Migraines and headache are among the most debilitating symptoms you can suffer. They are often sudden and painful, and they come with little advance warning. Sometimes, though, they do offer warning signs like shortness of breath, visual aura and nausea. At other times, your experience with their appearance lets you recognize when one is coming.
While many people take prescription and over-the-counter medications to relieve the pains of migraine and headache, there is a more natural way. Using the simple method of self-acupressure to the specific points shown here, you can relieve a migraine greatly or stop its onset before it takes hold. These acupressure points come from ancient Chinese acupuncture, but are done with only finger pressure. No need for needles.
Here is a series of points to locate, press and rub for 30 seconds each, from leg to hand to head, that can help reduce your pain and symptoms while helping reduce your dependence on medications. While it is not necessary to know complete Chinese medicine theory or the each point’s name in Chinese to affect their healing power, it is important to locate them properly and do them in the correct order.
While it seems counterintuitive, points on the legs are very powerful for treating the body and head, especially where pain is associated. For this article, we will use two leg points, one on the shin and the other on the foot.
Gallbladder 34: This is the 34th point located on the gallbladder energy channel. It is located in the depression just below and behind the head of the fibula. It is a great point for headaches because it is related to the sinews as well as the liver. When the liver qi (energy) stagnates from anger and stress, the sinews become tense and pain arises — especially with migraines, wherein blood vessels constrict to cause pain. Compressing this acupressure point releases the liver qi, opens the meridian, relaxes the sinews and helps reduce pain.
Gallbladder 42: This is the 42nd point on the gallbladder energy channel meridian. It is located on the top of the foot between the pinky toe and the neighboring toe, next to the fourth metatarsophalangeal joint. It is used for headache and eye pain (think “cluster headache”), and it moves liver qi and heat from the gallbladder. When liver qi stagnates from stress and anger or if there is too much liver heat from alcohol or gallbladder heat from fatty or fried foods, the heat rises up into the head and causes a headache. Think your typical anger or hangover headache, or the pounding feeling of a migraine.
The hand and arm also contain a vast number of powerful acupuncture points. For migraines, the point known as Large Intestine 4 (LI4), is of particular help. This is the fourth point found along the large intestine meridian. It is related to the intestines and digestion, and it is the so-called “command” point for the head and face. While this point has many uses, it works extremely well for headaches related to food triggers and is great for pain, anywhere in the body.
Since the head is the location of migraine and headache pain and throbbing, it seems like this should be the first place to press points. However, to be most effective, I recommend releasing the points first in the legs and hands to remove blood stasis, energy blockages and other issues that can continue to cause migraine and headache, even when direct points on the head are activated.
Yin Tang: This is a special point located on the forehead between the eyebrows. It is where many traditions locate the “third eye,” which is why its Chinese name “yin tang” can translate to “hall of impressions.” Based on personal experience, I tend to locate this point slightly above the central point between the eyebrows, in the depression just above them. The point is most useful for headaches, heavy head, foggy thinking, sinus blockage and insomnia: all things related to migraine.
DU 15: This point is located on the back of the head, just above the hairline at the occiput, below the spinous process of the first cervical vertebra. It is related to vitality and emotional issues, deafness, stiff neck and headache. Of these, stiff neck and emotional issues can trigger headache and muscle tension in the base of the skull can trigger pain in the trigeminal nerve, which travels up the head from the back of the skull to the front.
Du 20: This is the so-called “hundred meetings” point where so many acu-points and vessels converge. It is on the top of the head, directly in the middle and is located by drawing a line from the top of both ears to where it meets on top.
How to Apply
Self-acupressure is simple and easy. Simply use your thumbs or forefingers and press in and the rotate slowly for 30 seconds while pressing on the tender space at the points. Be gentler for toe points so you don’t bruise or injure the small toe bones. Press and rub to open the point and release the energy blockage. This helps restore balance in the meridian and, thus, remove what can negatively affect the body and cause migraine.