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Acupuncture vs. Acupressure: What’s the Difference?

WTHN Team/18.06.21

Acupuncture vs. Acupressure: What’s the Difference?

Acupuncture vs. Acupressure: What’s the Difference?


Acupuncture and acupressure are both pillar practices within Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), used for thousands of years as means of preventative and curative care. The person — not the problem — is the priority in these treatments. Any issues (like stress or even chronic pain) are sourced to their root in order to achieve true healing from the inside out. Both forms of acu-care are used for everything from maintaining all-around wellness to treating effective pain relief; the difference between acupuncture and acupressure is in the execution.  

  • Acupuncture uses fine needles to stimulate pressure points WTHN the skin — and of course, requires professional administration.
  • Acupressure targets pressure points through massage on the skin and can be done by you from the comfort of your own home (or whenever you need it on the go).

Both utilize the same methodology and can be used to treat various conditions through specific pressure points. In short, here’s how it works: the application of pressure, whether through needlework or massage, signals a shift in our neurochemistry that helps manifest the desired result. The key is in knowing where these points are and what they correlate to. For example, tai yang is an acu-point located on the temple. Stimulation of this area (through acupuncture or through firm, circular motions using the pads of your fingers) signals the brain to relax and bring blood flow to the point — therefore alleviating headaches or the onset of tension from stress. 


In acupuncture, small, thin needles are inserted into specific points of the body. Sounds painful, but it’s not: most patients never feel the insertion or removal and instead, only feel a slight tingling sensation once the needle makes contact with the nerves. The needles redistribute the flow of qi (also known as “vital energy”) or clears blocked pathways by interacting with our fascial network. 

Though acupuncture can be used in addition to Western forms of treatment and medication, do utilize it to its fullest potential for wellness maintenance or to regularly reset your mind, mood, and body from WTHN. Think of it no differently than how you approach your rotation of essential appointments. You book facials, haircuts, color touch-ups, and visits to the dentist’s office on a steady basis; now, make inner wellness and balance a must-do on that list, too.

New to acupuncture? We got you:


Think of acupressure as a DIY approach to recreate the healing benefits of your acupuncture sessions. You can do it anytime, anywhere, whenever you need a reset or crave instant relief. Simply identify the pressure point(s) that correlate with the ailment you’re aiming to resolve and use the pads of your fingers (typically with your thumb, pointer, or third finger) to apply firm, even pressure to the area. When you feel some resistance, you’ll know that you hit the sweet spot. Keep massaging in circular motions for about 10 breaths (up to 30 seconds), then release. Repeat if necessary.

Ready to get started? 

Interested in learning more? DM us your question or consult with one of our TCM experts!

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