Acupressure is an ancient technique that has been practiced in Asia for thousands of years and today is gaining a reputation as a convenient self-treatment for mild to moderate symptoms. Several acupressure points are traditionally used to treat headaches and dizziness, according to Yin Yang House, an acupuncture clinic in Chattanooga, Tennessee. To ensure safe care, consult your doctor before initiating any new treatment techniques.
Acupressure originated from ancient Asian medical practices dating back 5,000 years. It is closely related to the practice of acupuncture and employs the same meridians and points, but while acupuncture involves the insertion of needles into the skin, acupressure uses non-invasive pressure, usually applied by the fingers. Traditionally, there are 2,000 specific acupressure points over the entire body. Stimulating these points is intended to rebalance the flow of “qi,” or life force, in the body to relieve symptoms of illnesses ranging from dizziness and headaches to anxiety and nausea.
Acupressure Points for Dizziness and Headaches
According to Yin Yang House, acupressure points on the head, scalp and shoulders are useful in treating headaches and dizziness, as well as other issues, such as shoulder pain and insomnia. One of the most common points for these issues is Governing Vessel 20, which is at the top of the head, in line with the ears. Yin Yang House also recommends using Gall Bladder 20, which is at the base of the skull, and Gall Bladder 21, found on the highest part of the shoulder, for headaches and dizziness.
Effectiveness of Acupressure for Headaches
In a 2010 study published in “American Journal of Chinese Medicine,” researchers reported on the effects of acupressure as a treatment for chronic headache pain. During a one-month trial period, patients received either acupressure or a combination of muscle relaxant and analgesic medication. At the end of the month, the acupressure group experienced a significant reduction in overall headache pain, according to the study’s authors. A follow-up assessment six months after the trial showed that the acupuncture group continued to sustain greater relief from headache symptoms than the muscle relaxant group.
Acupressure is generally accepted as a safe treatment, but some risks do exist. Acupressure is not appropriate for patients with hypotension, or who take anti-hypertensive medication, because it may lower blood pressure. According to the acupressure website PointFinder, you should not use acupressure if you are pregnant or have a heart condition, or within 20 minutes of exercising, bathing or eating a large meal. If the acupressure point lies under a break in the skin, or a mole, wart or varicose vein, do not use that point. Acupressure is not a substitute for traditional medical care -- visit your doctor if you are ill or if your symptoms are persistent.
- Natural Standard; Acupressure, Shiatsu, Tuina; Julie Conquer, Ph.D., et al.; 2011
- PointFinder; Acupressure Guide Online; Kevin T. Boyd; 2011
- Yin Yang House; Head, Scalp and Shoulder Area Acupressure Points; January 2011
- “American Journal of Chinese Medicine"; Effect of Acupressure and Trigger Points in Treating Headache: A Randomized Controlled Trial; Lisa Li-Chen Hsieh, et al.; February 2010