Used for thousands of years in China, acupressure applies the same principles as acupuncture to promote relaxation and wellness and to treat disease.

Sometimes called pressure acupuncture, acupressure is often thought of as simply acupuncture without the needles. But what exactly is acupressure and how does it work?

What Is the Theory Behind Acupressure?

Acupressure is just one of a number of Asian bodywork therapies (ABT) with roots in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Examples of other Asian bodywork therapies are medical qigong and Tuina. Shiatsu is a Japanese form of acupressure.

Traditional Chinese medical theory describes special acupoints, or acupressure points, that lie along meridians, or channels, in your body. These are the same energy meridians and acupoints as those targeted with acupuncture.

It is believed that through these invisible channels flows vital energy — or a life force called qi (ch’i). It is also believed that these 12 major meridians connect specific organs or networks of organs, organizing a system of communication throughout your body.

The meridians begin at your fingertips, connect to your brain, and then connect to an organ associated with a certain meridian.

Therefore, these 5 simple exercises will help you improve the balance, strengthen the feet, and soothe pain:

1. Toe press

Before you exercise, make sure your legs are properly warmed up. Toe presses are extremely useful for this purpose. In a standing position, bend the knees a bit to grip the floor with the toes.

Hold in that position and count to 3. Repeat this 3 times daily, in 10 sets.

 2. Toe Pencil Pickups

This is a simple and easy exercise. Place a pencil on the ground, and lift it off, hold for 10 seconds, and release it. Repeat the exercise 5 times for both feet.

3. Toe walking

In order to strengthen the toe muscles, the ligaments, and the muscles surrounding the balls of the feet, you should try toe walking. Just stay on the tiptoes and move forward for 20 seconds, rest for 15 seconds, and repeat five more times.

For best effects, do this twice daily.

4. Resisted Flexion

This simple exercise targets the tiny muscles in the foot, which are responsible for balance. It will also tighten the muscles and prevent injuries.

While sitting on the floor, straighten the feet in front and wrap an exercise band around the bedpost. Then, place the band on the top of the feet, and lean backward to tighten it. Then, with the foot bent backward, hold for 5 seconds, rest a bit, and make 10 repetitions.

5. Ankle circles

The proper flexibility and mobility of the ankles are of high importance. Tight and restricted ankles are often caused by an overload of the body, leading to muscle and joint pain, as well as hip, knee, and back pain.

While lying on the back, extend the leg over the head, and rotate it clockwise. Count to 10, and repeat with the other leg as well.

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