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Acupressure is a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)  technique based on the same ideas as acupuncture. Acupressure involves placing  physical pressure by hand, elbow, or with the aid of various devices on  different acupuncture points on the surface of the body.   Points used in treatment may or may not be in  the same area of the body as the targeted symptom. The TCM theory for the  selection of such points and their effectiveness is that they work by  stimulating the meridian system to bring about relief by re-balancing yin, yang  and qi (also spelled chi).

Many East Asian martial arts also make extensive study and  use of acupressure for self-defense and health purposes (e.g. chin na, tui na).  The points or combinations of points are said to be used to manipulate or  incapacitate an opponent. Also, martial artists regularly massage their own  acupressure points in routines to remove blockages from their own meridians, to  thereby enhance their circulation and flexibility and keeping the points less  vulnerable to an attack. Attacking the acupressure points is one theme in the  wuxia genre of movies and novels.

Acupressure might work via release of endogenous opioid  analgesics such as enkephalin, endorphin and dynorphins leading to alleviation  of pain. Acupressure is considered to be a safe form of therapy and side  effects are rare.