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Pressure Points for Tension Headaches

Below are some of key acupressure points for tension headaches. One of the most common points for headaches is LI 4 or Union Valley. It is located in the muscle between the thumb and index finger. The point GB 20 or Wind Pool is also often used for headaches, and especially when they start in the back of the head. Similarly, the point in the temples can be used for tension headaches, as people often hold stress in this area. 

It should be kept in mind that acupressure works best when at least 2 or 3 points are used in combination. It is also important to select points based on where you feel the pain. 

Large intestine 4, He Gu, Union Valley
GB 20 Pressure Point for headaches
Acupressure point Tai Yang

What are tension headaches?

Tension headaches are one of the most common types of headache that cause mild to moderate pain and discomfort. They typically feel like a dull, constant ache or pressure around the head, scalp, temples, neck, and shoulders. Tension headaches can last for hours or even days, and they may come and go over a period of time.


The exact cause of tension headaches is not fully understood, but it is believed to be related to muscle tension and stress. Factors that can trigger tension headaches include poor posture, eye strain, lack of sleep, dehydration, caffeine consumption, and emotional stress.

woman with tension headache

Symptoms of tension headaches can vary from person to person, but some of the most common ones include:


A tight or band-like sensation around the head


Pressure or squeezing feeling in the forehead or back of the head


Mild to moderate pain that is usually bilateral (affecting both sides of the head)


Tenderness in the scalp, neck, and shoulder muscles


While tension headaches are generally not serious and can be treated with self-care measures, it's important to consult a healthcare professional if you experience frequent or severe headaches.


Consequently, practically everyone experiences them at least once in their lifetime and there is a need for effective treatments. While many people resort to medications, not everybody knows that acupressure can be a helpful long-term form of maintance care.

What causes tension headaches?

The exact causes of tension headaches are not fully understood, but there are several factors that are believed to contribute to their development.


Some of the most common causes of tension headaches include:


Stress: One of the most common causes of tension headaches is stress. This can be due to work pressure, family problems, financial issues, health concerns or any other stressful situation. Emotions such as anger, irritability, and frustration are also often related to tension headaches caused by stress. 


Poor posture: Poor posture can also lead to tension headaches, especially if you spend long hours sitting at a desk or in front of a computer screen.


Eye strain: Straining your eyes by looking at screens or reading for long periods without taking breaks can cause tension headaches.


Lack of sleep: Not getting enough sleep or having poor quality sleep can also trigger tension headaches.


Dehydration: Dehydration can cause headaches, including tension headaches. It's important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.


Caffeine consumption: Consuming too much caffeine or abruptly stopping its use can also trigger tension headaches.


Overall, tension headaches can be caused by a combination of these factors and may vary from person to person.

How does acupressure help with tension headaches?

Acupressure helps in several ways. One thing it does is help to relieve muscle stiffness and trigger points. It also helps to alleviate anxiety by working on the nerves and nervous system. 


Stress can build up in the body and cause many symptoms such as tight muscles, pressure in the chest, stomach problems, insomnia, headaches, and dizziness. By releasing tense muscles, pressure points can help with many of these symptoms. Stress also affects the nerves and over stimulates the sympathetic nervous system (SNS). The SNS is related to the fight or flight response, and releases adrenaline and a similar neurotransmitter called norepinephrine. 


Our body also has a division of the nervous system that helps us to relax and slow down, this is called the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). Things like slow breathing, meditating, listening to soothing music, eating, sex, massage and touch help to activate the PNS. This is why you feel calm or even sleepy after these activities. People will often fall asleep during massage because touch is soothing and can relax the nerves.  

Learn more about pressure points and massage.

Natural Remedies for Tension Headaches

There are several natural remedies that can help alleviate tension headaches. Here are some of the most effective ones:

Rest: One of the best remedies for tension headaches is getting adequate rest. Try to take a break and relax in a dark, quiet room.

Heat or cold therapy: Applying a heat or cold pack to the affected area can help relieve pain and muscle tension. You can use a warm towel, hot water bottle, or an ice pack.

Massage: Massaging the neck, shoulders, and scalp can help reduce tension and ease headache pain.

Exercise: Regular exercise can help reduce stress and improve blood flow, which can decrease the frequency and severity of tension headaches.


Yoga or meditation: Practicing yoga or meditation can help you relax and reduce stress, which can prevent tension headaches from occurring.


Herbal remedies: Some herbs, such as lavender, peppermint, and chamomile, have been found to be effective in treating tension headaches. Drinking herbal tea made from these herbs or using essential oils can help provide relief.


Hydration: Drinking plenty of water can help alleviate headaches caused by dehydration.

It's important to keep in mind that not all remedies may work for everyone, and it's always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional if you experience frequent or severe headaches.

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