5 Effective Headache Pressure Points: Complete Guide 2024

By Vanessa Richards

January 10, 2024   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

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Do you suffer from headache pain? If so, you’re not alone. According to the National Headache Foundation, nearly 45 million Americans experience tension-type headaches, and about 28 million people suffer from migraine headaches.

While over-the-counter medications can sometimes help, they can also have unpleasant side effects. The cause of headaches is not always clear, there are some things that you can do to help relieve the pressure and tension that often accompanies a headache

One popular way to do this is by using pressure points for headaches. Some people find relief by using pressure points on their heads and neck.

Here is a look at some of the most effective headache pressure points for relieving headache and some tips for doing it the effective way.

What Are Headache Pressure Points?

Headache pressure points
Photo: Pexels

Pressure points are areas of the body where blood vessels, nerves, and muscles come together. When pressure is applied to these points with the index finger, it can have several different effects on the body.

For example, pressure on specific points can help to relieve pain or tension. In some cases, pressure points can also be used to control bleeding. By applying pressure to specific points, it is possible to slow down or even stop blood flow.

Pressure points can be found all over the body, and they vary in their effect depending on their location. While some pressure points are beneficial, others can be dangerous if not used correctly.

As a result, it is essential to know the location and function of pressure points before attempting to use them.

How Do Pressure Points Work?

Pressure points are an alternative therapy used for centuries in Eastern medicine. The idea behind pressure point therapy is that there are certain areas on the body that, when stimulated, can help to relieve pain or promote healing.

In addition, pressure points are relatively safe and easy to perform, making them an attractive option for those looking for a non-invasive way to address pain. There are a variety of different pressure points that can be used to target different areas of the body.

For example, the LI-4 pressure point, located between the thumb and index finger, is often used to help relieve headaches.

Similarly, the GB-20 pressure point, located at the skull’s base, is often used to help relieve neck pain. While pressure points are not a cure-all for pain, they may be able to offer some relief.

The Science Behind Pressure Points and Headaches

There is limited scientific research into the effectiveness of reflexology for treating headaches, and most studies are small in scale and require further exploration. However, there have been a few studies looking at the impact of massage on the head and shoulders when it comes to relieving headaches. This often involves stimulating pressure points located on the head.

In 2002, a small study was conducted to evaluate the effects of massage on 4 adults having chronic tension headaches (defined as experiencing tension headaches two to three times every week for six months).

Results showed that the number of headaches experienced by each participant decreased during the treatment period, and the average length of a headache also halved.

A slightly larger study from 1990 investigated how 10 intense one-hour massage sessions over two weeks might affect 21 women with chronic headaches. Certified massage practitioners provided the massages, and it was observed that these treatments led to a decreased occurrence, duration, and intensity of migraines.

Studies have also looked into stimulating pressure points for relief from migraine attacks.

How Does Massage Therapy Help With Headaches?

Massage therapy is a popular treatment for headaches, as it can provide both immediate and long-term relief. For people who suffer from tension headaches, massage can help to loosen knots in the muscles and relieve pain.

For those who suffer from migraines, massage can help to reduce inflammation and promote relaxation. Massage therapy can also help to reduce stress levels, which can trigger headaches.

In addition, regular massage therapy can help to prevent future headaches by keeping the muscles and connective tissues healthy. As a result, massage therapy can be an effective way to manage both occasional and chronic headaches.

5 Headache Pressure Points To Relieve Headaches

Many pressure points are located throughout the head and neck muscles, and some can be used to help relieve headaches. Headaches can be treated through Traditional Chinese medicine.

1. Drilling bamboo

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To use UB2 (Drilling bamboo) pressure points for relieving headaches, place your index fingers on the indentations at either side of the bridge of your nose, where it meets the ridge of your eyebrows.

Apply firm pressure to the points simultaneously and hold for about 10 seconds. Release and repeat as necessary. This technique can relieve headaches caused by eyestrain, sinus pain, or pressure.

2. Third eye pressure point

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The third eye pressure point is located between your eyebrows, where the bridge of your nose meets your forehead. To benefit from this point, use the index finger of one hand to apply firm and steady physical pressure for 1 minute

It is thought to alleviate eyestrain and sinus pressure that often leads to headaches.

3. Union Valley Pressure Point — Large Intestine 4 (LI4)

headache pressure points (1)

The LI4 point, commonly referred to as the Union Valley point is located between your thumb and index finger and is one of the headache relief pressure points.

For headache relief, start firmly but not painfully pinching this area with your opposite hand’s thumb and index finger for 10 seconds.

Afterward, make small circles in one direction and then the other for another 10 seconds. Repeat this process on the opposite hand. This type of pressure point treatment is thought to decrease tension in both the head and vertical neck muscles and relieve headaches.

4. Gates of Consciousness Pressure Points

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The gates of consciousness (GB20) pressure point can also be used to relieve anxiety, stress, and fatigue. To use them:

Place your index and middle fingers of either hand at the base of the skull between the two vertical neck muscles onto these pressure points.

Apply firm pressure at both sides of the points for 10 seconds, then release and repeat.

Doing this exercise several times can help reduce anxiety, stress, and fatigue. For optimal results, it is recommended to perform this technique regularly.

5. Shoulder well Pressure Point

headache pressure points (1)
Photo: Canva

The shoulder well (GB 21) is present at the edge of your shoulder, which is the midpoint between your shoulder and the base of your neck.

To use this pressure point: press firmly with the thumb of one hand in a circular motion for 1 minute. Then switch to the other side and repeat.

Applying firm pressure to this pressure point can help reduce stiffness, provide relief from neck pain, and reduce headaches caused by this kind of feeling.

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Reflexology is a non-invasive and drug-free way to treat headaches, making it a safe option for those who wish to incorporate it into their headache-management plan.

Some pressure points are more effective for headaches than others. Experiment with different locations until you find the headache pressure point that works best for you.

Remember to apply gentle pressure, massage in a circular motion, and breathe deeply while you massage your pressure point. With regular use, you may find relief from tension headaches and other types of pain.

>>Related Article: How To Get Rid of A Migraine Quickly: Complete Guide 2024

Headache Pressure Points FAQs

What pressure point relieves a headache?

One of the most effective is located in the webbing between the thumb and first finger. Applying pressure to this point is said to help relieve tension headaches by promoting relaxation.

Another pressure point often used to treat headaches is located on the back of the neck, just below the base of the skull. This point is thought to help relieve pain by stimulating circulation and relieving muscle tension.

Do pressure points for headaches work?

According to traditional Chinese medicine, over 400 pressure points on the human body can be used to treat various ailments.

Some studies have shown that pressure point massage can effectively reduce headaches, while others have found no significant difference between pressure point therapy and other types of massage. The different results may be due to individual differences in response to pressure point stimulation.

Where is the pressure point for migraine?

The migraine pressure points are located at the skull’s base. This pressure point is known as the Greater Occipital Nerve (GON). There are several ways to massage this pressure point for Migraine relief.

One option is to use your fingertips to apply pressure to the base of your skull for two minutes. Another option is to use a tennis ball to massage the pressure point. Simply place the ball at the base of your skull and apply gentle pressure for two minutes.

Vanessa Richards

Vanessa is a mom of 3 lovely children and a software geek. Outside of her career as a health and wellness instructor. She enjoys writing and researching on topics such as finance, software, health and culinary.

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