Acupressure as a complimentary and alternative treatment to migraine headaches: an introduction

Acupressure is an ancient Chinese healing method that uses techniques similar to acupuncture.

Acupressure is sometimes called pressure acupuncture or acupuncture without needles.

Acupressure for migraines has shown to provide relief for some migraine sufferers and is a type of Chinese medicine for migraines.

Based on Chinese medical practices, acupressure (as well as acupuncture) focuses on specific energy channels in the body called meridians. These 12 invisible channels are thought to connect the fingertips, brain and then the rest of the body’s organs. Acupressure applies pressure – using devices, fingers, palms or feet – to these points to balance or unblock the channels.

Acupressure is often used for different forms of nausea and vomiting, such as nausea and vomiting related to chemotherapy, pregnancy, surgery and motion sickness.

Does acupressure help migraine headaches

Those that practice traditional Chinese medicine believe acupressure relieves pain, including migraine symptoms by targeting those specific meridians. Other researchers and doctors believe migraines are relieved because the acupressure improves circulation, relieves stress, reduces tension and possibly releases the body’s natural pain killers called endorphins.

Acupuncture for migraine relief

Acupuncture involves inserting solid, thin, metallic needles into various places on the body. Acupuncture is believed to stimulate the body’s natural painkillers, increase blood flow, stimulate nerves, muscles and tissues. The traditional Asian practice of acupuncture has the goal of balancing the body’s energy, called the body’s life force or qi or chi.

Relieving migraine pain with acupuncture

It is unclear how Acupuncture works to ease pain and symptoms. It is believed that Acupuncture stimulates muscles and releases the body’s natural pain killers called endorphins. Acupuncture may also block the neurotransmitters and therefore block pain messages from being delivered to the brain.

Acupressure points for migraine headaches

Several acupressure points are believed to help relieve migraines. Below are some pressure points some researchers and practitioners have named as acupoints to relieve migraines:

  • Acupoint 01 lies in the crease between the thumb and forefinger when those fingers are pressed together
  • Acupoint 07 an indented point on the wrist that lies in line with the thumb
  • Acupoint 12 is found in the largest crease inside the wrist in line with the thumb
  • Acupoint 26 pressure is applied by pinching the nostril
  • Another point that is believed to relieve headaches is called L14 – this pressure point should not be used by pregnant women because it has been known to induce labor

Possible side effects of acupuncture

Some wristbands or other devices used to apply pressure may bruise the skin

Who should not receive Acupressure treatment for migraines

If you are pregnant, particularly more than three months, you should avoid Acupressure treatment. Certain pressure points have been known to induce premature labor.

If you have a heart condition, you should not receive Acupressure treatment for migraines.

Do not apply pressure to acupressure points if they are located in areas of the skin where there are:

  • Bruises
  • Cuts
  • Abrasions
  • Breaks in the skin
  • Moles
  • Warts
  • Varicose veins

As always, the best source for advice on treating your migraines is your own migraine specialist. These descriptions of natural remedies are provided only for informational purposes. You should begin no medication or supplement without first checking with your physician. Again, this information should in no way substitute or be mistaken for medical advice.