Headaches can cripple our day, impacting both productivity and mood. Often, these headaches are the offspring of mounting stress, a prevalent issue in today’s fast-paced world.
One non-medicated way to alleviate the symptoms of a stress headache is through acupressure, a technique where pressure is applied to specific points on the body to release tension and promote relaxation.
Rather than go down the route of medicating, many individuals often seek a more natural way to manage chronic conditions including frequent tension headaches.
Acupressure therapy, deeply rooted in the discipline of Chinese medicine, has been a go-to solution for many who are dealing with persistent headache pain and looking to avoid the side effects associated with some Western medicine approaches.
This therapy involves stimulating specific parts of the body known as acupressure points or acupuncture points, which are believed to have a direct connection with the nervous system.
Beyond migraine relief, it offers a gateway to understanding and nurturing every part of the human body, optimizing the blood flow and easing the tight band of tension that often accumulates at the base of the neck.
The objective of using these pressure points is to alleviate symptoms, enhance blood circulation, and balance the flow of qi (energy) throughout the body.
Practitioners of reflexology and licensed acupuncturists often emphasize the importance of consistent, steady pressure on these points for optimal results. Before attempting this treatment, consult with a healthcare provider, especially pregnant women, to ensure it’s the right pressure point treatment for you.
Below we explore the most effective pressure points that can offer you relief from stress headaches. Before attempting to use these points, find a quiet space where you can sit or lie down comfortably.
Use your fingers or thumbs to apply firm, but not painful, pressure on each point.
Massage each point in a slow, circular motion for about 1 to 2 minutes. Here are the best pressure points to focus on:
1. Feng Chi (GB20)
The “Well Pressure Point,” also known as the “Wind Pool” or Feng Chi in Chinese Medicine
Location: Found at the base of the skull, the Feng Chi points are situated on each side of the neck, between the sternocleidomastoid muscle and the trapezius.
How to Use: To locate these points, trace a finger from the back of your ear down to your neck until you find a depression at the base of your skull. Apply gentle pressure in a circular motion using your index or middle finger. This point is known to relieve headaches, eye blurriness, and fatigue.
This technique is known to stimulate blood flow and relieve tension that often accumulates in this part of the body. You might find these points to be extra sensitive, especially if you’re experiencing a tension headache or a migraine.
Try to focus on taking deep breaths as you massage this area to encourage relaxation and pain relief.
2. He Gu (LI4)
Location: The He Gu point is located on the hand, between the thumb and index finger, at the highest point of the muscle when the thumb and index finger are brought close together.
How to Use: Using the thumb and forefinger of your other hand, apply a firm pressure and massage this area in a circular motion. This point can help to relieve headaches, toothaches, and neck pain.
After locating this headache pressure point, which is sometimes extra sensitive in individuals experiencing cluster headaches, take deep breaths as you massage gently to enhance pain relief
3. Tai Yang
Location: The Tai Yang points are found on the temples, about a finger’s width away from the outer edge of the eyebrows.
How to Use: Gently massage this point with your fingertips using circular movements. Massaging this point can help alleviate headaches and tension in the temples.
4. Zan Zhu (BL2)
Location: This point is located at the inner corners of the eyebrows, just above the bridge of the nose.
How to Use: Use your index fingers to apply pressure on both points simultaneously. This can help relieve sinus headaches and eye strain.
5. Ying Xiang (LI20)
Location: Located on either side of the nostrils, in the depression of the cheek.
How to Use: Using your index fingers, press these points and move in a circular motion. It helps in relieving headaches and also unblocks the nose.
6. Third Eye Pressure Point
This is referred to as “Yintang” in Traditional Chinese Medicine
Location: Located between the eyebrows, where the bridge of your nose meets your forehead, this is often referred to as the “third eye” in traditional Chinese medicine.
How to Use: Use the index finger of the opposite hand to apply a gentle but firm touch on this point. It is believed to alleviate sinus pressure and headache symptoms, particularly those associated with sinus pain. This point is also known to help reduce the intensity of headaches.
For individuals with tension at the back of the head or neck, combining the third eye pressure point massage with gentle movements at the back of your head can be beneficial. Engaging these well-known pressure points can sometimes reduce the average number of headaches experienced over time.
