Acupressure is an easy, effective, take-with-you-everywhere tool. In this post and video, I show you how to use acupressure to alleviate all types of headaches. You’ll gain relief quickly and without the use of over-the-counter medications.
Acupressure is done by applying pressure to specific acupuncture points on the body. There are a number of ways to do acupressure, which I demonstrate in the video below. Acupressure techniques can be done anytime of day and can be helpful for kids of all ages and for all adults. If you are pregnant, please consult with your Chinese Medicine physician before trying these acupressure points.
Before we jump in, from a Classical Chinese medicine diagnostic perspective headaches boil down to two types of headaches. There are headaches of excess and there are headaches from deficiency. Excess headaches are those that are sharp and may last longer than a few hours. Deficiency headaches are often dull and may last from an hour to a full day. You can use these acupressure points to alleviate both types of headaches. To address the root of your headache and for long-term relief, consider schedule an appointment.
How you activate your acupressure points matters. It all depends on where you are on the body and the severity of the headache. I’ll introduce you to the three types of acupressure that I like to use: massage, tapping, and pinching. I describe and demonstrate all three in great detail in the video above.
Massage is gentle rubbing and pressure. You want to start gentle to introduce touch to the acupressure point. Once your point and body soften and open, add more pressure. Think of a drill. The drill starts slow as it moves through the first layer of the wood, then the tension of the drill increases at it goes deeper through the wood.
I suggest gentle tapping with the pads of the finger tips on the skin and acupressure points to begin. You may use one, two or even three finger pads to tap. Similar to massage, as the point and body begin to soften to the tapping, you may increase the intensity of your tapping.
This technique is best used to stimulate energy and activate the acupressure point. This technique is great for bringing energy to the head and face like when you’re feeling tired or fatigued. Learn more at my post, Acupressure Points for Fatigue and Stress.
When we pinch the skin, we also want to lift the skin up and away, taking the skin away from the muscle or bone. This technique can provide exceptional relief for both dull and sharp headaches. You can pinch the eyebrows, and the skin on the hands and feet too. Remember when you’d get pinched by a friend, same thing! We’re just using it more intentionally here. 🙂
Before we get started, place both of your feet flat on the ground. Either set a timer for one to three minutes or plan on taking three to nine full inhales and exhales while doing each acupressure point. By setting a timer and/or breathing, you’ll be able to give your full attention to your acupressure session. When the timer goes off or you complete your designated round of breaths, close your eyes and simply breathe in your nose and out your mouth five times. This breathing time will allow the body to integrate the acupressure session to ensure you receive the full benefits. After your acupressure session, grab a glass of water and walk around, inside or outside, for a few minutes before returning to your day.
The acupressure points we’ll be using are located on the face and feet.
Alright, let’s take a look at acupressure points that can be used to alleviate headaches.
Large Intestine 4, Hégu or Joining Valley
Hégu is located between the first and second fingers, at the midpoint. Bring the first and second fingers to touch and you’ll see that there is a mound created between the two fingers. The mount is where Hégu is located.
This point is excellent for all types of headaches, excess or deficiency, and those located anywhere on the head. You can also use this point to alleviate nasal congestion and a sore throat.
Hégu is one of the most commonly used points for headache relief!
Bladder 67, Zhìyīn or Reaching Yin
This acupressure point is located on the lateral or outside of the fifth toe or pinky toe. This acupressure point is located on both the right and left foot. You may choose the foot you use depending on the location of your headache. This point is the last point on the Bladder channel. The Bladder channel begins at the inner canthus of the eye, right near where you glasses sit.
We’ll use this point to release tension and excess from the head, aka headaches. This point is exceptionally well for headaches that occur at the top of the head, occiput, and/or those between the eyes.
Gallbladder 44, Zuqiaoyin or Yin Portals of the Foot
This acupressure point is also located on the foot at the lateral or outside of the fourth toe. This point is also located on the right and left foot. Again, choose the right or left side depending on where your headache is.
Often times doing acupressure on the opposite side of the headache will serve you just as well.
This acupressure point will also clear the head from pressure and tension, especially those headaches that are on the temporal or lateral sides of the head near the outer eye and ear. This acupressure point can be used for intense and dull headaches.
Bladder 2, Zanzhú, Gathering Bamboo
This point is located on the face at the medial or inside of the eyebrow. There is a hollow space at the beginning of the eyebrow above the inner canthus of the eye. Bladder 2 is located on both sides of the face.
We’ll use this local point for headaches located at the eyes, eyebrow, forehead and those from sinus pain.
It is best to massage or gently pinch this point, rather than tapping them. Read above for the difference between tapping, massage and pressure for activating the acupressure points.
For more acupressure points, check out this video for alleviating anxiety.
Disclaimer: This information is intended for general reference only. It is not a replacement for professional health advice. The content in this post intentionally does not provide dosage information or possible interactions with prescription drugs or other medications. Please contact a certified health practitioner such as a physician of Oriental Medicine or Herbalist before considering use. To schedule an appointment with Malerie, visit the services page.