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Acupuncture and acupressure are two non-drug therapies which are making their presence felt in the

complementary medicine scene. And acupressure and reflexology are getting the crowds because of ease of practice. But how do these gentle systems work? The large airy first floor room of the Arya Samaj center in Santa ru!" #umbai" $ndia" is teeming with frantic acti%ity. lusters of people flank the four walls" talking animatedly. At one end are two high beds holding a reclining form each" upon which therapists are

%igorously administering what appears to be a massage.

&udging by the people lining up" this seems to be a popular ser%ice. $n the center of the room" like the still point of a turning world" sits a trim austere looking man whose youthful appearance belies his '(-odd years. This is )e%endra *ora" author of the popular book" +ealth in ,our +ands and an untiring apostle of acupressure. A man is a cancer patient. *ora is unfa!ed. Taking his left hand" he presses a few points and watches the man wince with pain. Swiftly writing down something" he asks him to collect some medicine from a lady sitting at the other end of the hall and to meet one of the therapists. The patient hesitantly explains that he is on allopathic drugs. -That.s okay"- says *ora with supreme confidence. -,ou can do so for the first eight days but once you see the results for yourself" you must lea%e it off.$s acupressure then the )a%id that can slay the /oliath ancer? *ora has no doubt about it at all. $ndeed" so sensational are the good healer.s claims that one trembles to mention them. -All types of cancer can be easily cured"- he tells us" claiming to ha%e treated around 01"111 such cases in the last 01 years. +e also claims success in treating kidney ailments" muscular dystrophy and e%en +$*. $ was disconcerted to find him diagnosing many cases of +$* by simply pressing a couple of points. 2hether these are truly +$* cases or not" $ cannot tell. *ora" though" throws an open challenge to all allopaths to pro%e his diagnosis wrong. 3or are his statements moti%ated by a%arice. +is twice-weekly sessions at the Arya Samaj are free of charge and his concern is transparently for the welfare of humanity. 4lsewhere in the city" Samchand Bha%ani )haram" businessman" winces as tiny Sujok acupuncture needles are slipped into the two middle fingers of his left hand. )r S.5. Shah" an allopath who also practices acupuncture and is deeply interested in the holistic sciences" explains that the patient will tra%el home to distant Thane with the needles in his finger" remo%ing them only after an hour. The treatment is for fro!en shoulder and already in four sittings he is 61 per cent better"

Balancing chi is essentially a Buestion of balancing the yin and yang" the twin polarities >D%e and -%e? that are at once in conflict and interdependent. The purpose of these therapies is therefore to ensure the smooth and harmonious flow of chi. There are many types of acupressure rollers" points" e%en bedsA 2hile such o%er-enthusiasm may be both unwise and unnecessary >practitioners say that all you really need are your fingertips" and that prolonged application of pressure such as that arising from footwear and beds can damage?" it speaks %olumes for the widespread awareness of what is an alien therapy" coming from hina. :ree training and treatment camps abound" run by people like )e%endra *ora" who claims to ha%e treated . $ts focus then is more on maintaining health rather than treating ill health. Cf ancient lineage" it was first consolidated in book form about 7"111 years ago" when The . Acupuncture and acupressure may or may not be the panacea its practitioners often claim them to be. But their growing popularity in $ndia can hardly be doubted. himanbhai )a%e is another pioneer" ha%ing been deeply inspired by two books on reflexology >a %ariation of acupressure? written by 4unice $ngam called The Stories the :eet can Tell and The Stories the :eet ha%e Told. +is organi!ation" &ay Bhagwan Acupressure Ser%ices Bombay >$nternational? runs free training and healing workshops in about 611 centers in $ndia and abroad.1 lakh cases since his in%ol%ement in 0<'=. Another institution called *eer Sa%arkar 9endra in *ile @arle" also offers free treatment and training courses. hi >prana" in $ndia? is the bio-energy or life force that mo%es and sustains life.says )haram. The first session itself yielded results and in fi%e or six sessions the back pain had disappeared. $n desperation" she approached Seema 9handwala" a practitioner of hinese acupuncture. Anjali 3e%rekar" Sujok and hand reflexology practitioner" claims to ha%e trained o%er 01"111 therapists herself. And acupressure gi!mos abound" such as acupressure shoes" whose soft spikes are calculated to pressure your acupoints while you walk about your daily routine.s lassic of $nternal #edicine was published. $ndeed" it is the %ery essence of life. 2hile acupuncture is the senior and more respected of the two" it is acupressure which is climbing the popularity charts. At the core of these therapies" as indeed" all eastern sciences" is the presence of chi. The chi .ellow 4mperor. Bharati Bagaria" a 78-year-old housewife" was laid low by a crippling back pain that pre%ented her from sitting or standing. The uni%erse is suffused with bio-energy" and its presence or absence within our system is the measure of our well being. Acupuncture and acupressure >which is further di%ided into other pressure therapies like reflexology" shiatsu" Sujok and /-&o fingertip techniBue? come under the umbrella of hinese medicine. The flow of chi has a definite predictable route like a well-laid out railway track. This" after allopathy" homoepathy and other therapies failed to ha%e any effect.

