Developed in Asia over 5,000 years ago, Acupressure is a form of Chinese medicine that applies pressure to key healing points on the body, stimulating a person's self-healing abilities and encouraging energy flow. Acupressure uses the same meridian pathways and pressure points as acupuncture. However, students in acupressure classes and training learn to use finger pressure instead of needles to relieve pain and help clients achieve greater health.
Like other massage practices, acupressure sessions begin with a patient interview during which the practitioner gathers information on the patient's health and symptoms. The practitioner then uses that information to choose different points on the client's body to press. Clients remain fully clothed during sessions and should not experience any pain from the finger pressure.
Acupressure sessions last between 30 and 60 minutes, with some clients feeling better after a single session and others needing to return for a series of appointments. Patients may also choose to study acupressure online to learn self-care remedies for some of the more common conditions that acupressure can treat, including headaches, stress and back pain.
Acupressure Classes, Training and Education
What You'll Study in Acupressure School
You'll find acupressure classes and training programs available at massage therapy institutes and specialized Chinese medicine or acupressure schools. Each acupressure school will offer its own unique curriculum, but, in general, you can expect your acupressure training to cover these subjects:
- Anatomy and physiology
- Acupressure points and meridians
- Theories of Chinese medicine
- Acupressure techniques and protocols
- Health, hygiene and contraindications
- Neuromuscular techniques
- Clinical practice
Average Length of Study
Students with a background in bodywork or Chinese medicine can enroll in a specialized acupressure school program, which usually involves 150 to 250 hours of study. Some schools offer online acupressure courses to help working students who need more flexibility in their class schedule.
If you don't have a license in massage therapy or a related field, you'll want to choose acupressure classes that meet your state's licensure requirements for practicing on patients. A massage therapy license, for example, generally requires 500 hours of combined classroom and hands-on practice time.
Students can earn certification as an Asian Bodywork Therapist (ABT) through the American Organization for Bodywork Therapies of Asia (AOBTA) and the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). To earn the ABT credential, candidates must complete an approved acupressure training program and pass a certification exam.
Acupressure Career Outlook
Massage-oriented professions like acupressure can anticipate a 23 percent increase in employment through 2022, faster than average for all jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2014-15 Occupational Outlook Handbook. The increasing popularity of massage therapy and the ongoing wellness boom across the United States are among the many factors that will contribute to the strong job growth rate for massage professionals in the coming years.
Acupressure is part of the larger field of massage therapy. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014-15 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median annual salary for massage therapists is $35.970. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors.
Is an Acupressure Career Right for You?
An acupressure career requires advanced training in anatomy, physiology, Chinese medicine and the unique techniques involved in acupressure therapy. A thorough understanding of key business concepts, which many acupressure schools offer, will also serve you well in building a successful practice.
If you are interested in an acupressure career, take a closer look at acupressure schools or acupressure online courses. Then choose the acupressure training program that meets your personal and professional needs.
Sources: Acupressure.com, Acupressure Institute, Acupressure Therapy Institute, iEmily.com.