July FP (1)

Originally Published in Front Porch Magazine July 2017

Headaches affect all of us, and can range from a nuisance that won’t go away to full blown pain that stops us in our tracks. However, there are ways to naturally relieve a headache using acupressure points and simple energy medicine exercises. The next time you feel a headache coming on; try one of the following techniques before you reach for that aspirin.

Massaging the Occipital Ridge at the back of your head is a good place to start. This is the area where your spine and head meet, and rubbing along it can help to relieve tension associated with a headache. Start in the middle at the top of your spine and work your way along this ridge to the hollow right behind your ears. Be sure to pay special attention to the Traditional Chinese Medicine Headache Points, which are located about 1 inch from either side of your spine.  Find the places where you feel an indentation and rub and massage them deeply while breathing. These can also help to calm you down as they plug into your nervous system.

If you have a headache that is located at the front of your head, try spreading your fingers apart and placing them above each eyebrow. With pressure, pull or rake your fingers up toward your hairline. Use only the amount of pressure that is comfortable. This helps blood to circulate in this area, and can help you feel better quickly.

A similar exercise called The Crown Pull helps make space for energy and blood to circulate and can also help you think more clearly. Start with your thumbs on your temples and your fingertips in the middle of your forehead. With pressure, stretch your forehead by moving your fingers to your temples. Repeat at your hairline and move over your head until you reach the base of your neck. Pull across it, and place your fingers behind your shoulders, and then squeeze your shoulders and pull your fingers over them to the front. Take a deep breath and pull your hands off. Scratching and massaging your head can also help.

Meridians are energy pathways in the body and working with these points can bring relief for many types of ailments. One of the most common points used to relieve headaches is along the large intestine meridian. In the webbing between your index finger and thumb lies the Large Intestine 4 point. Press, rub, or massage this point until any tenderness goes away. Do not use this point if you are pregnant, as it can cause contractions.

Simply rubbing your temples can also bring relief, help with allergies and loosen up the TMJ joint, as this area works with a meridian called Triple Warmer which governs our stress response. A few other points that are on meridian pathways to try are located right outside the bridge of your nose at the inside of your eyebrows, and points right underneath your cheekbones in line with the center of your eyes.

With all of these exercises, do the one that feels right and if one doesn’t work, try another. Headaches are unique to each of us, just as the remedy is.