The use of pressure is known as acupressure in any one of its forms. Asrani" an allopath" who also practices acupuncture" hinese head and ear" does not consider the science to be entirely free of side effects. The other is that it releases endorphins >the feel-good hormone? into the bloodstream."111 known acupoints in the body" performing different functions" some to stimulate" others to sedate. +ealing is therefore a combination of correcting our outer en%ironment >for instance" by moderating the lifestyle" or diet or mental attitudes? and by stimulating the acupoints. $n $ndia" acupressure is usually combined with ayur%eda" homoeopathy" nature cure and other holistic practices. Cne is that the needle sends up impulses that tra%el faster than the pain impulses" thereby blocking them. -3on-medicos should not do acupuncture".+. -C%er-stimulation can cause headaches".he points out. Stimulation of the points through the insertion of needles is known as acupuncture. The dos and the don. ACUPUNCTURE According to legend" acupuncture was accidentally disco%ered when hinese warriors found that arrows striking them at certain points in the body healed them of chronic conditions. The reasonE -$n the early days" the general practitioners who learnt acupuncture were charging four times their regular fees for acupuncture and were using it indiscriminately. $ndeed" if )r Asrani were to ha%e his way" its practice would be restricted only to them. $llness" according to the holistic understanding of eastern philosophy" is caused whene%er the chi of the external en%ironment" such as one.runs along 07 parallel lines called meridians that start from the tips of the fingers of each hand" go up to the head and then tra%el down to the toes. Though )r . Cf these" 0.says he. Because of their emphasis on drugless" natural measures" they are considered to be safe and gentle" without the formidable cost or side effects of allopathy.s home" relationships" weather" and work conditions is disturbed" or if one. Since then" it has acBuired such a le%el of sophistication that there are now o%er 0"111-. There are numerous interconnections and stops en route. 2hen stimulated in a specific way for a specific period of time" these points can kick start energy blockages and stagnations and can increase the flow. Acupuncture came to $ndia sometime in the middle of last century and according to )r . Sujok is a branch of acupuncture that contends that the hands and feet represent a mirror image of .+. Asrani" an allopath who does hinese head and ear acupuncture" it has not grown as it should ha%e.Another factor that has inhibited its growth is the in-depth understanding of the human body reBuired to practice it" which only Bualified doctors possess. But what has gi%en the practice a shot in the arm is the introduction of Su-jok acupuncture" founded by @rofessor @ark &ae 2oo" a South 9orean scientist. Cf these" the therapist has the task of selecting 8 to 08 points for treatment. organs.s internal chi" the body-mind complex" is not in harmony. These stops are known as acupoints. are connected to each of the major 0. +ow does it work? Two theories ha%e been forwarded by science.ts of the therapies must be obser%ed" but within that framework" acupuncture and acupressure can be successfully used to treat many situations that are out of the pur%ey of other therapies.

