By Justin Feasel, L.Ac., LCSW, The Point Acupuncture Clinic
Headaches can sneak up on us at the most inconvenient times, and they can range from a dull ache to a pounding sensation that derails our day. While there are various over-the-counter medications to relieve headaches, sometimes you might be in search of a natural remedy that is quick and effective. Enter acupressure.
Acupressure is a traditional Chinese healing method based on the concept of life energy, or Qi (pronounced "chee"). It involves applying pressure to specific points on the body to relieve various conditions, including headaches. Best of all, acupressure is something you can do yourself, right at home, with no special equipment needed.
The Science Behind It
In the realm of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), acupressure works by balancing the flow of Qi through meridians, or energy pathways, in the body. When the Qi is unblocked, it promotes healing and pain relief. While western scientific studies are still exploring these ancient concepts, many people report significant relief from using acupressure techniques.
Acupressure Points for Headaches
Here are some of the most commonly used acupressure points to relieve headaches.
LI4 (Large Intestine 4)
Location: On the back of the hand, in the web between the thumb and index finger.
How to Apply Pressure: Use your other thumb and apply firm, but not painful, pressure for about 1-2 minutes. You might feel a tingling sensation radiate to other parts of the body.
Precautions: This point is generally safe but should be avoided by pregnant women as it's said to induce labor.
GB20 (Gall Bladder 20)
Location: At the base of the skull, in the hollows on either side of the neck, between the two vertical neck muscles.
How to Apply Pressure: Place your thumbs or fingers at these points and apply gentle pressure, either in a circular motion or a straightforward push, for 1-2 minutes.
GB21 (Gall Bladder 21)
Location: Midway between the neck and the shoulder, on the top of the trapezius muscle.
How to Apply Pressure: Using your thumb or fingers, press down gently, and hold or massage in circular motions for about a minute.
LV3 (Liver 3)
Location: On the top of the foot, in the depression between the big toe and the second toe, about an inch down.
How to Apply Pressure: Press down between the bones of the first and second toes. Apply gentle but firm pressure for about 1-2 minutes.
TH5 (Triple Heater 5)
Location: On the forearm, two thumb widths above the wrist crease, between the bones.
How to Apply Pressure: Use your thumb to apply firm pressure between the bones for about 1-2 minutes.
Acupressure can offer a simple and natural way to relieve headaches. However, if your symptoms persist or worsen, it's advisable to consult a healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
Remember, I'm also available for more specialized treatments at my clinic, The Point, where I offer a range of therapies, including acupuncture, at a sliding scale between $40-$60. For more information, you can visit our website or call us at 980-220-0269.
So, the next time a headache strikes, why not give acupressure a try? It might just be the point of relief you need.