Headache is a common discomfort that, according to the latest data from the Spanish Society of Neurology (SEN), more than 90% of the population of Spain has suffered from headaches. When it hits, we often resort to the quickest and most common solution: taking an aspirin or some other pain reliever. However, for those who want to avoid over-consumption of medications or simply prefer natural approaches, a more sustainable alternative has emerged: acupressure.
This technique is based on the stimulation of specific points on the body to restore energy balance and relieve discomfort. But what is true about acupressure as a means of headache relief? Can this ancient discipline really compete with the effectiveness of modern painkillers?
What is Acupressure?
Acupressure is a non-invasive traditional Chinese medicine technique that relies on the stimulation of specific points on the body to relieve various health problems, including headaches. These acupressure points are believed to be located along energy channels called meridians, and proper stimulation of these points can restore energy balance in the body and relieve pain, including headaches. Acupressure can be performed independently or with the help of a trained therapist.
Is acupressure effective for headaches?
Regarding the scientific evidence that supports this theory, there are numerous studies that support the power of acupressure to reduce headaches. According to a study published in World Scientific, 1 month of acupressure treatment is more effective in reducing chronic headache than 1 month of treatment with muscle relaxants. This conclusion was drawn from the trial’s own results, which showed lower mean scores on the visual analogue scale in those patients treated with acupressure, indicating that pain was less.
Furthermore, according to a compilation of 23 studies published in the journal Journal of Pain and Symptom Managementacupressure has been shown to be effective in reducing nausea, vomiting, dyspnea, fatigue and insomnia.
How to relieve headaches with acupressure?
When it comes to headache relief through acupressure, practitioners mainly focus on two key points: the Hegu point and the Taiyang point. Stimulation of these points is done by applying firm but gentle pressure with your fingers for several minutes.
The Hegu point is located on the back of the hand, between the thumb and index finger. Press with the thumb or index finger of the other hand at this point. The Taiyang point is at the temples, just behind the eyes. You can apply pressure with your fingertips to both sides of your head simultaneously.
Once you have found the points, find a quiet place where you can relax without distractions. Use the pad of your index finger or thumb to apply pressure to the acupressure points. Start with gentle circular movements for about 30 seconds on each point. The pressure should be firm but not painful. You should feel a sensation of pressure.
As you apply pressure to the points, focus on your breathing. Take deep, slow breaths to relax even more. Acupressure may not provide immediate relief, so you may need to repeat this process for several minutes or do it several times a day for best results.
Remember that acupressure can vary in effectiveness from person to person and is not a guaranteed cure for all types of headaches. If your headaches are chronic, severe, or associated with other concerning symptoms, it is essential that you consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment. Acupressure can be a useful complementary tool for occasional headache relief, but should not replace medical advice.
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