One of the most common, yet treacherously annoying problems is that of headaches that afflict persons across a varied spectrum of age, lifestyle and race irrespective of the gender. Managing headache is an art by itself. The causes for headaches are varied and depending upon the type of the problem, the pain may vary anywhere between mild and moderate and sometimes may also jump to the severe category, as is the case in cluster headaches and migraine. Persons suffering from headache on a regular basis tend to get accustomed to the pain and modify their activities accordingly.
Medical as well as non medical therapeutic options are available to treat simple as well as chronic headaches. The alternate therapy options include Acupressure, Yoga, Meditation, Aromatherapy, Reflexology and Relaxation therapy. Acupressure has been found to be very effective in treating headaches, especially, Migraine headaches. Here, instead of the needles used in acupuncture, the finger tips are used to apply pressure and massage the pressure points to bring about relief from ailments.
Acupressure – Basic Facts
One of the most famous and widely practiced forms of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Acupressure, makes use of the pressure points in the body to relieve pain, stress and heals the body of various ailments. Acupressure is based on the theory of ‘Chi’ which is believed to be the life giving, healing energy that percolates all living spaces. Disruptions in the flow of energy are believed to cause certain ailments of the body and the mind. The energy flow is set right when the acupressure points are activated and the symptoms of the ailments disappear.
There are several acupressure points on the body, each responsible for a particular organ or general functioning of systems. Points are present on both sides of the body, one point has a corresponding twin on the other side of the body in the exact same location.
Acupressure at Home
Acupressure techniques bring about pain relief and can be practiced at home, without any supervision, once the techniques are learnt thoroughly and correctly from a practicing expert. There is no need for any expensive or difficult to use equipment when it comes to acupressure treatment. All that is needed is some patience, time and skilled fingers. Another great feature is that these procedures have no side effects, if practiced as instructed by the expert. These techniques can be used any number of times and come in handy when headache strikes.
To help identify the acu points correctly, make sure to look for the tender portions in the area as the acupressure points tend to be tenderer than the area around them. The optimum pressure to be applied will be learnt only over a period of time. Patience is of the essence here as effects will become more pronounced only with regular practice on a daily basis.
Acupressure for Stress Relief – Relief from Tension Type and Stress Headaches
Tension usually remains concentrated around the acu-points. When tension takes over, muscles become rigid and tight, spasms occur due to reduced blood circulation. The technique used here is to apply pressure on the pressure point concerned which brings about muscle relaxation. The blood flow returns back to normal and the stress is relieved from the area.
Acupressure Massage Points that Relieve Headache
Simple massage techniques for mild to moderate headaches can be performed at home without the need to consult any physician. However, in the case of chronic and more severe forms of headaches, it is best to consult a health care professional first before resorting to acupressure at home.
Gb20 – The Head Acupressure Point
This point is also called as the ‘Gates of Consciousness’ and when it is blocked the head feels pressurized and heavy. When these points are activated through massage, the circulation to the brain is improved and certain inherent pain relievers of the body, called endorphins, are released. This point is one of the most potent to obtain relief from pain and pressure felt in the head. The massage causes the nervous system to relax, thereby ameliorating the pain felt in the head region.
Working on this point helps relieve headache and eases the tension in the temple region as well as the pressure felt on either sides of the head. This pressure point can be worked up without any expert supervision. This is one of the best ways to relieve the stress and ache in the forehead as well as the temples. The pressure must be applied in the region for around one to three minutes for the effects to appear. This is truly a quick fix to treat the gnawing headaches.
The area to be worked upon is the depression that is present at the base of the skull, outside the muscles moving downwards to the side of the neck. Apply mild to moderate pressure on the point and massage with circular motions. Repeat the movement for up to two minutes.
Co4 – The Hand Acupressure Point
This is one of the most effective pressure points for pain relief in the upper neck, face and head regions. This point is located at the web of the palm, known as the ‘Union Valley’, is between the thumb and the index finger, about three centimeters inwards from the web frame on the outer side of the palm. This point is located in the exact same location in both the hands.
Placing the thumb on the point on the outer surface of the hand and the index finger on the inner portion, that is, on the palm surface diagonally below the point and squeeze the point for one to two minutes. When done, repeat the movement in the other hand as well.
This technique can be practiced whenever there is an imminent danger of a headache attack. Always remember to close both the eyes which massaging the acu points. This can be repeated any number of times till the symptoms of headache disappears. However, this should not be performed in pregnant women, especially at the later stages of pregnancy, as this point also tends to stimulate contractions of the uterus.
Other Acupressure Points and Techniques
- Massaging the Gb20 point, mentioned earlier, is one of the best options for migraine headaches. Apart from this, massaging the point between the two eyebrows, above the bridge of the nose is one of the most effective for treating migraines. The motions should be directed upwards, starting from the activation point in the middle.
- The points away from the eyebrows, in the temple region also bring about relief from headache when stimulated on both sides of the head. Massaging with circular motions in the temple region eases the pain and the motion should be done for at least two minutes. This can be repeated whenever the attack strikes and is capable of bringing some relief from the throbbing and pulsating pain of migraine headaches.
- While trying to treat migraine headaches with acupressure, the initial feelings might be that of pain and discomfort, but this should not be a deterrent. Regular practice brings down the intensity as well as the frequency of the headaches attacks.
Acupressure techniques can bring a world of relief to people going through the wretched ordeal of headaches on a regular basis. Activation of the acu points result in better flow of energy through our system. The improved circulation relieves the energy blocks from the different locations of the body. Some of these techniques are very helpful in bringing about immediate relief and also help abort the onset of headache attacks.