10 Acupressure Points for Relieving Your Sore Body

For many people all over the world, migraine headaches are an unfortunate fact of life. Sufferers who experience frequent migraines often feel at a loss of… Elizabeth Lilian - September 21, 2017

For many people all over the world, migraine headaches are an unfortunate fact of life. Sufferers who experience frequent migraines often feel at a loss of how to treat them, because many medications and over-the-counter painkillers can be quite harsh. Given that migraines can be triggered by a whole range of things such as allergies, bright lights, stress, overtiredness, jet lag, smoking, dehydration, alcohol and hormonal changes, it can be hard to know how to treat them.

There are many different avenues of preventive medications when dealing with migraines, such as beta-blockers, herbs, vitamins, exercise, antidepressants and even Botox, but one particularly effective and non-invasive treatment is acupuncture/acupressure. Acupuncture makes use of hair-thin needles, while acupressure uses firm pressure by way of the hand and/or fingers. While these two styles are different in delivery they act much the same way: by triggering the stimulation of the body’s innate healing ability.

Acupuncture/acupressure is an ancient therapy that was discovered by the Chinese going as far back as 5,000 years. They realized that pressing certain points of the body (known as acupoints or meridian points) encouraged pain relief and other benefits like the release of tension, promotion of blood circulation and encouraging an overall feeling of wellness. Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) believe that if these meridian points are blocked, it can result in a wealth of physical, mental and emotional issues.

So if you suffer from frequent migraines or headaches, here are the 10 best acupressure points for pain relief.

1. Joining Valley (L 14 or He Gu)

The first acupressure point is called Joining Valley, otherwise known as L 14 or He Gu. It’s considered to be the most important pain relief point for the whole body, and is the most commonly used in clinical acupressure practice. It’s also believed to regulate sweating and promote labor – and as such, pregnant women should avoid this acupoint entirely.

The Joining Valley pressure point is found on the hand webbing between the thumb and the index finger. To find this point, simply take your right hand and press your thumb up against your index finger. Joining your thumb to your index finger like this should create a slight mound at the base of your thumb – which is how the name ‘Joining Valley’ came to be. Another name for this acupressure point is Tiger’s Mouth, as it can also create the impression of a tiger’s lower jaw when the space between the thumb and index finger is opened and closed.

To utilize this acupressure point for pain relief, begin by first finding your Joining Valley. Press your thumb up against your index finger. Notice how it creates a long crease (the ‘Valley’) between those two digits? The tip of that crease is where you’ll find this acupressure point. Once you’ve found it, take the index finger and thumb of your opposite hand and begin applying deep, firm pressure. Hold for at least 10 seconds, remembering to breathe slowly and deeply, before releasing. Do the same thing with your other hand and repeat until your pain begins to dissipate.

This acupressure point can be particularly sensitive, so if it feels especially tender, apply as much pressure as you’re comfortable with. It doesn’t need to hurt in order to be effective. It can be performed on yourself or someone else, and you can do it as often as necessary. Again, please note that pregnant women should avoid stimulating this acupoint, as it can cause premature uterine contractions.

2. Third Eye Point (GV 24.5 or Yin Tang)

The Third Eye Point (also known as GV 24.5 or Yin Tang) is an effective acupressure point that is believed to relieve pain, as well as mental stress, upset stomach, congestion and headaches. Stimulating this acupressure point is thought to help manage depression, chronic fatigue and mood swings. It also increases creativity, reduces the likelihood of procrastination and sharpens your intuition.

Your Third Eye Point can be found between the eyebrows, just above the bridge of the nose. It’s often featured within the yogic philosophy and is a common treatment of migraine headaches. To use this point for pain relief, simply massage the Third Eye using your thumbs or index fingers. Apply pressure, experimenting with different levels of intensity until you find one that feels good, then hold until you begin to feel relief from whatever ails you.

Meditating on your Third Eye Point is another effective way to relieve pain from headaches. To do so, begin by sitting comfortably and pressing your palms gently together, holding them in front of your nose. Relax your head down as you bring your elbows up, allowing the index fingers and middle fingers to gently touch your Third Eye. Breathe deeply as you keep your fingertips pressed against this acupressure point. Sit still and relaxed, calmly breathing in and out, for at least five minutes.

This practice, as well as performing acupressure massage, is a great way to relieve migraines, as well as any other pain, mental stress or hormonal imbalances while enhancing your intuition and putting yourself back in touch with your spirituality.

3. Drilling Bamboo (B2 or Bright Light)

Drilling Bamboo/Bamboo Gathering, (also known as B2 or Bright Light) are the acupressure points located on either side of the bridge of the nose, in the indentations of the eye sockets. Aside from headaches and migraine relief, applying pressure to these points is also believed to provide relief from colds, allergies and sinus congestion.

