Acupressure For Headaches and Migraine
Last night I had a headache. Actually, it was a migraine. I used to live at the mercy of migraines since I was a kid. However, thanks to acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), those little buggers were a thing of the past for 15 years.
Enter perimenopause stage left.
Yippie, the rules have changed. Again.
O, the joys of being a woman. It starts in middle school and keeps you guessing, raging, and reeling for years.
Good times, y'all.
Puberty ushered in some of the worst headaches I ever had. My parents tried everything to help me. I did eye exercises and got glasses that didn't help. As an adult, I saw a string of doctors. Some offered birth control, which I didn't need or want. Other doctors offered me a slew of medications with side effects scarier than chronic migraines! I even had multiple x-rays and CT scans. Nothing helped until I discovered Chinese Medicine.
I enjoyed 15 glorious years with only the occasional migraine (compared to my earlier years) thanks to the wonders of Chinese Medicine...until my hormones decided to stage a coup.
After Chinese Medicine, and before perimenopause, I rarely took medication.
I didn't wake up with my head pounding.
I didn't worry about canceling plans due to a migraine.
I wasn't triggered by smoke or those lovely folks who bathe in perfume or cologne.
I didn't have to avoid the light like a freaking vampire.
I didn't have Dr. Google experts telling me to "Just cut out chocolate and wine." so I'd be "fixed" in a snap.
Now everything is different.
So the rules changed. I love a good fight. After all, I am Irish.
My new hormone fun factory rendered my "old reliables" powerless, so I loaded up with e new weaponry. I changed the battle plan. Have you ever felt like you need to read The Art of War to deal with your uterus?
Yep, I feel you, girl.
My heart goes out to headache and migraine sufferers as I am among your ranks. I am passionate about sharing tools and techniques, like acupressure, to help anyone I can. I also LOVE, LOVE, LOVE AcuPatching™ with LifeWave® patches for headaches and migraines because I used to go to the ER for my migraines until I discovered these DIY lovelies.
(More on this in a hot sec.)
In my clinical (and personal) experience, stress is often at least partially responsible for pain. In TCM, pain comes from what we call qi (pronounced chee) and blood stagnation. When I get stressed, I tighten up, especially my shoulders. Can you relate? I mean life is soooo relaxing, right?
Tension, however, can happen everywhere. When we tighten our bodies, especially our neck, shoulders, and jaw, we reduce the flow of qi and blood. Often headaches and migraines, among other issues, are the result.
At the risk of oversimplifying the concept of qi, I often describe it as electricity and plumbing. Electricity = the nervous system. You want the electricity on, without sparking or going out. Malfunctions include being stuck in a constant fight or flight cycle courtesy of the sympathetic component of the autonomic nervous system (hello, stress), acute pain, recurring pain, numbness, and neuropathy. Plumbing = blood, lymph, and bodily fluids or solids not moving properly.
Done correctly, acupuncture, acupressure, or the many tools of (or based on the principles of) Chinese Medicine can help the body achieve homeostasis (the body’s ability to maintain internal stability), and help to regulate our body’s metabolism (the chemical processes within our body that maintain life). Qi is responsible for promoting the growth and development of the body, regulating body temperature, immune function, circulation, the transformation and production of all body fluids, and nourishment via the digestive process. Long story short, qi stagnation = bad.
Qi makes possible a multitude of functions. Blood is vital to life. Blood delivers oxygen, nutrients and removes waste products, to say the least. When the body is unable to function as it was designed to, problems pile up like laundry, dirty dishes, and garbage. As you might imagine, like us, the body gets stressed, frustrated, tired, and mad.
Enter headache, stage left.
Hormones are like shaking up a snow globe. Add stress to that and you have the perfect storm.
So what to do? Grab for a bottle of headache pills? Sure. I’ve done it.
But what if there was a natural choice?
