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Stimulate These Pressure Points To Get Migraine Relief

Migraine can cause excruciating headaches, and it is a chronic, debilitating health condition that affects thousands of people in the world. While a throbbing headache is the most common symptom of migraine attacks, there are many other signs and symptoms that accompany a migraine episode. Conventional treatments for migraines focus on making lifestyle changes to avoid the known triggers, taking pain-relieving medications, and using preventive treatments like anticonvulsants or antidepressants. For many people with migraine, stimulating certain pressure points in the body can help provide relief from the symptoms of migraine. This type of treatment is known as acupressure, and it uses a thin needle to stimulate the point that helps relieve the symptoms of migraine. Here’s all you need to know about how to stimulate these pressure points to get migraine relief.

What Is Acupressure And Can It Help In Migraine Symptoms?

Acupressure is a popular type of complementary therapy that is known to help alleviate the symptoms of migraine in some people.(1, 2) This technique is very similar to acupuncture as it involves stimulating specific pressure points located on various parts of the body to resolve many medical conditions. Migraine is a neurological disorder that causes moderate to excruciating headaches and other symptoms. For many people, this condition can be debilitating and interfere with their everyday functioning. Migraine episodes can also cause the following symptoms:(3, 4, 5, 6)

Acupressure therapy is a popular form of alternative medicinal therapy that revolves around applying manual pressure to specific parts of the body, known as pressure points. The overall purpose of acupressure is to relieve pain and also promote healing. Acupressure is similar to acupuncture as both techniques are derived from traditional Chinese medicine, and both involve stimulating various sensory nerves located underneath the skin to release pain-relieving substances known as endorphins. Let us look at the pressure points used for migraine relief.(7, 8, 9)

Stimulate These Pressure Points To Get Migraine Relief

Pressure points that are frequently used to achieve migraine relief include those on the hands, ears, feet, and some other areas on the face and neck.

Pressure Points on the Ears

Auriculotherapy is the name given to the type of acupuncture and acupressure that focuses on the points in the ear. A 2018 review found that auriculotherapy can help provide relief from chronic pain.(10)

Another study, also from 2018, found that auricular acupuncture can help improve the symptoms of migraine in children.(11) Both the reviews, though, stated that further research is needed.

The ear pressure points for getting relief from migraine symptoms include:

  • Ear Apex: This point is known as the Indian or HN6, and it can be found at the very tip of the ear. It helps reduce pain and swelling.
  • Daith: This is the point located at the cartilage just above the opening of the ear canal. In 2020, a case report showed that a woman got relief from headaches by opting for a daith piercing, which stimulates acupuncture.(12) However, there is a lack of sufficient evidence to support this practice.
  • Ear Gate: This pressure point is also known as Ermen or SJ21, and it can be found at the point where the top of your ear meets the temple. Stimulating this pressure point can help give relief from the jaw and facial pain.

Pressure Points on the Hands

Pressure point LI4 or Hegu is known as the union valley, and it is located between the base of the index finger and thumb on each hand. Pressing this acupressure point can help reduce pain and headaches.

Pressure Points on the Foot

There are several acupressure points in your feet. Acupoints in the feet include:

Above Tears: Also known as Zulinqi or GB41, this point is located between and slightly back from the fifth and fourth toes. A study from 2017 showed that acupuncture at GB41 and other points had better results in reducing migraine episodes as compared to medication or Botox injections.(13)

Great Surge: This acupoint is known as LV3 or Tai Chong. This pressure point is located in the valley between the big toe and the second toe, at least one to two inches back from the toes. It can help reduce insomnia, anxiety, and stress.

Moving Point: This point is known as Xingjian or LV2. You can locate this spot in the valley between the big and second toes. It helps reduce the pain in your face and jaw.