Drilling Bamboo is thought to be such an effective remedy it’s often used outside Traditional Chinese Medicine too. Anyone who has received a facial massage at a beauty spa might recall their masseuse gently massaging these points to induce feelings of relaxation.

This particular meridian point relates mainly to the forefront of the head, and as such is better used for headaches felt towards the front of the skull. Aside from headaches, Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners believe there are many symptoms that stem from a blocked B2 acupoint, such as blurry vision, conjunctivitis, painful or itching eyes and dizziness.

To try Drilling Bamboo, use the tips of your index fingers to apply pressure on these points for at least one minute. Separate stimulation of these acupressure points is fine, so if your migraine headache is felt more predominantly on one side than the other, try applying steady pressure to that side first.

4. Bigger Rushing (LV 3 or Great Surge)

The Bigger Rushing acupoint, also called LV 3 or Great Surge, is found on the top of the foot in the dip where the big toe meets the second toe. In TCM it relates directly to the liver, the uterus and the head meridians and as such, it’s often used to treat abdominal distention, nausea, constipation, irregular menstruation, blurry vision and, of course, headaches.

Symptoms of a blocked LV 3 acupoint are regarded by practitioners to be feelings of irritability, anger, insomnia, cramps, backaches, dizziness, swelling, redness, jaundice and urinary problems.

Applying pressure to this meridian point is also believed to encourage clarity and focus while relieving someone of poor concentration and feelings of fatigue. As such, it’s often suggested in modern reflexology to those who have difficulty concentrating, lack focus, are having trouble making big life decisions or students who are preparing for exams.

To stimulate your Bigger Rushing, sit down in a comfortable position and rest your right foot on top of your left thigh, then simply apply gentle pressure to the acupoint for at least two minutes. Repeat this action with the left foot three times each day for the best results, or whenever you’re experiencing migraines.

5. Above Tears (GB 41 or Zu Lin Qi)

The Above Tears (also called GB 41 or Zu Lin Qi) acupoint is found on top of the foot, roughly one inch above the webbing between the fourth and fifth toes. In TCM, the Above Tears acupoint acts to clear out the Gall Bladder channel, a Qi pathway that starts at the outer corner of the eyes and travels through the head, neck, shoulders, ribs and hips, continuing down the side of the legs and ending in the feet.

This point is believed to promote flexibility of the mind and body, as well as a smooth pathway through life. It’s also used by practitioners to stimulate the spreading of Liver Qi, which is thought to provide clearer perspective, support any new decisions and assist in making better judgments.

The Above Tears acupoint is believed to relate to issues of the breasts, hips and knees, as well as the gallbladder and liver. Indications that the Above Tears acupoint is unwell are things like frequent headaches, pain and/or tightness in the chest, soreness of the eyes, cystitis and pain or nodules in the breasts. Applying acupressure to the Above Tears point is also beneficial for sciatica and tight, aching shoulders, as well as headache and migraine relief.

To utilize this point for headaches or any of the above issues, stimulate it by applying firm yet gentle pressure with your thumb for at least one minute, then do the other foot. Remember to breathe deeply for better results!

6. Wind Mansion (GV16 or Feng Fu)

The Wind Mansion acupoint (also referred to as GV 16 or Feng Fu) is found at the top of the neck, right in the middle where the nape of your hairline is. If you place your fingers in this location and gently press down, you will likely feel a large depression within the skull. This is your Wind Mansion, and it’s an effective acupressure point for everything from headaches/migraines and neck stiffness to mental upset and excess sweating.

In TCM, this area of the body is highly prone to conditions known as wind invasion or wind stroke, hence the name ‘Wind Mansion’. Believed to be similar to heatstroke or overexposure to cold, these conditions occur in those who might be more sensitive to prolonged exposure to heavy, damaging winds that are thought to enter the body and cause an imbalance.

TCM practitioners believe that in order to restore balance, the Wind Mansion acupoint must be stimulated which encourages the wind to exit the body in the same place it entered. Whether you believe you’re suffering from wind conditions or you’ve just got a particularly bad headache, this acupoint is highly effective in relieving pain and discomfort.

There are various ways to apply pressure to your Wind Mansion. You should be able to find this point by running your fingers down the back of your head until you feel a large bump – your Wind Mansion will be directly below this. Once you’ve found it, place the fleshy part of your middle fingertip into the depression at the back of your skull and apply pressure for at least three minutes, longer if you desire. Another effective way to stimulate this acupoint is to lie down on your back and place a tennis ball in the spot where you put your finger. This allows for steadier pressure and enables even more pain relief and relaxation.