OPTION 1: ACUPATCHING™
My latest and greatest "go to" is my LiveWave® patches. You can read ALL THE SCIENCE your little heart desires here:
Are you in pain now? Let's get down to the nitty-gritty. AcuPatching™ is based on the principles of Acupuncture, but instead of needles, the patches use wavelengths of light (unique to each patch) to activate the body's healing mechanisms. LifeWave® patches are extensively researched and have been found safe and effective for people of all ages. They are not recommended for use during pregnancy.
I find the two best patches for headache and migraine are the AEON patch and the ICEWAVE patches (come as a set of two). Learn more or get your own here. These have been a Godsend for me.
Here's why the patches are awesome:
- Safe, wearable nano-technology you can apply to the skin just like a band-aid. (Stick it and forget it.)
- Affordable, non-invasive, non-drug therapy
- No chemicals absorbed into the body
- Registered with the FDA, and cleared with the U.S. and World Anti-Doping Agencies
- Safe and non-transdermal—nothing is absorbed into the body
- Proven efficacy with over 80 research and clinical studies
- The benefits of acupuncture with NO NEEDLES!
- One sleeve has 30 patches. That's 30 treatments! That's way cheaper than 1 trip to the acupuncturist
In the spirit of full disclosure, I am an official LifeWave® affiliate. All patches must be ordered through an official affiliate. Long story short, you get a discount, and I get a small commission. Win. Win.
OPTION 2: ACUPRESSURE
Acupressure is one of the best as it is safe, requires nothing but your finger, and can be done anywhere. Acupressure means “finger pressure.” It’s as simple as that. Acupressure uses acupuncture points. You find the right point for the condition and push. That’s it. Of course, acupuncture is more complex than this. (Otherwise, I wasted four post-graduate years and a lot of money.)
Sadly, you can’t fix everything with a magic button. But for many issues, an acupressure point, or a combination of points, are useful.
LI 4 is marked with a black dot.
The Big Pappa of headache points is called Large Intestine 4 (LI 4) or “Hegu”, which means “joining valley. The point is found in the web between the bones of the thumb and pointer finger. Find the point with the thumb of your free hand and push straight down. If it is tender, you’re on the right spot. Almost everyone is sensitive there. Despite its name and sensitivity, it does not mean anything is wrong with your large intestine. It is simply the name of the channel the point is found on. This point should be pressed on both hands. More on the side of the headache if yours is one-sided, if not, press evenly on both sides. Do it as often as needed and maintain pressure until you begin to feel relief. This is usually a few minutes or less.
Someone even created a little clip that goes on your hand and provides lasting pressure for stubborn headaches. Try it HERE.
LI 4 is known as a “command point” for the face and mouth. As such, this point is also great for sinus pain, toothache, eye swelling, face swelling, nosebleed, sore throat, and TMJ. Please note, this point is NOT ALLOWED DURING PREGNANCY. This is a point we acupuncturists use to induce labor, so it’s a major no-no. It is, however, safe for everyone else, including children. Think teething, child caregivers! Here is a quick video I found just in case you are having trouble locating it.
I have personally used this point with fantastic success more times than I can count. I am not allowed to see my college students as patients while I am their instructor for obvious reasons. That said, I have had a sick or hurting student in class plenty of times who will ask for help. They often say “Please just push on whatever point will make it stop.” This I can do. I have seen a severe toothache disappear so the student was able to stay for the entire four-hour class. I have seen the same with headaches, sinus pain, and even severe emotional stress. This point has an emotional component since it is so powerful at moving qi and blood. Think of qi like rush hour traffic. When it isn’t moving, you’re not too happy. When it is, you’re in a much better mood.
Until someone cuts you off on the highway, but I digress…
I think of LI 4 as one of the “Swiss army knife” points. Lots of functions, easy to carry with you and effective. I hope this little gem of a point will serve you and yours and maybe even make you the new “go to” headache guy or gal in your circle.
Have more questions? No problem! Drop me a line and I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have about my DIY at-home offerings. You can request a complimentary discovery call, or one-on-one a wellness coaching session below.
I can't wait to hear from you!
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Thanks for reading. Until next time,
Please note any serious health concerns should be discussed with your doctor. As always, I am not claiming to cure or heal anything. These posts are for educational purposes only.
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