two thousand years ago in Chinese medicine.
- Trigger point therapy is meant to relieve pain while acupressure therapy is performed to release blocked energy centers.
- Trigger points can be felt and touched while acupressure points are invisible and localized energy centers.
- Trigger points are mostly spread around the body while acupressure points are usually centered at hands, feet, and other specific body parts.
Trigger point therapy targets special muscles while acupressure is applied mainly to alleviate various symptoms of different illnesses.