August 08, 2022

Article at Migraine Again

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11 Pressure Points for Headaches You Need to Know

the back of a black woman's head. she has her hand on her neck
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When a headache or migraine attack hits, all you want is to feel better ASAP. Natural approaches, like pressure points for headaches, can help relieve symptoms while you wait for your meds to kick in. Acupressure is a cost-free, natural tool to add to your headache toolkit. These pressure points for headaches and nausea bring relief, not side effects.

What Are Pressure Points?

“Pressure points” are the specific spots along the body that respond to pressure or acupuncture in traditional Chinese medical practice. You might also hear people say “pressure points” when they talk about myofascial trigger points, super-irritable spots along a tight band within a skeletal muscle. Trained therapists can feel those tender, painful spots when they work on a client.

Studies on the use of pressure point therapy for tension-type headache were done in 2015 and again in 2017. Results suggest that regular pressure point therapy can not only relieve headache pain but also raise the pain threshold on those tender spots.

According to studies on people with migraine, pressure point therapy might help with symptoms like nausea and fatigue. Although the evidence on the effectiveness of acupuncture on migraine appears mixed, many people get relief from symptoms using pressure point therapy on the locations mapped out in acupuncture.

Why Try Pressure Point Work on Your Headaches?

With no side effects or big price tags, trying pressure point techniques is low cost and low risk for many people. Even better, with the following images and directions courtesy of, you can learn acupressure without leaving your home.

You can practice acupressure for headache and migraine attacks at home to relieve some of the pain, tightness, and abdominal issues that come with an attack. Working on pressure points for headaches is a safe, natural way to get relief from migraine and headache symptoms and a free tool worth adding to your toolkit. (Some people should NOT try acupressure for headache relief. Scroll down for the details.)

What Pressure Points Might Work for You?

Acupressure and acupuncture have been used for headache, migraine, and many other conditions in Asia for thousands of years. By learning how to stimulate pressure points— including the location on the ear where people get daith piercings — you can relieve minor or moderate symptoms and reduce the need for nonprescription drugs.

Using pressure points often provides relief immediately, something many medications can't do.

How to Use Acupressure

Learning acupressure for headaches at home is simple.

  1. First, find a quiet place where you can relax, either sitting or lying down.
  2. Locate the pressure point you are targeting.
  3. Use your knuckle, fingertip, or soft-pointed object like a pencil eraser to apply deep probing pressure to each pressure point.
  4. Apply pressure for 15 to 30 seconds.
  5. When applying acupressure, try to relax and breathe deeply as you massage the area.
  6. Repeat using the same point on the other side of your body.

You should feel immediate relief. Sometimes a pressure point will feel different on opposites sides of the body.

You may find the following headache relief pressure points especially useful:

1. Acupoint 7: LU-7

Clasp your hands together (A), touching your upper wrist with your forefinger. The point is found on a line with the thumb, in a small depression (B). Remembering the position of the point, unclasp your hands and apply pressure. Correlates in Traditional Chinese Medicine With Lung.

2. Acupoint 1: LI-4

Squeeze thumb and forefinger together, forming a ridge above the thumb. This acupressure for headache point is in the middle of that ridge, just above the end of the crease formed by thumb and forefinger. This pressure point is sometimes called the "Union Valley" pressure point, and people use it in a variety of hand positions. Correlates in Traditional Chinese Medicine With Large Intestine 4.

3. Acupoint 26: (nostril)

Pinch the nostril, on the side opposite the septum. Good for severe headaches.

4. Acupoint 12: LU-9

The point is on the largest crease of the inner wrist, on a line with the thumb. Correlates in Traditional Chinese Medicine With Lung 9.

5. "Third Eye" Pressure Point

This point is between the eyebrows, above the bridge of the nose. Apply steady pressure or massage in a circular motion.

Migraine Relief Pressure Points for Shoulders and Neck

6. Acupoint GB-21

To use acupressure for migraine on this point, first pinch your shoulder muscle with thumb and middle finger and find the point in the center of the muscle. Then using your index finger, apply downward pressure to massage and stimulate the area for 4 to 5 seconds while releasing your pinch. Caution: Do not use while pregnant as it may induce labor.

7. Acupoint 29: SJ-17

On the back of the jawbone, just below the ear. Correlates in Traditional Chinese Medicine With Triple Warmer 17.

8. Acupoint GB-20

It is located by feeling the mastoid (ear) bone and following the groove back to where the neck muscles attach to the skull. Clasp your hands together in front of you and then open your palms with fingers interlocked to form a cup shape.

Cradle the back of your head in this cup shape and use your thumbs to massage the point for 4 to 5 seconds. Remember to breathe deeply.

Acupressure for Migraine Symptoms: Nausea, Constipation, and Stomach Pain

Try the following acupressure points for pain, discomfort, or other symptoms of the gastrointestinal system.

9. Acupoint 5: SP-6

One palm width above the tip of the inner anklebone, on the back of the shinbone. This foot pressure point for migraine is often used in combination with acupoint No. 6 (below). Correlates in Traditional Chinese Medicine With Spleen 6.

10. Acupoint 6: St-36

One palm width below the bottom edge of the kneecap, on the outside, in a depression between the shinbone and the leg muscle. Effective for most problems from the waist down, especially when used with acupoint No. 5. Correlates in Traditional Chinese Medicine With Stomach 36.

11. Acupoint 1: LI-4 (same as No. 2 above)

Squeeze thumb and forefinger together, forming a ridge above the thumb. The point is in the middle of that ridge, just above the end of the crease formed by thumb and forefinger. Good for most problems from the waist up. Correlates in Traditional Chinese Medicine With Large Intestine 4.

A Few Cautions

Acupressure is not appropriate as the only treatment for acute or chronic conditions, but it can be a useful tool alongside medical care.

Acupressure for headache should not be used:

  • As the only treatment for illness; if you are sick, see a doctor.
  • If you have a heart condition
  • Just before or within 20 minutes after heavy exercise, a large meal, or bathing
  • If the point in question is under a mole, wart, varicose vein, abrasion, bruise, cut, or any other break in the skin
  • If you are pregnant, especially if more than three months

(Pssst ... don't miss The Complete Guide for Migraine Massage for more DIY pain relief.)