Delivering Innovation

One of the most common complaints I see in my acupuncture practice is a chronic headache 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. Pattern differentiation for these types of headaches can involve any number of organ systems, but the gallbladder meridian is almost always affected.

The gallbladder meridian begins near the outer edge of the eye and travels upward toward the back of the head. As it travels down through the occipital region, it finds its way through the tops of the shoulders at the top of the trapezius muscles. This is the area midway between the base of the neck and the top of the shoulder joint and is often tight in people with chronic headaches (and tends to be even tighter when stressed). From the shoulder, the gallbladder canal runs 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 an important role in headache and migraine. These are “paired” organs and problems in one can affect problems in another. Therefore, treating one also treats the other. The liver channel also affects the top of the head and can also be the cause of pain behind the eyes. Because (together) these two channels affect the front, sides, and back of the head, they can be very effective in treating headaches and migraines.

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. Start by sitting in a chair with no back or a very low-profile back. You can also sit on a coffee table or on the floor.

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

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

4. Once your thumbs are in place, have your partner push directly into 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 too little pressure. You will know your limit. It shouldn’t hurt, but you should definitely feel some pressure on the muscle.

5. Continue to maintain constant pressure on the muscle for 2 to 4 minutes.

6. Release and repeat as needed.

This technique should help reduce your headache or migraine. Be careful and make sure you communicate clearly with your partner to avoid injury. If it increases the pain in any way, stop and explore other options. As always… Wellness Belongs to You!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *