While we've covered acupressure for body pain in a previous post, we've never dug into the specific acupuncture points that someone can use for a headache. Last time we explained the logic of "like cures like" - for instance that you can massage the heel of your palm to find relief for the heel of your foot - but for this post you'll just have to trust us!
Before we get into that, though, keep in mind that the best "fix" for a headache is to take away what's causing it. Ask yourself if you're dehydrated, hungry, tired, etc. and if you decide that you are, drink water, eat, take a nap, or do whatever you need to do to solve the root of the problem. If the headache lingers after that, or if you're not sure of the cause or the solution, then try stimulating the following points based on where you're feeling the most discomfort. You can massage them or apply a steady pressure to them, but please be gentle with yourself. (The goal is not to bring pain to another area of your body.) As you do this, you may notice that your headache moves to another part of your head, which means you can then stimulate the point that corresponds to the new area. In acupuncture our goal is to help the body heal itself, in this case directing it to improve circulation to specific sections of the head, and you'll need to be very self-aware to keep up with what your body needs.
Finally, a little bit about acu-speak: In America acupuncture points are named based on their meridian and a number, and we usually abbreviate the meridian name to one or two letters. The meridians are named after corresponding organ systems, but sore spots on meridians do not necessarily indicate issues with that organ from a Western perspective. (In other words, don't panic and think you have kidney disease if KD3 is sensitive on you!) We've opted to describe the point locations in terms anyone can understand instead of using medical terminology like "anterior" and "metatarsals". If you can't picture what we're saying, simply search "acupuncture point [point name] location" in Google images to get a visual. The points may not be in the same exact spot as an image, but if you find a sore spot nearby you're probably in the right place.
Without further ado, here is the list that you can use to help your headaches! Those marked with an asterisks should NOT be used during pregnancy as they can induce labor, but otherwise have fun experimenting with acupressure. This list is not all-encompassing - there are plenty of other points can work on the same parts of the head - so if you find other points on your body that seem to bring relief, add them to this list to get to know YOUR body specifically.
- Forehead and/or temples: LI12 (about an inch up and back from the crease of your elbow on your outer upper arm) and SJ10 (about an inch up from the tip of your elbow on your triceps)
- Side of the head: SJ10 (same as above)
- Inner eyebrow: KD3 (midway between the Achilles tendon and the inner ankle)
- Base of the skull, close to the spine: near LU10 but not a named point (just below the knuckle of your thumb)
- Base of the skull, farther to the side/past the trapezius: LV4 (just in front of the inner ankle)
- Behind the eyes: LV8 (inner knee)
- Around the head, like a vise-grip: SP9 (below the knee just inside the top of the shin bone)
- Top of the head: LV3* (where the bones connected to the big toe and second toe meet at the top of the foot)
- Whole head: LI4* (the meaty part between the thumb and index finger on the back of the hand)
Kathleen Ellerie is a Licensed Acupuncturist and the owner of Beachside Community Acupuncture. She loves providing affordable acupuncture to the residents of Addison, Dallas, and Farmers Branch, Texas, and educating the general public on how acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can treat everything from pain to infertility to stress and beyond. Click Book Now at the top of this page to book an appointment or feel free to contact her at (214) 417-2260.