Working with an Acupressurist
There are professionally trained and college-educated acupressurists, just as there are acupuncturists. If you wish to consult a trained acupressurist, check the yellow pages of your telephone book. You'll find this category listed in most large cities.
For the most part, though, the gentle form of acupressure recommended in the Treatment and Care entries in Part Two of this book is something you can do yourself, at home, to ease a hurting or ailing child.
Treating Your Child with Acupressure
In The Chinese Art of Healing (Bantam, 1972), author Stephan Palos identifies the hand as "man's original medical tool." We instinctively use our hands to alleviate pain. When we suffer a bump or bruise, have a cramp, or hurt anywhere inside, we rub, knead, or massage the painful spot.
When your child is ill, gently working the acupressure points recommended in the appropriate entry in Part Two will probably be beneficial (the illustrations in Part Three provide guidelines for locating all of the acupressure points recommended). Your child will very likely love receiving an acupressure treatment.
Massaging a particular point will help relieve symptoms as well as strengthen and balance the yin-yang in your child's body. For example, applying acupressure to the point identified as "Large Intestine 11" helps relax the intestine, thus relieving constipation. Another related
point is Stomach 36; massaging Stomach 36 helps tone an upset digestive tract. When your child is ill, the appropriate acupressure points, as well as other areas of your child's body, will be tender. Use your intuitive sense. Ask what feels good.
Common Acupressure Points
In acupressure, there are twelve lines c ailed meridians that run along each side of the body. Each pair of meridians corresponds to a specific organ. For example, there is a pair of Lung meridians, Spleen meridians, Stomach meridians, and Liver meridians. Acupressure points are named for the meridian they lie on, and each is given a number according to where along the meridian it falls. Thus, Spleen 6 is the sixth point on the Spleen meridian. The table on page 38 lists some of the acupressure points most often recommended in the entries in Part Two of this book.
When you give your child an acupressure treatment, your tools are your hands, notably your thumbs and fingers, and occasionally your palms. For the most part, you will be using the balls of your thumbs and fingers, never the nails. Before administering acupressure, make sure your fingernails are clipped short, so that you do not inadvertently scratch your child.
Choose a time of day when your child is most relaxed, perhaps after a warm bath and just before bedtime. Have her take a few deep breaths. This aids relaxation and will automatically focus your child's attention inward on her body.
You might want to start an acupressure session with a loving and comforting back rub, a treat most children welcome, especially when ill. Remain calm and unhurried. Make sure to keep your child warm throughout the treatment. You can apply pressure to the points directly onto the skin, or through a shirt or light sheet.
Work right-side and left-side acupressure points at the same time. Use your fingers or thumbs to apply threshold pressure to the point. Threshold pressure is firm pressure, just on the verge of becoming painful The idea is to stimulate the point without causing the body to tighten up or retract a the pain. The pressure you exert should not hurt your child. Firm but gentle is the rule.