If you get migraines, we don’t need to tell you how debilitating they can be. Unfortunately, you can’t just pop an ibuprofen and move on — getting relief usually requires a multi-pronged approach. Pain relievers are one of those prongs, but if you’re looking for more tools, migraine relief pressure points could be worth a shot.
Pressure points are certain points on the body which are thought to be very sensitive. Proponents believe that applying pressure to these points can ease pain and restore balance to different areas of the body. This practice is commonly called acupressure.
Along with Axon Optics migraine glasses and other natural remedies, using migraine relief pressure points could help you feel better without taking extra risk. In the case of migraine glasses, there is substantial scientific evidence of their effectiveness. But it should be noted that not all natural remedies, including pressure points, have much data to back them up. We’ll dig deeper into pressure points now.
Note: Acupressure isn’t the same thing as acupuncture. While acupressure can be done just by using your fingers, acupuncture requires tiny needles placed by a licensed acupuncture specialist with the proper training and equipment. This article pertains to acupressure.
Are Migraine Relief Pressure Points Effective?
Although there isn’t a lot of scientific research supporting using pressure points for migraine relief, there has been some study on massage therapy of the head and shoulders and its relationship to headaches.
In 2002, a small study looked into whether massage could help adults with chronic tension headaches. Four adults were given a massage 2 to 3 times weekly, for a period of 6 months. Everyone who participated reported fewer headaches within the first week. By the end of the 6 months, the average number of headaches each person experienced was reduced from almost 7 to just 2 per week. And the headaches they did get were shortened by half — from 8 hours to 4 hours on average.
Back in 1990, a larger study was conducted on 21 women with chronic headaches. Participants were given 10 intense, one-hour massages over 2 weeks. The results indicated that those massage sessions led to reduced duration, severity, and frequency of headaches.
For migraines specifically, there is some evidence that acupressure, or pressing on migraine relief pressure points may help you feel better. A 2017 study indicated that applying pressure to certain points on the head and wrists could significantly reduce migraine-related nausea when compared to medication alone. However, it was not found effective for pain relief.
In 2019, study found that self-administration of acupressure by people with migraines may lessen fatigue, which is a common migraine symptom.
Using migraine relief pressure points may or may not reduce your pain. But the good news is that you don’t have to ingest anything, or take any crazy risks to try it.
Traditional Chinese medicine urges avoiding some of these pressure points during pregnancy. So if you’re pregnant, it might be a good idea to do some research first. Beyond that, your main risk is pressing too hard, and you’re in control of that.
Where Are Migraine Relief Pressure Points?
There are several acupressure points in the body that may be referred to as migraine relief pressure points. This chart could help you find them. To try them out, apply pressure for several seconds to a few minutes at a time. Here are several that could be worth a try.
Union Valley or Hegu
This is on your hand, on the webbed area between your index finger and thumb. To see if it helps you, pinch it firmly, but not until it hurts.
There are a few different spots to try on or around your ear. Try pinching or applying pressure to see if it provides any relief.
- The ear apex — found on your ear’s upper tip
- The ear gate — between your temple and the top of your ear
- The daith — the little piece of cartilage just above your ear canal (Some believe daith piercing helps prevent migraines, but there is no scientific evidence for this.)
On the feet, there are three different migraine relief pressure points.
- Liver 2 or Moving Point — between your big toe and 2nd toe
- Liver 3 or Great Surge / Tai Chong — 1 to 2 inches from the base of your big toe and 2nd toe
- GB41 or Above Tears — behind toes 4 and 5
Face, Head and Neck
- Urinary Bladder 2 or Drilling Bamboo — near where your eyebrows begin on either side of your nose
- Third Eye or Yin Tang — right between the eyes
- Gallbladder 20 or Feng Chi — at the base of your skull, between the two vertical neck muscles
- Gallbladder 21 or Jian Jing — halfway between the base of your neck and your shoulder joint
How to Use Pressure Points
Using pressure points or acupressure is pretty straightforward. For any spot you can reach, you can try applying pressure yourself. You can also go to someone trained and licensed in acupressure or reflexology.
If you’re using migraine pressure points on yourself, make sure you’re sitting in a comfortable position and feeling relaxed. Use your thumb or finger to apply pressure to the desired pressure point. If the pressure point is in a place like your hand, it may be easier to pinch the point between your thumb and index finger.
While applying the pressure, try making small circular motions. Repeat this as frequently as you like, and see if it helps. But if you feel any discomfort or other undesirable symptoms, simply stop the pressure.
What to Expect With Acupressure
If you visit an acupressure specialist, you’ll probably have an evaluation of your overall health, and then work with the provider to create a treatment plan. If acupressure and migraine relief pressure points are going to make a difference for you, you may feel a difference immediately, or it could take a few sessions.
Whether you practice on yourself or go to an acupressure specialist, you might feel a slight soreness on the pressure points later on. If you tend to bruise easily, you might notice some bruising. You could also feel more relaxed, or more energized following a session.
While migraine pressure points may or may not bring relief, it’s handy to keep in your migraine toolkit. It’s worth a try, but won’t replace more science-backed methods, such as your Axon Optics migraine glasses.