One of the most common complaints that I see in my Acupuncture practice is chronic head or migraine. Although acupuncture is (in my opinion) the best treatment for headaches, acupressure also has a great effect and can be done at home. The pattern difference for these types of headings may involve any number of organ systems but almost always the Gallbladder meridian is affected.

The Gallbladder meridian begins near the outer edge of the eye traveling upward toward the back of the head. As it travels down through the occipital region it finds its way through the top of the shoulders at the peak of the trapezius muscles. This is the area midway between the base of the neck and the top part of the shoulder joint and is usually tight in people with chronic heads (and it tends to get even tighter when stressed). From the shoulder the Gallbladder channel then travels down the side of the body, through the gluteal region, the lateral aspect of both legs, and ends at the fourth toe.

In Chinese Medicine the Liver and Gallbladder play important roles in headache and migraine. These are “paired” organs and problems in one may affect problems in another. Because of this, treating one also treats the other. The Liver channel also affects the top of the head and can be the cause of pain behind the eyes as well. Because (together) these two channels affect the front, sides, and back of the head they can be very effective in treating headache and migraine.

There is a very simple acupressure technique that can be used to reduce or eliminate a headache that you can have a partner do for you at home:

1. Begin by sitting on a chair with no back or a very low profiled back. You may also sit on a coffee table or on the floor.

2. Have your partner stand behind you (about 2-3 inches from touching their chest to your back).

3. Your partner will place their thumbs on the highest point of the trapezius muscle (again, this will be roughly midway between the base of the neck and the shoulder joint).

4. Once their thumbs are in place, have your partner push straight towards the floor with a moderate amount of pressure. It is very important to communicate back and forth. Tell your partner if there is too much or not enough pressure. You will know your limit. It should not hurt but your should definitely feel some pressure on the muscle.

5. Continue holding steady pressure on the muscle for 2-4 minutes.

6. Release and repeat as needed.

This technique should help reduce a headache or migraine. Please use caution and be sure to communicate clearly with you partner to avoid injury. If you increase pain in any way discontinue and explore other options. As always … Wellbeing Belongs to You!