OB writes: Please tell me if the Acculief is okay to use? It’s essentially a clamp placed on the hand that helps alleviate headaches. I ordered it from a catalog. The description however, didn’t say anything about accupressure or energy, etc, unlike the instructions that arrived in the package! The other question: What’s the difference between accupressure and massaging trigger points?
Aculief is indeed based on beliefs inherent in Traditional Chinese Medicine which assert that there is a universal life force present in the body that can be manipulated via pressure or needles at certain points on the body which are known as meridians.
As the Aculief package insert states: “Aculief uses all natural Traditional Chinese Medicine acupressure to apply pressure to the LI-4 meridian spot located between the thumb and forefinger. The LI-4 (Hegu) meridian spot has been known for centuries to provide tension relief and restore well being.”
This sounds wonderful but there is no scientific evidence to back up this claim either for acupressure, which relies on applying pressure on meridian points, or for acupuncture which uses needles instead of pressure. Whatever temporary relief people may experience in acupuncture/acupressure is believed to result from the release of endorphins which are part of the body’s natural pain-control system, or by the naturally occurring increase in blood flow that occurs at the sight of the puncture or pressure. These results come about regardless of where the skin is treated, which contradicts the belief in meridians and the underlying energy that supposedly runs through these areas.
The main difference between accupressure therapy and trigger point therapy is that acupressure deals with pressure on meridian points and trigger point applies pressure mainly to muscle tissue. The latter is used primarily for pain management whereas acupressure, which is based on the belief that there are 14 energy centers in the body that correspond to particular organs, is often erroneously used as a diagnostic tool.