7. Facial Beauty (ST 3 or Stomach)

The Facial Beauty point (also called ST 3 or Stomach) is one of the Master acupressure points. It’s thought to relieve sinus and nasal congestion, toothaches and swelling around the eyes. This acupoint is also used in what’s known as an ‘acupressure facelift’, which is the practice of using acupoints to tighten, uplift and rejuvenate the face. Stimulating it is believed to help relieve nasal congestion, sinusitis, toothache and irritation around the eyes.

This point is commonly used to encourage healthy, glowing skin while treating any issues such as acne, uneven complexion, and blemishes. It can also help reduce any swelling and tone the facial muscles.

The Facial Beauty point can be found on both sides of the face by following a straight line from your pupil down directly under your cheekbone, opposite the corner of the mouth. Applying pressure to this acupoint can also increase the circulation of blood flow to the face. In TCM, the Facial Beauty point is believed to be a gateway for Qi (life force), and stimulating these points allows this energy to flow more freely, creating a sense of calmness and clarity.

The stimulation of blood flow to the face is the reason this acupoint is also effective in providing pain relief from headaches and migraines. The best way to apply pressure to this acupoint is to sit comfortably at a table and rest your elbows on top with the tips of your middle fingers positioned against both acupoints. Then just rest your face against your fingers, inhaling and exhaling deeply for at least two minutes.

8. Shoulder Well (GB 21 or Jian Jing)

The Shoulder Well acupoint (GB 21 or Jian Jing) is used to treat headaches and migraines, as well as neck stiffness, jet lag, muscle spasms, asthma and shoulder pain. It’s also thought to calm the nerves and settle any feelings of irritability.

In TCM, the Shoulder Well is often used to strongly influence and soothe a person’s Qi, treat the buildup of phlegm around the head/neck, as well as any issues involving the breasts, like mastitis or abscesses.

The Shoulder Well acupoint is part of the Gall Bladder meridian, and TCM practitioners believe this acupoint to be imbalanced if there are physical symptoms such as pain in the neck, shoulders and back, lactation problems in nursing mothers and/or swollen glands. Pregnant mothers should avoid stimulating this point entirely though, as it is believed to induce labor.

This acupoint is found near the tops of both shoulders, halfway between the base of the neck and the outer shoulders and around 1-2 inches down from the side of the neck. To stimulate this point, use your thumb or fingers to apply gentle, firm pressure downwards for 4-5 seconds, then release for a few seconds before repeating again.

9. Heavenly Pillar (B 10 or Tianzhu)

The Heavenly Pillar (also called B 10 or Tianzhu) is an effective acupoint in the treatment of various neck problems, as it targets the head and lower spine areas of the body. It’s also commonly used in Chiropractic work to relieve emotional distress, emotional/mental fatigue and depression. TCM practitioners often use these points to relieve skin issues like acne, and it’s considered to be another of the best facial acupressure points.

The Heavenly Pillars can be found on the back of the neck, one on either side of the top of the spine, just below the hairline. Applying pressure to these points can assist you in feelings of mental confusion, headaches, poor concentration, memory loss, manic behavior, blurred vision and sore, watery eyes.

Heavenly Pillars are also considered by TCM practitioners to be the Windows of the Sky, and as such, they use them to bring harmony between the upper body and the lower body. It’s a deeply revered acupoint that is used to relieve any psycho-emotional issues their subjects may be holding onto.

To make use of these acupoints for any of the above issues, press down firmly on each point simultaneously for up to three minutes. If you suffer from headaches and migraines, this is a great acupressure point to utilize.

10. Gates of Consciousness (GB 20 or Feng Chi)

The Gates of Consciousness (also called GB 20 or Feng Chi) is believed to regulate the circulation of the brain and as such, as also referred to as the Gates of the Mind and the Gates of Consciousness. Administering acupressure here can relieve headaches, vision problems, insomnia, cold and flu symptoms, tiredness, irritability, nervousness and mental stress. If these points are blocked, you may feel more uptight than usual, like you’re having difficulty coping with stress.

The Gates of Consciousness is located on the back of the head, underneath the base of the skull in the depressions between the two large neck muscles. These points are used in TCM to stimulate the release of endorphins – the body’s natural pain relievers.

The easiest way to find and stimulate these acupoints is to clasp your hands together, interlocking your fingers and then opening them up with your palms facing towards you. Then loop your hands around the back of your head, keeping your fingers linked together, resting your palms against the back of your skull. Your arms should be just above your ears. Once you’ve located your Gates of Consciousness, begin applying firm, slow pressure with your thumbs for 2-3 minutes.

Suffering from headaches and migraines can be tough, and finding a solution that works for you can be even tougher. Though some skeptics will refute the idea of acupressure and/or acupuncture, the only way to find out whether it works or not is to try it for yourself. All you need are your hands and fingers. So, what are you waiting for? Try it today!