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Can’t afford an acupressurist who makes house calls? The New York College of Health Professions is developing a range of clothing that targets key pressure points in the body for pain relief and performance enhancement. Designed with both athletes and non-athletes in mind, the proposed “MyChi” collection will equip uniforms, sweatbands, and other gear with strategically positioned “acupressure buttons” to stimulate blood circulation and the immune response. Similar to acupuncture, acupressure is a centuries-old practice that falls under the classification of traditional Chinese medicine. Unlike the former, which requires needles, acupressure uses the hands, fingers, elbows, or feet to restore the flow of energy (otherwise known as “qi” or “chi”) and activate the body’s ability to heal itself.
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For athletes who want to compete at their peak, the proper management of aches, pain, and injury is vital. Donald Spector, who chairs the not-for-profit institution, claims that the buttons, or pellets, can promote relaxation during stressful situations or energize muscles when fatigue sets in. Because the product is self-administered by the wearer, the so-called “treatment” can be applied as often as needed during a game, practice, or other sports-related activity.
Because the product is self-administered by the wearer, the so-called “treatment” can be applied as often as needed.
But sports performers aren’t the only ones who can benefit from the line. Whether permanently sewn to clothing or applied in the form of adhesive strips, the pellets can increase energy, decrease stress, relieve headaches, suppress overactive appetites, and relieve nausea and motion sickness, among other benefits, according to Spector. MyChi can also act as a stopgap between professional acupuncture and acupressure treatments.
“All athletes look for ways to enhance their performance, whether on the field or tennis court,” says Lisa Pamintuan, president of the New York College of Health Professions and a former U.S. Open competitor. “I wish I could’ve worn this line of clothing when I was playing at Wimbledon as a 16-year-old.”