Acupressure is a form of therapy that uses the fingers and other body parts to apply pressure to key points, stimulating the body’s self-healing abilities. Muscular tension is released and circulation is improved when these key points are stimulated.

This form of therapy can be learned in an online home-study course. There are several different forms of acupressure therapy you can learn, including some of the more common styles that include shiatsu, Jin Shin and tuina, and Thai massage.

Shiatsu, one of the most well-known styles of acupressure, is a vigorous technique that applies firm pressure to each point for three to five seconds.

The Jin Shin style of acupressure is more gentle and focuses on holding at least two points at once for a minute or more.

Tuina and Thai Massage bodywork is a technique that rigorously stimulates the healing energy in the points.

Some acupressure therapy courses offered online include, stimulation methods, relaxation techniques, human energy field, matching trigger points to the symptom, general techniques of acupressure, Eastern and Western approaches to health, law of the five elements, auriculotherapy, and yin and yang.

The techniques follow the same pressure points and meridians as acupuncture, except with acupressure, needles are not used.

According to recent studies, acupressure therapy on pregnant women showed a shorter length of labor, less pain, fewer cesarean sections and decreased use of oxytocin.

The study, “Effects of acupressure at the Sanyinjiao point (SP6) on the process of active phase of labor in nulliparas women,” included 120 women between 18 and 35 years old who were giving birth for the first time. The women were randomly assigned to one of two groups, where they received either acupressure, or simple touch. The acupressure and simple touch both were performed at the beginning of the active phase of labor for each woman, the study reported.

For those in the acupressure group, researchers applied acupressure at the Sanyinjiao point (SP6), near the ankle, for about 30 minutes. Those in the control group received only touch therapy and no massage or treatment was given.

Researchers found that the mean duration of the active phase of labor was shorter compared to the control group, according to reports. Also, the number of cesarean deliveries, severity of pain and oxytocin used was less in the acupressure group compared to the control group.

Make sure to check with your national and state licensing bodies to make sure the courses you select are acceptable for continuing education credits.