Stretches & Self-Acupressure for Headaches
Spring is a time when headaches can strike even the least suspecting person. Allergens in the air, changing humidity and barometric pressure, and the return to stimulating, active lifestyle can all contribute to headaches. Even if you don’t typically suffer from headaches, springtime might be the season you do feel them cropping up.
Stretches for Headache Relief
It’s possible that your headaches are caused by tension in your upper body, specifically in the neck, jaw, face, and eyes. If you have a computer-based desk job, it’s quite likely that afternoon headaches are triggered by staring at a screen for hours with tension in your neck and shoulders.
Try these stretches throughout the day:
Chest and shoulder opening: Reach both arms behind your low back, clasp your fingers together. If you can’t get your hands to touch, hold a belt or small towel between your hands. Reach your knuckles back and down.
Lateral neck stretch: Slowly tilt one ear to the same shoulder. Use your hand to very gently encourage the stretch. DO NOT pull or force your neck to stretch!
Chin tuck and extend: Bring your chin down toward your chest, using your fingertips to gently encourage the stretch. Spend a few breaths here, then reverse: tilt your chin upwards. Don’t force your chin up beyond what feels safe for your neck.
Acupressure Self-Care Routine for Headache Relief
Get into a comfortable position so that you can easily access all points. Apply finger pressure in a slow, rhythmic manner to enable the layers of tissue and the internal organs to respond. Never press any area in an abrupt, forceful, or jarring way. Stimulate each of the points on both sides of the body at the same time. Spend 30-60 seconds on each point and apply firm pressure while breathing steadily into your lower abdomen. It’s best to do this routine at least once in the morning and once before bed.
Begin with GV-20 and work your way down the body.
Governing Vessel 20: This point is located on the top of the head, midway between the apexes of both ears. GV-20 stimulates circulation throughout the body and calms the mind. GV-20 has been noted to improve mental clarity and awareness, while also enhancing memory.
Large Intestine 4: LI-4 is located bilaterally on the back of the hand. When the thumb and forefinger are brought together, this point can be found directly in the middle of the fleshy mound that is created. Known as “The Master Pain Elimination” point, it can address pain in many parts of the body and has been praised for its ability to intercept chronic and acute headaches.
Liver 3: LV-3 can be found on the top of the foot, in the depression between where the first and second metatarsal bones meet. This point is most commonly used to combat dizziness, headaches, vertigo, and depression; and is known to facilitate headache relief. DO NOT USE DURING PREGNANCY.
Kidney 1: KD-1 is located on the sole of the foot, at the junction of the arch, and the ball of the foot. You can find this point between the second and third toes, and approximately 1/3 the distance between the base of the second toe and the heel. Kidney 1 can sedate and calm the mind, while also regulating blood flow to the vital organs of the upper body, such as the brain.
Keep track of the results of your self-acupressure practice to pay close attention to your progress and well-being. This is vital information that we can use in your next acupuncture appointment to help you feel even better!