Pressure Points To Relieve Headaches

By Alex Lochhead - Five Element Acupuncturist -

pressure points for painfull head

Headaches come in many forms and have just as many causes.  Whatever their cause, they are a miserable symptom that spoils the day.

Happily, a lot of headaches respond well to a course of acupuncture, along with making proactive choices to avoid any triggers.  As each headache has a unique set of causes or triggers I am not going to focus on this aspect in this blog entry, rather a set of acupressure points that can be self administered in an attempt to heal that sore head.  It really goes without saying that if you are a regular sufferer, you should seek professional help.  However, my personal belief is that medications for headaches are not very effective or a suitable remedy.  Most headache medications come with a side effect warning ‘may cause headache’.  Hello!  Exasperated face!

Some careful thought needs to go into why patterns of headaches are occurring and what can be done to alter this.  Here, I am going to discuss my list of ‘go to’ points for calming and hopefully eliminating a headache when it arrives.

First, though, a confession!  I almost never use acupressure in my practice.  Maybe, I’m missing a trick here, but I tend to think if I can use a needle, why use pressure?  That is the reality of acupressure and me.  I do, however, use acupressure quite instinctively for my own health care.  I may need to sit and have a quiet reflect on this later!  Maybe this blog will be a game changer for me.

Let’s talk pressure…

The easiest and cheapest method to use acupressure is to press the point with a finger.  You can buy probes and all kinds of widgets to use, but really why bother?  The pressure you apply needs to be enough to ‘feel like it’s doing some good’.  That will vary for each of us.  If you get a little ‘pressure ache’ coming off the point, you are on the right tracks, but you do not want to be causing bruising or creating dents in your body that could hold water!!  Basically, press until it feels good.

There is some discussion about whether to apply pressure in a clockwise or anticlockwise rotation.  My mind is open on this, or rather, I can’t see it making much difference.  Have a go and see what you think.

Key points to try:

Liver 3

This point is located at the top of the ‘valley’ between the big toe and second toe bones (metacarpals).  The theory here is that by stimulating a point on the foot it will prevent too much energy clustering in the head and pull it back down into the body.  Pain is associated with energy build up in the body and this distal point (a point at the other end of the body from where pain resides) is commonly used for all kinds of symptoms to do with the head.

liver points for painful head

Yin Tang

This point is known as an ‘extra-point’ as it is not specifically linked to a meridian or energy line on the surface of the skin.  It sits between the eyebrows and is one of my all time favourite points mainly because it feels so good.  It is excellent for relaxing the mind, the forehead and temples.  It can be very fast working and often patients who arrive for treatment with a headache will feel improvement from just his point alone.

Yin Tang pressure points for painful head

Gallbladder 8

I tend to administer this point when migraine is involved or for headaches in the temples.  It is approximately one inch above each ear on the Gallbladder meridian.  It is quite a sensitive area to touch so care must be taken when massaging.  Start gently and build up pressure slowly.  The Gallbladder meridian zig-zags over the head and this point helps to stimulate energy movement over the scalp and down the neck.

Gall Bladder 8

Gallbladder 20

This point is found at the base of the skull in a hollow between the tendons linking the trapezius muscle to the skull.  It relaxes the neck and head and enables tension to drain away from the head.  I think headaches and migraines often start in the neck and shoulders, as these are locations where we hold tension, often without even releasing it.  Regular massage of this point, even when not experiencing headache is a great way to keep energy moving and preventing unhelpful build up.  Combine it with some simply side-to-side head turns and gentle neck stretches to maintain a relaxed scalp, neck and shoulders.

gall bladder 20 pressure points for painful head

Large Intestine 4

This point is an all round painkiller.  It is also a point for helping to stimulate the bowel, so don’t over do it if you are away from home!  It is found on the hand at the top of the valley between the metacarpal bone of the thumb and index finger.  It can also be used for toothache and any facial pains.

large intestine pressure points for a painful head

To read more about Alex please click here

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2 Comments on “Pressure Points To Relieve Headaches”

  1. Thank you. I did try taking photos of the points on my body but it all got a bit weird, so decided to draw them!

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