+er waiting room was soon flooded with people looking for a cure to baldness..1 needles" Sujok uses only four to fi%e. Sujok is primarily applied only on the forefinger and the middle finger of the right hand" if the patient is a female and the left for males. A transporter" for instance" had approached her for baldness" but she saysE -$n the process $ pulled out his back pain. The thumb and the big toe stand for the head" the two middle fingers for the legs and the two extreme fingers for the arms while the palms and feet stand for the body. Sujok has many ad%antages o%er hinese acupuncture.<? has good reason to be grateful to @andya. Fnlike acupuncture" which uses anything up to . Because the needles are much smaller" it is possible to send the patient along his way instead of making him sit in the clinic..Aditi @andya" a practitioner of ayur%eda and Sujok" speciali!es primarily in hair treatment. #any acupuncture practitioners ha%e thrilling tales to narrate of patients healed from . +e saysE -#y personal experience is that most patients benefit by Sujok. 5ooking for a way to speed up the process" she stumbled upon Sujok acupuncture. )r Shah practices both forms of acupuncture but is drawn to Su-jok. The dreaded age of 61 came and went with nary a gray hair on her head" much to the en%y of her already graying cousins. @ersistence paid and e%entually she emerged with a preparation. $n desperation" $ approached Aditi. $n a few days" the hair fall stopped and new hair began to sprout. Says sheE -After my third deli%ery" $ had to take treatment for thyroid" and in a month" << per cent of my hair had fallen. oming from a family where each member turned grey at 61" the young woman utili!ed her science background and the fact that her grandfather was an ayur%edic physician to experiment with herbs.Another of her patients was cured of infertility caused by a fibroid. She asserts nowE -Sujok gi%es excellent results in no time. Taking pity on them" she ga%e them her magic potion for use" and pretty soon word of mouth ga%e her a flourishing practice.s primary specialty is hair reju%enation" she has treated her patients for other ailments as well. Amreen $brahim 9uradia >. :eedback began pouring in that the medicine not just stopped hair from graying but was also causing hair to grow.- Although Aditi.the body.+a%ing gone to her for a year" Amreen belie%es she has had '( per cent reco%ery. Stimulating points in the hands and feet will heal the corresponding body parts.

s premier cancer hospitals" refused to gi%e him a research project.. 2hene%er they o%ercome pain" all they ha%e to do is to press their needles and they will ha%e an anesthetic effect. +is right hand regained some mo%ement" and he was able to walk with difficulty. Cne is ear acupuncture" where it is belie%ed that the ear is the prototype of the fetus and therefore has all the body parts represented in it. )r Shah claims to ha%e successfully healed patients suffering from intense fear.Cne of acupuncture. Apart from Sujok" there are a few more %ariations of acupuncture. #ost agree though that the therapy has its limitations. Another woman approached him with complaints of headache" but the real cause was a deep sadness she had not acknowledged.-year-old spastic boy who had marked deformities in the right hand and had protruding hip and %ertebra.An acupuncture sitting lasting half an hour or so usually costs between Hs 011-0(1" though it can go as high as Hs 611. Says )r Shetty somewhat bitterlyE -$n the FSA" one million Americans use acupuncture. $ interfere only when the morphine dose is ineffecti%e or causing side effects. )r 9. -All patients are gi%en pain-relie%ing drug" of which morphine is the last resort. +ead acupuncture treats all the body parts simply by inserting needles within the scalp area. )r Shetty is an honorary consultant with Shanti A%edna Ashram" the premier hospice in the country for the care of terminally ill cancer patients. Acupuncture can gi%e a complete cure in most cases. Says )r ShahE -Acupressure is a palliati%eG its effects are not long-lasting.painful and hopeless cases.s most spectacular results arises from its ability to manage pain. $n the F9" 7' per cent of /@s refer patients to acupuncturists. After three sittings" he was cured.So effecti%e is acupuncture in handling pain that it has been de%eloped as anesthesia in hina and many western countries.)r Shetty is dri%en by a desire to do something to heal cancer through his therapy but despite his efforts for fi%e years" Tata #emorial +ospital" one of the country. Acupuncture for a few months corrected the deformities considerably. Says )r AsraniE -$f $ feel a patient is better ser%ed by surgery" $ tell him so. $t can heal in rare cases. $ also insert a few needles of a special %ariety into their ears. 2hile acupuncture has a long way to go before it becomes a mainline therapy" the therapists swear that it is remarkably effecti%e in many cases. $t can also help fertility. $n laser acupuncture" a laser beam is directed . 3irmalchandra Shetty" who has done an ad%anced course in acupuncture from hina" talks of a 0. +e could neither sit nor stand by himself. Says )r ShettyE -Acupuncture is a complete system of healing. Acupuncture can also help in mood ele%ation and management. $n $ndia" there are hardly any referrals from the medical community.The 2+C drew up the following list of diseases that respond well to acupunctureE acute sinusitis" acute rhinitis" cold" acute tonsillitis" acute bronchitis" myopia" cataract" toothache" acute and chronic gastritis" gastric hyperacidity" colitis" constipation" fro!en shoulder" sciatica" osteo-arthritis" facial palsy" paralysis" among others.Adds )r Shetty" -Acupuncture cannot help in emergencies" cardiac problems" epidemics" infectious diseases" accidents" etc. $n $ndia" though" this function is unde%eloped as yet. Acupuncture is %ery effecti%e in managing pain. )r Asrani cites the case of a patient who had non-stop hiccups for a week. -After Su-jok" the sadness lifted"he says.

