Skip to content

Healing Melody Therapeutic Massage


Before I became a massage therapist and I had a sinus headache I found that pressing on a little divot underneath my eyes and just to side of my nose relieved the pain. I also found pressing little divots just underneath my eyebrows and at the back of my neck that helped with headache pain. When something made me sad I oftentimes crossed my arms and massaged the back and outside area of each of them with my hands, or I held one of my hands just over my upper chest with my fingers and thumb over the divots underneath the outside edge of each clavicle. I didn’t realize it then, but I was instinctively using acupressure points that corresponded to those areas of pain. Once I started learning about it in school I was amazed at how many I actually used regularly.

A Sibling to Acupuncture

Acupressure is similar to the better known Acupuncture in that it utilizes finger pressure, rather than needles, to release blocked energy in the meridian lines of the body.  According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) these meridians are like pathways that channel the life force (Chi or Qi) throughout your body. TCM believes that blockages can form in the meridians causing disease or discomfort and stimulating certain points along these meridians can help relieve symptoms and even cure disease. In Acupuncture and Acupressure most of the work centers around 14 main meridians; The 12 regular meridians and two extra meridians known as the Conception Vessel and the Governing Vessel.

Meridians and Acupoints Throughout the Body

The 12 regular meridians are:

  • Lung
  • Pericardium
  • Heart
  • Large Intestine
  • Triple Warmer
  • Small Intestine
  • Spleen
  • Liver
  • Kidney
  • Stomach
  • Gall Bladder
  • Bladder
To release the blocked energy, or to promote energy flow to a certain area, the practitioner presses acupoints along the meridians. These acupoints are similar to train stations along a railroad line, they are the points that allow access to the Chi train so to speak.

More than 300 acupoints have been identified along the 14 meridians. Each meridian is assigned a Chinese name and a code, for example; Lung1 is named Zhongfu ( Central Palace) an is coded as (Lu1).

In Traditional Chinese Medicine the meridians generally correspond or rule the body parts that they are named after. They also manifest symptoms or exhibit traits that are in line with the character of that certain body part. They are also paired with a partner organ; one represents the Yin organ and one the Yang organ. In most cases the Yin organ is the denser or important life sustaining organ and the Yang is the hollow accessory organ. For example; The kidney (yin) meridian rules the kidneys (also adrenals, and male/female reproductive organs) it is paired with the bladder (yang) meridian. Their element is water, their season is winter, their color is blue, time of day is 3-5 (Bladder) and 5-7 (Kidney) and on and on.  I won’t go into to all that now, but suffice it to say that Traditional Chinese Medicine is very complex!

If you go to an acupuncturist or a TCM practitioner they will take a very thorough history and do an examination of your pulses (yes you have more than you think) look at your tongue, which is very important in TCM, listen to the sound of your voice or how you express yourself and a whole lot more. They will determine if you are suffering from a Chi imbalance; either too much or not enough Chi can be coursing through those meridians and will manifest in certain symptoms. For instance a weakness or blockage in the Bladder meridian might manifest psychologically as fear, holding on to things and a lack of decision making. Physically it would show up in a groaning quality to your voice, dehydration and possibly an actual Bladder infection. Too much Chi flowing in the Bladder meridian would manifest the opposite symptoms such as having no fear (reckless) or free spending. The symptoms will be the strongest during the time of day that the meridian corresponds to as well.

Why Acupressure Massage?

While a doctor of TCM or an acupuncturist will treat your specific symptoms, they probably won’t give you a full overall tune-up session. This is what an acupressure routine is meant to do. The therapist will press along all the main meridians during a full session stopping to apply a little more attention to areas that feel blocked or too “fast.” Generally you will feel VERY relaxed after a session, almost woozy sometimes. This is why I try to end sessions by pressing a point on your feet (Kidney 1) which will center and ground you. I will also integrate certain acupoints during a traditional massage as well, if I think they will be helpful to a certain issue you are having. All in all using acupressure, especially points on the head, neck, face scalp and feet is a nice addition to a Swedish or Deep Tissue session.