Acupuncture vs. Acupressure

Acupuncture and acupressure are two different practices that sound similar, and yield somewhat similar results. Yet, it’s important to note the similarities and differences within the two healing practices.

Both practices are rooted in ancient Chinese medicine, yet one involves manipulation of trigger points by hand (acupressure) while the other requires slim needles to be inserted at specific meridian points (acupuncture.) Still confused? Think “pressure” meaning to push on, and “puncture” meaning to puncture with a needle.

According to this article by Livestrong, “Acupuncture and acupressure fall under the classification of traditional Chinese medicine or TCM which also employs the use of diet, herbs and mind body techniques, states the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. TCM views the body as an energetic entity that is balanced by two opposing forces called Yin and Yang. It also believes that good health depends on the flow of qi through pathways called meridians. Practitioners of this method aim to restore the flow of qi and the balance of Yin and Yang to improve spiritual, emotional, mental and physical health.”


With acupuncture, needles are inserted at specific point in body meridians encouraging the flow of qi to be repaired, restored, or improved. Using the slim, tiny needles, they are inserted and left in the specific points for a designated period of time (typically 15-20 minutes) to maximize the therapeutic effect.


Acupressure is, in theory, acupuncture but without any needles. The same guiding principles and philosophies are applied, but with pressure by pressing on targeted points along the body. It is not advised you practice acupressure on yourself, as a trained therapist should perform the treatment on you. Over time, you may be able to pick up on self-treatment methods, but it is best to leave it to the professionals.