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Headache Relief Pressure Points - Do They Work?

Headache Relief Pressure Points - Do They Work?

At the onset of a headache, many people choose to take over-the-counter painkillers, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, for quick relief. But wouldn’t it be better if we can cure headaches without medications? We can try resting for a bit, drinking water, or dimming the lights. If such home remedies are not enough, we can also consider massaging headache relief pressure points.

Acupressure and Headaches

Before we enumerate the different headache relief pressure points, let’s first talk about the connection between acupressure and headaches.

Acupressure is similar to acupuncture in terms of human body analysis. But instead of needles, acupressure uses pressure to achieve the desired effects¹.

Another report defined acupressure as the “digital pressure performed in a circular motion to treat areas that are typically treated with acupuncture needles and for the same reasons.²”

Since many large-scale studies concluded that acupuncture offers better headache relief than usual care³, it’s safe to say that acupressure can do the same.

In fact, a team of researchers concluded that a month of acupressure treatment is more effective in improving chronic headaches than a month of receiving muscle relaxants. What’s even more promising is that the effect remains six months after the treatment⁴.

Given acupressure’s potential, it would be helpful to know the different headache relief pressure points.

Headache Relief Pressure Points

The next time you’re faced with a headache, consider gently massaging the following headache relief pressure points:

Joining the Valleys or Hegu (LI4)

You can find this point at the web space between the thumb and the index finger.

  • Close your eyes and slow down your breathing.
  • Massage the area using circular or pulsating motion. Be firm, but don’t press too hard that it hurts.
  • Massage for one to five minutes or until you feel the pain lessening⁵,⁶.
  • You may feel some discomfort or a sharp pain while massaging this pressure point.

IMPORTANT: Do not use this pressure point if you are pregnant as it may result in uterine contractions⁵.

Gates of Consciousness

You can find this headache relief pressure point below the base of the skull, at the hollow spaces on either side of the spine. Reports say it is particularly helpful for neck pain and tension headaches behind the eyes and at the base of the head.

  • You can use your index and middle fingers to massage the Gates of Consciousness. Alternatively, you can interlock your hands at the back of your head and use your thumbs.
  • Massage in firm upward motions or small circles.
  • If you have sinus congestion, this pressure point may also help you breathe easier.

The Third Eye

Last on our list of headache relief pressure points is the Third Eye, which you can find at the midpoint between the eyebrows.

  • Massage by applying pressure using a finger for several minutes.
  • It helps relieve tension in the eyes, face, and head.
  • Experts say massaging this point several times a week can help alleviate chronic headaches and sinus problems⁷.

Important Reminders in Performing Acupressure

Pregnant women and those with heart problems should refrain from doing acupressure. If you have another underlying health condition, ask your doctor first about massaging headache relief pressure points.

If you have severe migraine headaches, acupressure may not be the right treatment for you. In fact, if you have a severe headache, especially one with a sudden onset, the best course of action is to consult a doctor.

Do the same thing for headaches accompanied by other symptoms, such as blurred vision, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, diarrhea, or fever.

Key Takeaways

Acupressure may be a good way to relieve mild headaches, especially if you don’t want to take over-the-counter medications. Three of the headache relief pressure points you can massage are Joining the Valleys, Gates of Consciousness, and The Third Eye.

Learn more about Migraines and Headaches here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


1) Rehabilitation in Pain Medicine, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780323722162000144, Accessed October 20, 2021

2) Manipulation, Traction, and Massage, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780323625395000163, Accessed October 20, 2021

3) Acupuncture for headache, https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/acupuncture-for-headache-2018012513146, Accessed October 20, 2021

4) Effect of acupressure and trigger points in treating headache: a randomized controlled trial, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20128040/, Accessed October 20, 2021

5) Acupressure for Tension Headache, https://journals.humankinetics.com/previewpdf/journals/ijatt/16/3/article-p37.xml, Accessed October 20, 2021

6) Acupressure for Pain and Headaches, https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/patient-education/acupressure-pain-and-headaches, Accessed October 20, 2021

7) ACUPRESSURE TREATMENT FOR CHRONIC DAILY HEADACHES, https://nationalheadacheinstitute.com/blog/pressure-points-headache-relief/, Accessed October 20, 2021

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Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. Updated Oct 22
Fact Checked by Bianchi Mendoza, R.N.