The ancient healing art of acupressure has been around for more than 5,000 years and is currently the most preferred treatment for relieving pain. Acupressure lies on the principle that 12 essential meridians in the body connect vital organs, creating a communication network system in the body.
So, when we are experiencing certain types of pain like headaches, acupressure may come to the rescue by relieving specific pressure points that you may not expect to be connected to the pain you are experiencing. There are three types of headaches— cluster headache, tension headache, and migraine. Most of us have different methods of relieving pain like ice packs, essential oils, ear plugs, and even visualization exercises. But not all these can alleviate the pain the sure way.
Acupressure manages symptoms and prevents further headache attacks by targeting pressure points to relieve your condition. In this blog, you will learn what science says about acupressure, the different acupressure points, and whether it does really help relieve headaches.
Can acupressure help relieve headaches?
Traditional Chinese medication supporters believe that stimulating specific meridians or pressure points in the body help in relieving headache. However, there is still a lack of scientific evidence to confirm this claim. More studies are needed to cement this belief.
Still, researchers believe that even if acupressure is not yet proven to relieve headaches directly, it complements other modes of treatment for relieving pain, such as medicine, to enhance their efficiency. Moreover, acupressure helps reduce tension, release endorphins, improve circulation, and relieve stress, making it an excellent complementary treatment for headache medications.
How does acupressure work in terms of relieving headaches?
Specialists of acupressure use different devices and body parts to put pressure on specific acupressure points. They may use their feet, elbow, fingers, or palms to target meridians for relief. One acupressure massage session usually lasts for around an hour. Thus, it is best to get multiple, regular sessions for optimal results.
In Balance Wellness, however, offers acupressure massage in different durations. You can have 30, 60, 90, or 120 minutes of acupressure massage offered with essential oils, hot towels, massage chairs, or steam rooms before or after the massage.
Consequently, acupressure helps restore the health and balance of the body by regulating the opposing forces of yin and yang (negative and positive energy, respectively). Many believers support the idea that acupressure does treat not only the energy fields in our body but also our emotions, mind, and spirit.
What science says about the efficiency of acupressure in relieving headaches
While we still need to gather evidence, researchers have conducted some studies about acupressure. One study investigated four individuals suffering from chronic headaches. The study let them have acupressure sessions for two to three weeks for half a year.
The study concluded that acupressure did have some positive effects on the chronic headache experienced by the participants as the frequency of their headaches have reduced. From seven headaches a week, the number went down to two. Also, the duration of headaches went from 8 hours to only 4 hours, decreasing the duration by 50%.
Meridians for relieving headache
As mentioned, acupressure uses different pressure points to relieve pains and tensions. Listed below are the meridians commonly targeted for headaches:
Shoulder well: This acupressure point is found just at the edge of your shoulder, halfway between the shoulder point and the neck base. To use this point, do the following steps:
- Apply firm, circular pressure on this point using your thumb for around a minute.
- Switch to the other shoulder point and repeat step 1.
The shoulder well is known to relieve cramps and stiffness down your neck and shoulders. Thus, it may help in reducing headaches.
Third eye: This acupressure point is located between your eyebrows— right where the forehead meets your nose bridge. To use this point, you may apply good pressure using your index finger for a minimum of 1 minute.
Pressure at this point may help relieve eye strain and sinus, which may cause frequent headaches.
Drilling bamboo: These pressure points are located on the indentations where your eyebrow’s ridge and nose bridge meet. To use these points, do the following steps on both sides:
- Apply simultaneous pressure to the points using your index fingers.
- Hold the pressure for around 10 seconds.
- Then, release your fingers.
- Repeat the whole procedure.
Like the third eye, drilling bamboo points help improve headache symptoms due to eyestrain or sinus pain.
Gates of consciousness: This point is located in the hollow base of your skull, the parallel between your neck’s vertical muscles. To use these points to relieve headaches, do the following steps:
- Put your index and middle fingers on these points.
- Simultaneously press both sides in an upward manner for 10 seconds.
- Gently release your fingers.
- Repeat the steps.
Applying firm pressure to these points can help in relieving tension headaches.
Urinary bladder channel or UB10: This point is located at the nape. It helps relieve chronic headaches, specifically tension headaches. You may press this point for about 10 seconds to help enhance alertness and treat fatigue.
What happens during an acupressure session?
An acupressure session is usually administered by a professional practitioner, either with the patient sitting or lying at the table. Although you can do it yourself, having an acupressurist assist you would be your best bet if you want optimal results. They know how to control pressure using their fingers, knuckles, thumb, and other necessary devices.
Tips when having acupressure sessions
Acupressure is generally safe. Still, here are a few tips that you should know to maximize its benefit:
- Inform your therapist if you feel any pain during the session.
- Avoid applying pressure on fragile and sensitive areas such as the face.
- Speak to a medical practitioner about undergoing acupressure if you have current health conditions such as (but not limited to) cancer, fractures, injuries, easy bruising, osteoporosis, bleeding disorder, heart disease, or diabetes.
- Consult a doctor if you are pregnant and want to do acupressure sessions.
- Avoid acupressure on bruised areas, open wounds, varicose veins, and infected parts.
Using acupressure to relieve headaches may need more studying. However, limited studies suggest that they may indeed aid in reducing said symptoms.
Acupressure is a non-pharmaceutical and non-invasive way to relieve headaches. In addition, it also provides stress relief within your budget and is generally safe and natural. Should you want to experience an acupressure session, contact In Balance Wellness and explore their massage services.