Acupressure for Headache Relief

April 13, 2018

Qi (pronounced chee) is the energy or life force found in all living things. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory, qi is thought to flow through the body in energy pathways known as meridians. For optimal health, qi should move and circulate freely through these meridians. When qi becomes stuck or stagnant, the blockages distort the body's energy and affect the autonomic nervous system, resulting in pain – this can include musculoskeletal pain, headaches, premenstrual symptoms, or even emotional frustration.

 

The main focus of Spring body types should be to move and circulate qi. Massage, physical activity, and stretching are beneficial for releasing tension/stiffness and increasing the circulation of both blood and qi. Acupressure and acupuncture are two Chinese medicine therapies that also encourage the flow of qi. While acupressure uses the application of manual pressure and massage at specific points along the body's meridians, acupuncture uses the insertion of very thin needles into the same points. TCM has identified twelve major energetic channels and hundreds of acupuncture points which affect different organs and body systems. By manipulating qi at an individual point or a combination of points, healing responses can be activated within different areas of the body.

 

Acupressure is a safe and natural therapy for reducing headaches and keeping the neck and shoulders tension-free. The following pressure points are beneficial for relieving headache pain and tension. To stimulate the points, apply pressure with your thumbs, fingertips, or knuckles. You may want to use a firm, constant pressure into each point, or apply variable pressure through small, circular movements.

 

  • GB 20: on either side of the spine below the base of the skull, where the neck muscles attach to the skull

  • GB 21: at the top edge of the shoulder, halfway between the point of the shoulder and base of the neck

  • LI 4: on the back of the hand in the center of the webbing between the thumb and index finger. (Avoid in pregnant women since this point can induce labor.)

  • BL 2: on either side of the bridge of the nose, at the inner corner of the eyes just below the eyebrows, at the notch in the skull

  • LV 3: on the top of the foot in the webbing between the big toe and second toe, where the metatarsal bones meet 

  • TH 3: on the back of the hand between the tendons of the fourth and fifth fingers, just below the knuckles

 

Additional references and video:

https://exploreim.ucla.edu/self-care/acupressure-for-headache-or-neck-and-shoulder-tension/
https://exploreim.ucla.edu/video/acupressure-points-for-neck-pain-and-headache/

 

 

Photo by chombosan/Shutterstock.com

 

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