Acupressure - A Headache Healer

There must have a time when you had a headache and your friend pressed a spot on your hand which somehow made this headache go away. So did that work? What your friend was using is a very old (about 5,000 years) and widely practiced form of body work called acupressure. Like acupuncture, this practice has been a part of traditional Chinese medicine. Although acupuncture is better known around the world, most sources suggest that acupressure actually predates acupuncture by around 2,500 years.

On what principal does acupressure work?

Acupressure is based on the concept of a person's energy, or life force. This belief system theorizes that a life force, better known as chi or qi (pronounced chee) travels through the body along paths called meridians. According to this theory, any block in the flow of chi will result in discomfort or even disease. To release the blocked energy, or to promote energy flow to a certain area, an acupressure practitioner presses an acupoint. If specialists in Traditional Chinese medicine are to be believed, then more than 300 acupoints have been identified along the 14 meridians. Each acupoint has been assigned a Chinese name and an alphanumeric code, such as Shenmen (HT7).

Role of acupressure in healing headaches
The most powerful acupressure point for a headache is Gallbladder 20 which is the two points on either side of the neck vertebrae where the neck muscles attach to the skull. This is located immediately below the prominent ridges at the base of the rear part of the skull on both sides in the depression between the skull and the vertical neck muscles. Rubbing these points and the surrounding one-square-inch area steadily for about three to five minutes, using firm pressure at 90 degrees to the skin has been found effective in decreasing headache pain.

Additionally, except in pregnant women where it is traditionally forbidden, massage of the point Large Intestine 4 (Hoku or Adjoining Valley), which is one of the most powerful points overall, is also suggested. This point is located in the webbed area between thumb and first finger on the upper (dorsal) surface of the left hand where bones and attached muscles are held together in a "v".

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