7. Union Valley Pressure Point
Location: Found on the web between the thumb and the index finger, it is technically part of the large intestine meridian, known as the Union Valley point in Chinese medicine.
How to Use: Use the thumb and index finger of the opposite hand to apply pressure at this point. This point is beneficial for headache relief, especially from tension headaches and migraine attacks. Massage this point in small circles to relieve head pain and ease migraine pain.
You might find that the effectiveness of massaging this acupressure point is increased by simultaneously applying gentle pressure with the base of your thumb on the opposite side, effectively engaging the trigger points in the surrounding area.
8. Drilling Bamboo (B2)
Location: The Drilling Bamboo points are situated at the inner corners of the eyes, just above the bridge of the nose. You’ll find these points in the indentations where the bridge of the nose meets the ridge of the eyebrows.
How to Use: Using your index fingers, apply gentle pressure on these points for about 1-2 minutes. You might find this particularly helpful in relieving sinus pain and pressure, which often accompanies headaches.
You can either perform a steady application of pressure or gently massage the points in a circular motion, whichever feels more soothing. It is not uncommon to feel a slight relief in sinus pressure and headache intensity almost immediately.
9. Shoulder Point Relief
This point is known as “Jian Jing” or “GB 21” in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Location: The shoulder point, also known as Jian Jing, is found at the edge of your shoulder, halfway between the base of your neck and your shoulder muscle. This point can be particularly effective for headaches located at the back of the head.
How to Use: Using a tennis ball or your ring finger, apply firm pressure and perform a circular massage on this point. It can often provide immediate relief, especially when combined with pressure on the inner wrist points, another critical headache point. Repeat on the different location on the other shoulder to ensure symmetrical relief.
10. Inner Wrist Point (PC6)
Location: The inner wrist point, also known as Nei Guan or PC6, is situated approximately three finger-widths below the wrist, in the space between the two prominent tendons in the middle of the inner wrist.
How to Use: To stimulate this point, use your thumb to apply a steady pressure, massaging in small circles for 1-2 minutes. You can do this on one wrist at a time, or even stimulate both wrists simultaneously using thumbs from the opposite hands. It is believed to help in reducing the intensity of headaches and promoting relaxation. For those suffering from chronic conditions, integrating this point into your daily routine can potentially aid in reducing the average number of headaches over a period.
Adding stimulation of this point into your routine, especially during a migraine attack or intense headache, might offer substantial relief. Combining this with deep breaths can sometimes enhance its effectiveness, helping to relax the surrounding muscles and improve blood flow.
Pressure Point Diagrams
As you venture into this transformative journey, remember that some points, especially those around the skeletal muscle areas, might be more responsive to acupuncture treatment as well. Therefore, it might be worth exploring this treatment at the end of the treatment period to gauge the comprehensive benefits of acupressure.
In the hustle and bustle of daily life, stress headaches can often serve as unwelcome reminders of the strain we might be under. Utilizing acupressure points like the ones listed above can serve as a quick, natural, and effective way to mitigate these headaches and help us return to a state of balance and harmony.
Remember to approach each point with sensitivity and patience, allowing the innate wisdom of your body to guide your hands to the areas in need of attention and relief.
Whether you’re at home, at work, or on the go, these pressure points can be your sanctuary for relief from stress headaches. Practice regularly and you may find not only relief from headaches but perhaps a deeper sense of relaxation and well-being.
To foster a deeper understanding and effectiveness in using these headache relief pressure points, it is beneficial to consult a massage therapist or a licensed acupuncturist who specializes in this area.
These professionals can guide you in locating the exact points, which might vary slightly in different locations on different individuals, and advise on the type of pressure point treatment that would be most beneficial for your specific headache symptoms.
Additionally, incorporating practices like massage therapy can complement the use of reflexology to provide an all-rounded approach to managing chronic tension headache and other common types of headaches.
As an end note, individuals with chronic pain conditions should monitor the number of headaches and their intensity throughout the first week of treatment to understand the benefits better.
Anna is a Wales-based writer and graduate from SOAS University of London.
As the voice behind On Your Journey, she empowers women to embrace holistic well-being and spiritual growth through her expert insights into wellness and symbolism.
When she isn't writing thought-provoking articles, you'll find her busy crafting and raising her 4 children.