Headaches can seriously interfere with a person’s quality of life, particularly when they occur on a regular basis. Regardless of the type of headache you may be experiencing, there are some excellent acupressure points that can help you to relieve the pain and get back to things you enjoy in life. While the following is by no means a complete list of acupressure points, or acupoints as they’re also called, it includes my top ten points:
GB20—Known as “Gall Bladder 20” or “Wind Pool” because it’s a point on the gall bladder meridian in Chinese medicine. It’s situated in the depression at the back of the head, below the skull where the skull meets the neck, about a half-inch out from the middle of the neck. It’s actually two points: one that is left of center and one that is right of center as you can see from the photo. It’s particularly good for headaches linked to neck stiffness, old whiplash or other neck injuries, or from headaches linked to cold or flu. Firmly hold both points for at least one minute, but preferably longer or repeated until the headache starts to dissipate. GB20 acupoints are depicted as the top two red dots in the following photo.
GB14—Known as “Gall Bladder 14” or “Yang White,” these two points are also found on the gall bladder meridian in Chinese medicine. GB14 is found about one thumb-width (known as a “cun”—pronounced “chun”) above the hairline if you draw a line directly upward from the middle of both eyebrows. Firmly hold or massage both points for at least a minute, but preferably longer. Repeat until your headache starts to dissipate.
LI4—Known as “Large Intestine 4” or “The Great Eliminator” for its reputation in Chinese medicine as an eliminator of many health conditions, these two points are found on the top of the hand in the fleshy mound that connects the thumb and forefinger. It’s one of the most important points in acupressure for many health concerns and is excellent firmly held for 5 to 10 minutes when you’re experiencing a headache. And I’ve also never met a fever that wasn’t reduced with this powerful point. Avoid using this point if you are pregnant. Of course, you should consult a physician for high fevers.
Du 20—(pronounced like “do”) This point is also known as the “Meeting Point of a Hundred Points” because, in Chinese medicine, it supplies energy to most other acupressure points in the body and is frequently involved in many health problems, including headaches. It’s located on the top of the head about half way between the hairline on the forehead and the neck. Alternatively, imagine a line connecting the ears over the top of the head. Du 20 is the mid-point. It’s a good point to start with as it encourages proper energy flow to the other points. Hold or massage this point for at least one minute, but longer if necessary. This point is depicted as the top red dot in the following illustration.
Du23—(pronounced like “do”) This point is also known as “Upper Star” and is situated just above the middle of the forehead, about one thumb-width above the hairline on the forehead. It is helpful for many types of headaches, including those linked to sinus congestion. Firmly press or massage the point for at least one minute. Repeat as necessary until headache dissipates.
UB3—Known as Urinary Bladder 3, this point is located about one-half of a thumb width above the hairline at the inside edge of the eyebrows on both sides. These two points (one on the left side of the forehead and the other on the right side) are good points to use for any type of headache, including sinus headaches and sinus pressure or congestion.
You’ll know if you’ve found the correct points because they will typically feel tender if you suffer from headaches. In Chinese medicine tender points are known as “Ah Shi” points, or as my acupuncture professor used to call them “Ah Shi# points” since they’re sore when you find them. You can use the acupressure points above to prevent future headaches as well as during an episode. Of course, you should consult a physician if you suffer from frequent headaches, if they are debilitating in nature or change in frequency.
Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is a board-certified doctor of natural medicine and doctor of acupuncture, as well as an international best-selling and 18-time published book author whose works include: 60 Seconds to Slim: Balance Your Body Chemistry to Burn Fat Fast!