Acupuncture And Acupressure: Differences & Similarities

February 19, 2020

Acupuncture And Acupressure

Chronic pain is one of the most common conditions facing American adults today, with an estimated 20% affected in the nation, and health professionals often recommend acupuncture and acupressure as remedies. Although they might sound similar, these two medical treatments have a number of differences that set them apart. However, they can share some comparable benefits, hence their tendency to get mixed up.

In this article, we’ll look at the differences and similarities between acupuncture and acupressure: what they are, what they treat, how they can help, and which might be right for your chronic pain.

For more immediate information on acupuncture and related remedies, please contact Acupuncture Works today!

Acupuncture versus Acupressure: By Definition

Acupuncture is the stimulation of acupoints using super-fine needles no larger than the width of a hair.

Acupressure is the stimulation of acupoints using firmly applied pressure, usually with the hands or a comparable massaging device.

Sometimes acupressure is equated to deep-tissue massage and thus referred to as myofascial release, though acupuncture certainly can be included in this category as well.

What are Acupuncture and Acupressure Used To Treat?

Acupressure and acupuncture can be used for a variety of conditions, and in most cases the employment of one over another is simply a matter of individual preference and comfortability level.

Both acupuncture and acupressure can be used to treat chronic pain, to relax muscles and soothe joints, to mitigate or alleviate migraines, to improve sleep, and to diminish anxiety and stress. Given its prevalence, these treatment methods are most commonly recommended for chronic pain.

How do they work for chronic pain?

Both acupressure and acupuncture work to treat chronic pain by stimulating areas of the body called acupoints. This term stems from both treatments’ origins in traditional Chinese medicine, which underscores the importance of various channels, or meridians, within your body. These meridians can be thought of as energy pathways through which vital forces flow, similar to the arteries that carry blood around your body.

Acupuncture and acupressure stimulate specific acupoints affected by chronic pain, allowing vital fluids and nutrients to travel to the afflicted areas of the body. The “life force” that circulates and whose improved flow can improve pained areas is called “chi” in Chinese medicine.

As fascinating as traditional and ancient forms of medicine may be, many people are skeptical of their efficacy given the presumed lack of scientific evidence supporting their validity. However, many studies have shown acupressure and acupuncture to be viable methods of chronic pain treatment. Many modern physicians and dentists support their use for medical purposes, and acupuncture needles are classified and regulated as a medical device by the United States FDA.

Overall, the extensive research suggests that acupuncture and acupressure are both effective for the management of pain conditions.


In this article, we’ve given a brief overview of the definitional differences between acupressure and acupuncture, as well as their similar benefits for the treatment and management of chronic pain.

For more information on how acupuncture can mitigate your pain symptoms and help improve your quality of life, please contact Acupuncture Works today.