Acupressure offers a drug-free way to alleviate the symptoms of even the worst headaches. Evidence supporting its effectiveness include a 2010 experiment held by researchers at Kaohsiung Medical University.
During the Taiwanese study, the healing art outperformed muscle relaxant drugs when it came to alleviating the pain from chronic headaches. Acupressure proved its worth during the month-long therapy, and its benefits lasted for up to six months after the final treatment.
If the headache comes from soaking up the blue light of a screen, start with the "Third Eye." The pressure point is on the space between the eyebrows. Place the index and pointer finger on this location and rub it gently for a minute.
Next is the "Drilling Bamboo" pair of pressure points. Located at either side of the bridge of the nose, right below the part where the eyebrows begin, they lessen the pressure experienced by the sinus and improve headaches stemming from eye strain. Use the index fingers to firmly stimulate both points for 10 seconds before releasing, then repeat it for five to 10 times.
The back of your neck hosts the two pressure points of the "Gate of Consciousness." They are at the bottom of your skull, within the depression between the muscles there. Put steady pressure on both sides of the neck for 10 to 15 seconds. Do this until the muscles relax. Deprived of the tension caused by the neck muscles, the headache will disappear soon enough. (Related: A home guide to the best acupressure points for relieving cardiac problems.)
Another way to alleviate headaches from stiff or tense neck muscles is to trigger the "Wind Mansion" acupressure point. Put a hand on the back of the head and place the thumb on the hollow beneath the bottom of the skull, between the positions of the Gate of Consciousness. Then push the thumb down on the Wind Mansion point for a full minute.
The "Shoulder Well" pressure point also improves tension headaches by relieving tense muscles of the shoulders and neck. It is on the top of the shoulder, the middle spot between the joint and the base of the neck. Knead small circles around the Shoulder Well with the thumb for one minute before repeating the treatment for its counterpart on the opposite shoulder.
The hand has an acupressure point called the "Union Valley" that can alleviate tension in the neck, shoulders, and other parts of the body. It is on the swath of skin between the thumb and index finger.
First, use the opposite hand to compress the webbing for 10 seconds. Next, apply circular massages over the Union Valley in one direction for 10 seconds. Then, reverse the course of the kneading motion and continue for another 10 seconds. Repeat the entire procedure for the other hand.
The last pair of pressure points is the aptly named "Facial Beauty." Situated at the bottom of the cheekbones along the nostrils, they relieve pain and pressure in the sinus. They also improve tension headaches by getting the jaw to relax. Press the index fingers into both points for a full minute.
The next time a headache or migraine strikes, resist the temptation to grab the nearest muscle relaxant or painkiller. Instead, practice stimulating the seven acupressure points to achieve long-lasting pain relief the natural way.