In your practice, you'll likely see patients with a wide range of concerns such as body pain, headaches, digestive concerns, anxiety, and insomnia. You probably also hear from patients that they'd like to avoid taking medications or dealing with needles whenever possible. That they'd like to learn ways they can manage symptoms on their own. Acupressure is an effective, low-risk non-pharmacological intervention that can be used for a multitude of symptoms and patient populations. Unlike some interventions, acupressure can be delivered by a health care provider or a caregiver and is also a powerful self-care tool for patients. It is a versatile modality that can be implemented at little to no cost and there is a continually growing body of research to support its potential outcomes. You may be wondering, what is acupressure and how does it work? In this video, we will establish a working definition of acupressure for use in this course, instead of foundation for understanding how acupressure is believed to work on the human body. You may be familiar with acupuncture. Acupressure is another healing art that utilizes the same medical theory used in acupuncture. Where acupuncture involves inserting ultra-thin needles into specific points on the body called acupoints. Acupressure stimulates the same points through applying gentle pressure with the fingers, hands, elbows, or special acupressure tools, such as magnets, lasers, or a tuning fork. The gentle pressure stimulates the nervous system, promotes blood circulation, and releases muscle tension, all of which can promote the body's innate healing response. You'll learn more about the mechanism of action for both acupuncture and acupressure in the next lesson. The term acupoint therapy is often used as an umbrella term that includes both acupuncture with needles and acupressure techniques without needles. Acupoints therapy originated in East Asian Medicine and much of what we use today comes from traditional Chinese medicine, a comprehensive medical system with over 2000 years of history. It is also informed by different systems originating from the clinical experiences of individual doctors, family lineages, and culture and regional variations in practice. East Asian Medicine is based on the fundamental understanding that each individual has energy known as Qi, flowing through their body and distinct pathways called meridians. Meridian is an electrical channel or pathway that connects the acupoints to each other and to the internal organs. Acupoints are located all over the body. There are 361 primary points located on the system of 14 primary meridians. Additionally, there are many acupoints independent of the meridians, located on the ears, scalp, trunk, limbs, and the hands, as well as feet. In total, It is believed that there are well over 2000 acupoints on the body. The majority of the acupoints we discussed in this course are found along with the system of meridians. It is thought that when the flow of energy through the meridians is disrupted by injury, illness, lifestyle factors, or emotional stress. A person may start to experience unpleasant symptoms and that's stimulating specific acupoints promotes a balanced, smooth flow of energy to restore function, reduce symptoms, and improve overall health and well-being. Next week, you will begin to learn specific acupressure points that work together to form symptom-based protocols. In contemporary practice, an acupoint is defined as a place on the skin that is sensitive to bio-electrical impulses in the body and readily conducts those impulses. Acupoints may be denoted by unique numbering systems and our descriptive names. For example, the abbreviated name of the related organ with a number such as Sp 6, for spleen channel, point 6 or by the traditional descriptive name that frequently describes an aspect of the acupoints function or location. Sp 6 is also known as Sanyinjiao, which references the fact that the three Yin channels of the leg cross at this point. In this course, we will always refer to the name that references the meridian and its abbreviation. We will not use the traditional Chinese names or their translations, except in the case of a few points you'll learn that are from a different system and do not have meridian names. Examples of these points include Yintang, Taiyang, Anmian, Linggu, Dabai, Luozhen, and Yaotongxue. You'll learn about the clinical application of acupressure for a variety of populations and health considerations and discuss the legal implications of including acupressure within your role in the scope of practice. Later this week, as we continue to establish a context for incorporating acupressure into clinical patient care. Before we discuss a clinical application, Kim Christensen is going to explain some basic concepts of East Asian medicine and its mechanism of action in greater detail. Then Kim and I will talk about research, evidence for supporting the use of acupoint therapy for managing a variety of symptoms.