-4arlier" $ was not able to mo%e my fingers or walk. Sujata @andit" a #umbai housewife" presses the endocrine points each time she wants relief for water retention.1 years" thanks largely to the ease of its practice and use. $n homoeo-puncture" the appropriate homoeopathic medicine is applied at the tip of the needles. 5astly" the insertion of needles" which are %ery fine" is not painful. +a%ing suffered for a prolonged period from osteo-arthritis that left her %irtually crippled" she was ad%ised an operation. As a therapy it has se%eral ad%antages which ha%e conspired to gi%e it a runaway popularity" fuelled by the missionary !eal with which its practitioners propagate it. @ress a point on the hand and if it is tender or painful" chances are that the organ or gland it represents is in need of repair. 3e%rekar was drawn to it by her own experience.She is at pains to highlight its ad%antages. &ust before the scheduled date" a friend introduced her to acupressure.- She addsE -Acupressure can gi%e one a sound mind and healthy body" as it impro%es blood circulation" unblocks ner%e impulses and relie%es stress and tension. 3ow $ am fully acti%e all the time". Some years ago" when her daughter returned home distraught from an examination she had not done well" a little aromatherapy and pressing of the acupressure points sent her into a sound sleep from which she woke up refreshed and ready to face the next examination. $ntuiti%ely" she felt that it would help her reco%er" which indeed it did within three to four months. 2hen $ met him" the good healer deftly pressed a few points and diagnosed a sore throat" which $ had de%eloped that morning itself. So" there should be no fear on that part. Says Anjali 3e%rekar" holistic healerE -Acupressure therapy has to spread as widely as possible if the people are to be freed from the clutches of the present day expensi%e medical treatment. $t can also be" as )e%endra *ora points out" an excellent diagnostic tool.at the acupoints instead of using needles.she says.. ACUPRESSURE 2ithin its short period of existence in $ndia" acupressure has made tremendous inroads into the public consciousness o%er the last .$f responsibly followed" acupressure in its %arious manifestations can be an effecti%e selfhealing and self-regulating system. 2hen 0(-year-old 3ishi #egh has a headache or . -$t is cost-free" simple and can be practised by self" it does not reBuire space >a weighty consideration in space-scarce #umbai?" patients of all ages can benefit by it" it does not take much time and it has no side effects.

s original therapeutic tool is his hand.. *ora claims that many of his cures are intuiti%ely arri%ed at while in meditation. But my .And Anjali 3e%rekar points to the $ndian habit of adorning oneself liberally with jewellery" such as rings" anklets" armlets" waistbands" toe rings" all of which exert pressure on that specific point.ou can heal headaches in less than a minute.+e cites the case of a lady who was bent o%er almost <1 per cent.. Today" she herself administers the massage to others and is deeply in%ol%ed in a whole lot of holistic acti%ities.backache" she hightails it to 9iran /oel" who gi%es her Su-jok acupressure.Then she heard of *ora who offered her a sciatica massage.. -At the first sitting my pain increased by 71 per cent" but subseBuently" it began to reduce and in four to fi%e sittings $ was normal. -$ couldn. 2e instincti%ely hold the places in our bodies that ache or hurt" like a sprained ankle or a burn. -. Says Anjali 3e%rekarE -The human being. >This is the massage that the therapists mentioned at the beginning of this story were performing and is apparently %ery efficacious for back problems?. -#any acupressure therapist ha%e not bothered to go deep into the root of the problem. 2hene%er a person is struck" stung or si!ed with cramps" he in%oluntarily puts his hand on the painful spot in order to rub" knead or massage. +e also prescribes %arious ayur%edic treatments. #ost therapists combine the use of %arious holistic therapies when treating patients for acupressure.t get up in the morning" my knees and lower back would pain and $ used to walk with a limp. Says &itubhai *ora of the &ay Bhagwan Acupressure entre" which makes use of foot reflexology exclusi%elyE -The results are miraculous. All one has to do to ensure sound health within one.And" of course" most are profoundly con%inced that" like all good things" it originated in $ndia.s system or to diagnose impending problems is to press the hand or foot thoroughly once a day.- laims /oelE 2hen +emlata 9alra" a therapist at )e%endra *ora.s clinic" was diagnosed with sciatica" no therapies helped her o%ercome her problems. *ora" for instance" insists the intake of some homoeopathic medicine as well as naturopathic green juices and fruit juices. 2hile acupressure has around . @robodh )oshi" who employs both reflexology and ayur%eda" has been able to get excellent results for slipped discs and other painful conditions.11 points all o%er the body to remember" most practitioners resort to the simpler hand or foot reflexology or Sujok. 5ike acupressure" shiatsu" of &apanese deri%ation" also makes use of points all o%er the body. Fnlike acupressure" howe%er" it also makes use of gentle body manipulations. +e e%en prescribes charged water made out of soaking metals like gold" sil%er and copper in water and boiling it down to half the Buantity. #ost healers point out that acupressure is the original healing therapy installed in our consciousness. They belie%e that the hand and the foot are switchboards to the system and that stimulating points there create a reflex within its representati%e body part. The /-&o :ingertip techniBue makes use of points that go directly to the organ. +a%ing been ad%ised an operation" she came to ha%e acupressure and within four or fi%e sittings" she was walking erect. Says )e%endra *oraE -Bhishma staying ali%e on that bed of arrows for six months in #ahabharata is nothing but a practical example of acupressure.

