Gray's Anatomy image of the lateral neck

Acupressure for Migraines

This post is part of an ongoing series on acupressure. If you’re jumping in the middle of this series, please check out our video giving a general introduction to acupressure and how to make these points work for you.

Beyond acupressure, we’ve spoken about migraines & headaches in some detail, including treatment options for headaches, or specific to migraines, as well as some tips for headache prevention. Today we’re going to expand on that to talk about acupressure points that you can use to help when you have a migraine that’s already started.

Migraines are typically (though not exclusively) related to the cardiovascular system. From an East Asian medicine perspective, too much blood is either trapped up in the head & neck, or is trapped down in the body. Appropriate circulation between the head and torso is limited in some way. So, when we give acupressure points we first have to distinguish something. If you have a migraine, press on the part of your head that is hurting. If after a few moments the pain increases, then it means we need to boost circulation out of the head, and we want to use points at the feet & ankles. If the pain decreases, then we need to boost circulation to the head and we need to use points around the skull & neck. Using the wrong set of points typically makes the migraine worse.

Points at the feet
Two good points at the feet are Liver-3 and Gallbladder-38. Click any image below for a larger version.

Liver-3 is located in the space between the two longbones (metatarsals) of the first and second toes. It is commonly tender on nearly everyone. In this space, find a point and direction to press that is achy, and you found it.

Gallbladder-38Gallbladder-38 is along the fibula – the bone on the side of the calf. From the ankle (lateral malleolus), measure up approximately three finger widths and feel for a sore point on the front side of the fibula, toward the shin. As with Liver-3 there may be some variation in point location to find a point that eases the migraine symptoms. Once you find such a point, hold it as you would other acupressure points.

Points at the neck
Image of the lateral neck.The neck is a complicated area and points along this area are easier to identify by muscle than by anatomical location. If you’ve already worked the muscles at the base of the skull, feel along the sternocleidomastoid muscle (click image at right for a larger view) for tender and tight points and hold these as you would other acupressure points. Using these along with neck rolls and stretches can help to work out tightness in the neck and aid circulation into the head.

Uncertain if you have the right points? Are they not responding for you? The best thing you can do is to schedule a consultation and we can help sort out what you need!