Acupuncture is a really great option for treating a variety of symptoms and conditions, but it may not always be accessible or feasible for everyone. Thankfully, each individual has the ability to stimulate points in the body through the practice of Acupressure. This healing modality is wonderful for self-healing, children, and those who may be afraid of needles--and it can typically be practiced anywhere! One common symptom many people experience on both a major and minor scale is headaches. In this blog, we will cover how to help self-relieve a headache through the practice of Acupressure.

What is Acupressure?

Acupressure is a healing modality that involves applying pressure to specific points along the 14 meridians of the body. The patient experience can often be described as being in between an acupuncture treatment and a massage. Similar to acupuncture, places of treatment are going to be on very specific points, but similar to massage, they are stimulated through touch instead of needles.

The goal of acupressure, just like acupuncture, is to encourage the movement of Qi and create a more balanced environment in the body. This can have a systemic healing effect and may help relieve more than the singular symptom.

What Can Acupressure Treat?

Acupressure can help treat a range of symptoms from insomnia, to anxiety, to headaches.

It follows the same system as acupuncture and can therefore have an effect on many of the same conditions as acupuncture. The main two differences are that Acupressure may not have as strong of stimulation as acupuncture does, and only one point is stimulated at a time. Whether or not this plays a role in the effectiveness of the treatment depends on the individual’s overall health and what level of stimulation is best for their body.

Types of Headaches

In Chinese medicine, there are many different patterns that can cause a headache as a symptom. For example, if you were coming to see an acupuncturist, their first task would be to figure out what type of headache you have. Based on what pattern you have, they would determine which points are best to use.

First, they would take note of the location of your headache. Then they would ask about the sensation you’re feeling from your subjective perspective. Lastly, they would ask about any other symptoms you may be feeling. Through this line of inquiry, they would determine your pattern diagnosis and treatment principle, then they would choose points according to that.

However, because you are looking for a self-treatment option through Acupressure and may not have a strong background in Chinese medicine, we do have general Acupressure points that can be beneficial for varying headache patterns that you can try!

Acupressure for Headaches

LI 4 (Large Intestine 4)

Named “Joining Valley” in Chinese medicine, this point is considered the “command” point for the “face and mouth.” It has the functions of regulating the face, eyes, nose, mouth, and ears and it is indicated for headaches, one-sided headaches, headaches of the whole head, and toothaches (along with many other symptoms).

This point is located on the top of the hand, between the thumb and pointer finger, in the fleshy part next to the mid-point of the hand bone.

Tai Yang

Named “sun (supreme yang)” in Chinese medicine, this point is one of the “extra” points that does not lie on one of the 14 meridians. It has the functions of reducing swelling, stopping or alleviating pain, and activating Qi and blood flow. It is indicated more specifically for one-sided headaches, dizziness, and toothache.

This point is located halfway between the outer part of the eyebrow and the outer part of the eye, at the temple.

LIV 3 (Liver 3)

Named “Great Rushing” in Chinese medicine, this point has a strong effect on the movement and flow of Qi in the body. It has the functions of clearing the head and eyes as well as spreading Qi. This point is indicated for headaches, dizziness, swelling and pain of the eyes, and numbness of the head, in addition to many other symptoms.

This point is located on the top of the foot, between the big toe and the second toe, in the hollow junction between the two bones closest to the ankle. Find this point by placing your finger on your foot between the two toes, then run it along the top of your foot toward your ankle until you reach the junction of the two bones.

If Acupressure isn't Enough, Try Acupuncture!

If your headache becomes recurring and Acupressure isn’t doing the trick, you may want to consider an Acupuncture appointment. Through Acupuncture, you’ll be able to have a more systemic effect based on the whole picture of your health, vs. just the headache symptom. I offer Acupuncture and Chinese herbs in my University Heights, San Diego clinic and would love to help you relieve your condition. I can also offer points for you to apply Acupressure to at home based on your specific pattern and tailored to you. If you are interested in booking an appointment, contact me today! I can’t wait to meet you.

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