2hen you encounter a painful spot" make a note of its location and then press it for two minutes three times a day. on both sides of the body or both hands and feet depending on the system you use. After applying treatment for the reBuired points" always press the kidney point as well" to . The diagnosis of ailments is fairly simple. $n Sujok" they ad%ocate the use of a spiral ring" which you are supposed to run through your fingers.mission is to heal the world" and $ am deeply mo%ed by suffering. $f more pressure needs to be exerted" one can use the knuckle" thumb or e%en a blunt instrument like a pencil. )isturbances of the glands cause most of the problems" he says. +ow does one press the points? There are many methods. Their %ital role" he complains" has not been understood by western science. To make diagnosis and health maintenance easy" *ora suggests that we make a daily routine of administering pressure upon the whole hand starting one inch down from the wrist and mo%ing up to co%er the finger tips" the webs between the fingers and the back side of the hand. :or instance" high B@ is caused by the malfunctioning of the pineal gland and therefore the point to be pressed is that. $f the point we press is painful" it means a problem is de%eloping or has de%eloped in that area. +e points to the key role played by endocrine glands in maintaining the harmony and health of the body. #ichael Blate" author of The 3atural +ealer. The symptoms may increase after the first stimulation" but this is an indication that the treatment is working and the body is throwing off the toxins.e.s Acupressure +andbook" suggests stimulating the spot deeply and briskly with a fingertip in a counterclockwise mo%ement for about 0( to . #ost therapists warn against o%er-stimulation.1 seconds. That intensity of feeling gi%es me the moti%ation to go deep into causes". $ saw a film on T* about children suffering for muscular dystrophy and $ was so upset that $ wept. *ora suggests intermittent pressing and releasing" others ha%e their preferences. heck out the organ it represents from the chart and lo and behold" you ha%e a diagnosis.he re%eals. 2hile this may work for mild ailments" any serious disorders should be entrusted to a competent doctor. Both hands must be pressed for fi%e minutes each. There is an instrument called the jimmy or the acupressure thumb that helps exert pressure. 3e%er press a point more than three times a day" for about two to three minutes" says *ora. Stimulate bilaterally" i.

)o not do it within four hours of taking any drugs" medications" intoxicating food or drinks or medicinal herbs. $f you ha%e a known heart condition or suffer from a disorder in%ol%ing tissue change or degeneration such as chronic arthritis" cancer" cataracts" tumours or %aricose %eins. ACUPRESSURE DON'TS I I I I )o not use it as a treatment for a chronic" long-standing illness or disorder. . )o not use it immediately before or within half an hour after bathing in hot water" eating a hea%y meal or doing strenuous physical acti%ity. 2omen should not press any point on the breasts. )o not do it when emotionally agitated. I I I I $f contraindicated as abo%e" it is ad%isable to go to a therapist. @regnant women are ad%ised not to do it" especially after the first trimester. )o not use it if you are taking regular medication.stimulate it to throw out the toxins.