Acupressure to Relieve Headaches
Acupressure is a self-care treatment regimen related to acupuncture, the ancient Chinese traditional medical treatment modality which uses needles inserted into the skin at strategic points along meridians in the body to treat numerous conditions. How the treatment works is unknown, but acupuncture and, presumably, acupressure have been proved to result in increased levels of blood beta-endorphin, the body's natural pain-killing substance. Acupuncture is effective for pain relief, and even anesthesia, though not equally in all people, and probably with greatest effectiveness in the head and neck regions. It is therefore a reasonable self-treatment approach to reducing headaches, particularly those with mild-to-moderate pain intensity.
The most powerful acupressure point for headache is Gallbladder 20 (Gates of Consciousness the two points on either side of the neck vertebrae where the neck muscles attach to the skull), located immediately below the prominent ridges at the rear base of the skull on both sides of the skull in the depression between the skull and the vertical neck muscles.
Rubbing these points and the surrounding one-square-inch area steadily for three to five minutes, using firm pressure at 90 degrees to the skin is often effective by itself in decreasing headache pain.
Additionally, except in pregnant women where it is traditionally forbidden, massage of the point Large Intestine 4 (Hoku or Adjoining Valley), one of the most powerful points overall, is often suggested. This point is located in the webbed area between thumb and first finger on the upper (dorsal) surface of the left hand where the bones and attached muscles come together in a "v".