Migraine is a neurological chronic health condition that can cause moderate to extremely severe headaches as well as other symptoms. And although recurring headaches are a common symptom of migraine, they are not the only ones. Migraine episodes can also include symptoms such as:
- blurry vision
- sensitivity to light
- sensitivity to sound
Most of the conventional treatment for migraine involves changes in lifestyle to steer clear of triggers, usage of pain-relieving medications, and some preventive treatments such as antidepressants or antiseizure drugs.
What Is Acupressure Therapy?
Acupressure is an alternative form of therapy that uses manual pressure to stimulate specific pressure points on the body which are considered to be lines of energy. The overall goal of acupressure is to diminish pain and promote healing in the body.
Acupressure is derived from the same principles as the ones of acupuncture. Both of the methods are based upon ancient Chinese medicinal procedures, and both involve triggering sensory nerves underneath the skin by putting pressure on specific places to release endorphins to provide relief from pain. These points are called acupoints. Pressing these points can help release muscle tension and promote blood circulation.
If you’re using manual pressure to release endorphins, it’s acupressure and if you’re using thin needles to stimulate the pressure points then it’s acupuncture.
For people suffering from migraine, stimulating the pressure points on the body may provide the relief they’ve been looking for.
Read onwards to learn about these common pressure points used for migraine relief.
Pressure Points For Migraine Relief
Pressure points on the ears, hands, and feet, as well as other places such as the face and neck, are utilised to provide relief from chronic migraine discomfort.
Auricular Acupuncture or Auriculotherapy is the kind of acupuncture and acupressure that focuses on points on the ear.
A 2018 research review found that auriculotherapy may help with chronic pain. Another study also concluded in the same year suggested that auricular acupuncture might improve migraine symptoms in children. However, both reviews stated that more research is needed.
Migraine Pressure Points On The Ear
Ear pressure points include:
- Ear gate: Also known as SJ21 or Ermen, is located on top of your ear where your ear joins the temple. It may be constructive for relief of jaw and facial pain.
- Daith: This point is located at the cartilage just above the opening to your ear canal.
A woman got headache alleviation through a Daith piercing, which is similar to acupuncture, according to a case report from 2020.. But there is insufficient evidence to support this practice.
- Ear apex: This point is also called HN6 or Erjian, and is found at the very tip of your ear. It may help reduce swelling and pain.
Migraine Pressure Points On Hand
Union Valley, also called pressure point LI4 or Hegu, is located between the base of your thumb and index finger on each hand. By pressing on this point, you might stimulate the nerves and reduce pain and headaches.
Migraine Pressure Points On Foot
Acupoints in your feet include:
- Great surge: Also known as LV3 or Tai Chong, this point is located between the big toe and the second toe, in the valley around 1-2 inches back from the toes. It may help decrease insomnia, stress and anxiety.
- Above tears: This is also called GB41 or Zulinqi, and is located between and slightly back from the fourth and fifth toes. A 2017 study suggested that acupuncture at GB41 and other points was better for reducing migraine episodes than Botox injections or medication.
- Moving point: This may be called LV2 or Xingjian. You can find it in the gap between your big and second toes. It may decrease pain in your jaw and face.
Other Migraine Pressure Points
There are some additional pressure points present on your face, neck, and shoulders that may help relieve headaches and other pain. They include:
- Third eye: This is known as GV24.5 or Yin Tang and is located in the centre of your forehead, just above your brows. In a small group of U.S. military troops, acupuncture on sites like GV24.5 boosted energy and stress, according to a 2019 study.
- Drilling bamboo: Sometimes known as bamboo gathering, BL2, or Zanzhu, these are the two indented spots where your nose reaches your eyebrows. A study published in 2020 indicated that acupuncture on BL2 and other locations was just as effective as drugs in reducing migraine attacks.
- Gates of consciousness: This is also called GB20 or Feng Chi. It’s located at the two side-by-side hollow areas where your neck muscles meet the base of your skull. This point may help with fatigue and migraine episodes.
- Shoulder well: Also known as GB21 or Jian Jing, it sits at the top of each shoulder, halfway to the base of your neck. This pressure point may reduce pain, headaches, and neck stiffness.
You can do acupressure easily by yourself at home by using your fingers to apply pressure to different acupoints.
Does Acupressure Work For Treating Migraines?
There is evidence present that suggests acupressure or acupuncture therapies can help with relieving some of the symptoms of migraine.
A 2017 study concludes that acupuncture therapy may provide better relief of chronic migraine symptoms compared to Botox injections and medication. In this study, it was also stated that acupuncture therapy was also linked with fewer side effects.
Another study from the same year (2017) found similar results. Researchers observe that combining acupuncture with sodium valproate helped to reduce nausea in people living with migraine.
A study (2019) down the line investigated whether self-administered acupressure can improve sleep quality and fatigue among people living with migraine.
The researchers split up the participants into two groups:
One group applied pressure to commonly-known pressure points, while the other applied pressure to “fake” pressure points. Neither group showed any improvement in sleep quality, but both groups showed reduced levels of fatigue. However, the reduction in fatigue was more pronounced for the group who had applied acupressure to the well-known acupoints.
A scientific review (2019) found proof agreeing with the suggestion that acupuncture is far safer and more effective than using medication to prevent migraine. However, the authors have noted that more high-quality research with a bigger sample involving a wider range of people is necessary to corroborate this conclusion.