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The Pressure Point. We all have them. In Star Trek, the Vulcan Nerve Pinch is accomplished by pressing on a pressure point in the neck. The maneuver was conceived by Leonard Nimoy himself when he felt a scripted action would be undignified by a Vulcan. The idea was that Vulcans could send an electric shock through their fingers tips (see Vulcan Mind Meld) and when applied to the pressure point in the neck it would render the victim unconscious. The director didn’t really understand this concept, but William Shatner did. From that point on, it was referred to as the Famous Spock Nerve Pinch.

But then something unique happened: in spin-offs characters other than Vulcans used the Vulcan Nerve Pinch and the concept of this idea was challenged.

The theory is that the pinch to the neck, known as the subclavian artery, is similar to the karate chop used in television and movies with the same result of unconsciousness.

However made up the Vulcan Nerve Pinch is, there’s science to it and from my understanding, the actual use of the amount of pressure one would need to exert on this part of the neck would be pretty devastating. The subclavian artery is responsible for blood flow to the arm and chest and on the left side of the body it comes directly off the aorta. The amount of pressure used in the Vulcan Nerve Pinch is said to be super human.

In the real-world, pressure points are used in acupressure. Similar to acupuncture, acupressure is  the practice of using pressure points or trigger points to relieve sickness or stress.

Of course, the practice is generally frowned upon in medical science. Doctors and clinicians prefer you don’t actually add stress to sensitive areas with lots of nerve clusters, veins and arteries.

Whatever side of the fence your on about acupressure or acupuncture you can’t really escape your pressure points. They’re all over your body. Your funny bone is neither bone, nor funny but a pressure point. And when you smack it it really really REALLY hurts!

When your doctor hits your knees with that funny looking little hammer they’re checking your reflexes, but they’re also smacking a pressure point.

When you rub your temples because you have a headache, you’re actually rubbing a pressure point.

So, the next time you have a headache be kind to your temples. You don’t want to put too much pressure on yourself.

This post has been submitted to January 2014 NaBloPoMo. NaBloPoMo is a month-long challenge to post once a day on your blog, hosted by Blogher. Each month has its own theme. January’s theme is “pressure.”

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