How would you like a drugless therapy with curative powers to treat just about anything, without undergoing the trauma of being pricked, poked or cut open and that too without any side- effects?
Such are the wonders of acupressure. Recognised by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a branch of alternative medicine, it is rapidly emerging as one of the most sought after forms of treatment these days.
Where did it originate from?
An increasing number of people are shedding their apprehensions and turning to ancient techniques of acupressure to cure them. It is one of the oldest healing sciences, predating even acupuncture and dating back as far as 300 BC. Having originated mainly from Asia, it now exists all over the continent and is also gaining popularity in America, the United Kingdom, Australia, France and Germany.
How is it done?
Based on the study of the nerves, the treatment makes use of fingers to apply pressure at specific pressure points in the body, thereby activating the body’s healing system. Though both forms use the same pressure points and medians, unlike acupuncture, acupressure is non invasive and uses the firm touch of the hand instead of needles.
The human body consists of 900 pressure points but emphasis is mostly laid on 90 points located on the palms, soles, neck and forehead. Applying pressure to these nerves and nerve endings activates specific organs, increasing the blood circulation and detoxifying that organ. This way it takes away any form of disease prevalent in that organ. During the process it also relieves the patient’s stress, depression and upgrades the person’s general well-being.
What do experts say?
“The best thing about acupressure is that you come with one ailment but in the process you get away with many other unidentified problems as well,” says Dr Zahida Ali Wali, who holds a Masters degree in alternative medicine from the International Institute of Natural Therapy, Mumbai, and has been a practitioner for the past 12 years.
Reminiscing about the days when she started her practice, Wali says that it was highly frowned upon and people used to jest around saying acupressure practitioners are mere ‘maalish walas.’ Since its popularity mainly relied on word of mouth, it has taken many years for it to be accepted by the general public and there are still many who are not even aware of its existence.
Nilofer Anwar, a patient of arthritis, says that she turned to acupressure after she got tired of the side-effects of medicines prescribed to her. The treatment has helped her get rid of pills, eased her pain and improved her general health as well. Additionally, the tests done prior to and post treatment have shown great improvement. “My physician says that arthritis isn’t a disease that can be wiped off completely, but after a year of acupressure therapy, it has gone into sleep mode,” says Anwar with satisfaction.
“Along with curing, acupressure can also boost your immune system and prevent many diseases, unlike painkillers which temporarily take the pain away. Acupressure cures it forever,” says Abdul Qadir Leghari, a private acupressure practitioner at Pranic Healing Centre. He says that there should be more awareness about acupressure in Pakistan so that people opt for it. They shouldn’t come only when they have lost all hope from conventional medicine as it increases the duration of the treatment because usually the illness or disease has manifested fully by that time.
A positive change in this regard has been the change in doctors’ attitudes towards acupressure, as some have now started referring their patients to undergo it. Dr Bushra Waseem, a general surgeon at Patel Hospital and National Medical Centre, Karachi says that she went for acupressure therapy when her back disc got dislocated and was in a state near to surgery.
After experiencing the wonders of acupressure herself, Waseem started referring it to her patients as well. “It can be highly beneficial for people with chronic aches as you cannot pop a pill every time you are in pain,” she recommends. She thinks that doctors should be more open to it and when they feel that their treatment and drugs are not helping the patient they should tell them about acupressure.
Regarding the authenticity of practitioners, Wali suggests that there should be a professional association that registers practitioners, which would help patients in distinguishing between qualified practitioners and quacks. “Besides lack of awareness this has been another reason why people are apprehensive about coming to us because they are scared they might fall in the wrong hands,” says Wali. Speaking of the rising popularity of acupressure, Wali proposes that the University of Karachi should look into establishing a department of alternative medicine in its faculty, so that it can produce trained and certified practitioners.
In Pakistan, due to the lack of research and government’s recognition of acupressure, the progress of this effectual and viable form of treatment is being hampered. If the government works on its promotion, access to medical facilities to countless people who can’t afford conventional medicine due to financial constraints can be provided.
The therapists can be reached/contacted at:
Dr Zahida Ali Wali: 0321389572
Dr Abdul Qadir Leghari: Pranic Healing Centre, Sana Homes, Shop # 2, behind Bundoo Khan Restaurant, Block 13-C, Gulshan-e-Iqbal.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 26th, 2010.