Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Acupressure for Breast Cancer

Acupressure is a medical treatment used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in which pressure is applied to specific points on the body where Qi, or energy, tends to stagnate. Left untreated, stagnant energy can lead to a host of medical problems, from minor ailments, such as insomnia and headaches, to diseases, including breast cancer.

Practicing acupressure regularly can help prevent breast cancer and its reoccurrence by promoting the smooth flow of energy in the meridians, or energy pathways, that run through the breast area. It is also very effective at lessening the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation by helping the body expel toxins introduced by these treatments. (For information how stagnant energy can lead to breast cancer, please see our introduction to TCM.)

In this section, we'll teach you how to massage seven acupoints that are specifically targeted at breast-cancer treatment and prevention.

Practicing acupressure

When you practice acupressure, don't worry too much about hitting each spot precisely. With these points, massaging the general area can be just as effective as focusing on the exact point. If you're unsure whether the spot you're massaging is correct, widen the area to which you're applying pressure. Usually, you'll find a spot that is especially tender. This means you're in the right place, as these points will be sensitive when energy is stagnant in the area.

If you have breast cancer, massage these points daily for at least five minutes each. For general breast-cancer prevention, three to four times a week is sufficient. Most of the acupoints are bilateral, meaning they appear in the same place on both the left and right sides of the body. Of course, if you have suffered any injuries, you should consult your physician before practicing acupressure.

To see the greatest health benefits, practice acupressure as often as you can, whenever you can. Massage these points individually every free moment you have. For example, rub the point hegu, which is on the back of your hands, while watching television or waiting for a bus. Or massage the yongquan, which is on the soles of your feet, by rolling a tennis ball under your feet while you sit at your desk. Collectively, these moments add up to a substantial amount of time for self-healing that would otherwise be lost.

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