Acupressure and Reflexology For Dummies
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When giving an acupressure or reflexology session to another person, you may expect to immediately be able to feel energy. In time, most people can feel the qi, or vital force, moving through the receiver's meridians or collecting in the receiver's acupoints, but you need practice and patience. Take heart: Giving a session can open your awareness to your own energy flow, causing interesting sensations!

An electric current and other common sensations

When you hold two acupoints together, you may feel as if a current is running through your hands and you're connecting a circuit. Although this analogy is useful, strictly speaking, it's not what's happening. Your energy isn't flowing into the recipient, and her energy isn't flowing into you. What you're feeling is a process called induction.

Try this experiment: Turn on a fluorescent light and hold another fluorescent light bulb tube in your hand. Bring the light tube near the fluorescent light. You'll notice that the tube begins to emit light even though it isn't connected to electricity! This isn't because electricity has jumped from one lighting tube to the other. Rather, the light tube receiving electricity has started vibrating the fluorescent ions inside the tube. When you bring the second fluorescent tube within the vibrating field, the ions in the second tube begin to vibrate as well. Vibration in one induces vibration in the other when their fields overlap.

The same is true in acupressure. When you feel the electric feeling of energy moving, it isn't someone else's energy moving into you. It's your energy moving in response to the excitement of your energy field. This can work in both directions, and people you're working on may say things like: "Wow! When you touch me I get an electric surge." Remember that they're feeling their own surge sparked by your vibrating field of energy!

Here are some additional sensations you may experience as the giver of acupressure or reflexology:

  • You may feel hot or cold throughout your whole body.
  • You may have tingling in your hands.
  • You may experience the same type of body jolt that the receiver does.

Basically, any sensation you have is normal. The body is simply interpreting energy movement.

A connection with the recipient

When you're giving a session, your body changes too! You may notice that as your recipient relaxes, you relax; as your recipient's brain wave states change, your brain wave states change. This is called entrainment and happens when energy fields interact with each other.

Entrainment is a term physicists use to describe the effect that similar frequencies with different rhythms have on each other. For example, when you first put two grandfather clocks in the same room, they each have a similar frequency (one beat per second), but their pendulums are usually swinging in their own rhythms. When you leave them together, eventually they coordinate so that the pendulums are swinging in sync with each other. They have become entrained to each other. This happens to the body rhythms of people, too, including brain wave states.

Usually during the course of a session, as the receiver's energy becomes calmer and flows more evenly, yours does too. This principle works in both directions. If you find the receiver is wired and having trouble relaxing, relax yourself and settle your own energy to help entrain the receiver and promote greater relaxation.

Your own imbalance, activated

You can't catch someone else's imbalance, but if you have a similar imbalance, you can activate your own pattern by giving a healing session. In this instance, the principles of induction and entrainment are working when we wish they weren't.

If after giving a session you find that you feel sick or tired or have the symptoms of the person you were working on, you've either activated your own deep patterns of imbalance or you've become overly invested in the session. How do you avoid this?

  • Do your own work. The more aware you are of your own issues, the better you are at giving a good session and the less likely it is that your own imbalances become activated. However, if you find yourself going downhill during a session, take a break.
  • Remember the principles of Chinese healing. Who's doing the healing? The receiver, not the giver! If you find yourself taking on the symptoms of the receiver or feeling depleted after sessions, you're overly invested in the outcome. In effect, you're trying to heal the person by taking his symptoms away or giving him your energy. The best way to help someone heal is to stay neutral and let his body do what it needs to do. His job is to do the healing; your job is to offer support.

About This Article

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About the book authors:

Synthia Andrews has been a message and bodywork therapist for 25 years. She is an authorized teacher of Jin Shin Do Bodymind Acupressure, has been on faculty at the Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy for 16 years, and was a four-year faculty member at the Kripalu Yoga Institute. She is licensed in the state of Connecticut, where she maintains a private practice, and is currently a forth-year student of Naturopathic Medicine at the University of Bridgeport. Her Real love is using acupressure to help abused, neglected, or injured horses. You can find classes with Synthia and other qualified professionals at and

Bobbi Dempsey is a freelance writer for many major publications including The New York Times, Muscle & Fitness, Family Circle, Parents, Men's Fitness, and many others. She is also the author of numerous nonfiction books on topics ranging from diabetes to homemade ice cream. Her Web site is

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