Basic acupressure points for headache relief, in the absence of regular acupuncture

(Accompanying video lives here!)

There are different types of headaches. In the acupuncture world, we choose different points depending on:

1) where the headache is located and,
2) what kind of pain is experienced: throbbing, stabbing, tightness, pressure, etc.


In this post, we are going to talk about two points that can be used separately or in combination for headaches and other pain.

The first point is Large Intestine 4 (LI 4). This point is located on the web of your hand between your thumb and index finger.

This is one of the most commonly used points in acupuncture because it’s good for so many things, headaches being at the top of the list. The Large Intestine channel starts on the index finger, runs up the arm, and ends on the face, right next to the nose. LI 4 is the most important point for any kind of pain or disorder of the face. This makes it a go to for frontal headaches (think forehead), sinus headaches, swelling and pain in the face and eyes, and sinus congestion. It’s also great for toothaches, nose bleeding, and jaw tension.

LI 4 is also one of the best general points for pain. If you are in any kind of pain at all and you don’t know where to get started with acupressure, just remember LI 4 in the web of your hand. Just just pressing and rubbing this one point 10-30 times can go a long way.

Our second point is Liver 3, located on the web of your foot between the big toe and the second toe. The Liver channel starts on the inside of the big toe, runs up the inner leg, through the torso and rib cage. Divergent branches of the Liver channel run up the chest, neck and face to the very top of the head. Treating points on the Liver channel, especially LV 3 is an excellent way to relieve a frontal headache or a headache on the very top of the head. LV3 is also a good point to stimulate for dizziness, blurred or cloudy vision, or redness and irritation of the eyes.

The combination of LI4 and LIV 3 are referred to as the “Four Gates” when used together as a point combination. That is how important these two points are -- when they get together they get their own band name, like Simon and Garfunkel, or better yet, Wham!
These points are excellent for getting your energy moving like George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley. If you are having a headache or any pain anywhere, or if you just feel a little depressed or irritable, try massaging these points. You’ll do the jitterbug.

 - MAS acupuncturist Elizabeth Ropp

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Posted in Acupuncture Blog


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