Other Pressure Points To Get Migraine Relief

There are some more pressure points located on the face, neck, and shoulders that are also believed to help alleviate headaches and other pain. These include:

  • Drilling Bamboo: Also known as bamboo gathering, Zanzhu, or BL2, these are two indented spots located where the nose reaches the eyebrows. A study from 2020 shows that acupuncture at BL2 and other points can be as effective as medication for decreasing the frequency of migraine attacks.(14)
  • Third Eye: This pressure point is located in the middle of the forehead, just above the eyebrows. This point is called Ying Tang or GV24.5. A study from 2019 showed that acupuncture on points that included GV24.5 helped improve stress and energy levels in a small group of US military members.(15)
  • Shoulder Well: This pressure point is also known as Jian Jing or GB21, and it is located at the top of each shoulder, just halfway to the base of the neck. Stimulating this point may reduce headaches, pain, and stiffness in the neck.
  • Gates of Consciousness: This point is known as Feng Chi or GB20. It sits at the two side-by-side hollow areas where the neck muscles meet the base of the skull. This pressure point may help with fatigue and migraine episodes.

Does Stimulating These Pressure Points Work For Migraine?

Studies have shown that both acupuncture and acupressure can help relieve many of the symptoms of migraine. However, more research is still needed.

Studies from 2017 have shown that acupressure might help alleviate nausea caused by migraine. Participants in the study were given acupressure at points on the head and wrist for a period of eight weeks and were also given the medication sodium valproate.(16) This research found that acupressure along with sodium valproate reduced nausea related to migraine, while when sodium valproate was given by itself, there was not much improvement in nausea.

Another study published in 2019 discovered that the self-administration of acupressure might also reduce fatigue in people with migraine, as feeling tired is a common symptom of migraine.(17)

Another research review done in 2019 found that acupuncture might be more effective than medication for decreasing the frequency of migraine attacks, and there are lesser adverse effects as well. However, the review also noted that more studies needed to be carried out.(18)

Other studies that have been carried out on related issues like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and multiple sclerosis have found that both acupressure and acupuncture can help bring about improvements in combating chronic pain.

A 2016 study looked at the self-reported benefits of auricular acupuncture for veterans who were living with PTSD.(19) Veterans who took part in this study experienced improvements in relaxation levels, sleep quality, pain, and even headaches. However, more evidence is still needed to support these findings.

It is best to make an appointment with a licensed professional to use acupuncture or acupressure to decrease your migraine symptoms. You may also experience some improvements by massaging these pressure points at home by yourself.

What to Expect from Stimulating These Pressure Points?

If you decide to go in for acupuncture or acupressure to get relief from your migraine symptoms, here are some things you can expect:

  • The therapist will carry out an initial evaluation, including your health, lifestyle, and symptoms. This will usually take around an hour.
  • A treatment plan will be designed keeping in mind the severity of your symptoms.
  • Treatments consist of either pressure points or acupuncture needles.
  • If using needles, the therapist will manipulate the needle or apply electrical or heat pulses to the needles. It is possible that you may feel mild or dull pain when the needle reaches the right depth.
  • Needles will be kept in place for around 10 to 20 minutes, and the process is usually not painful. Side effects of acupuncture include bleeding, soreness, and bruising.
  • It is possible that you may or may not respond immediately to the treatment. Extra energy, relaxation, and symptom relief are common benefits of this therapy.

You might not feel any relief, in which case it is possible that this type of therapy is not meant for you.


For many people, stimulating certain pressure points is a great low-risk way to treat migraine. It is important to be aware of stimulating specific pressure points might induce labor in pregnant women, though more research is needed to confirm this.

However, if you suffer from a bleeding disorder or you are on blood thinners, you are at a higher risk for bruising and bleeding from needle sticks. People with pacemakers also need to be careful with acupuncture as it makes use of mild electrical pulses through the needles, and this can change the electrical activity of the pacemaker.

This is why it is always important to talk to your doctor before trying any at-home treatment at home yourself or opting for any alternative therapies for migraine. Making the right lifestyle changes, taking your medications, and finding out about alternative therapies may give you a lot of relief from the symptoms of migraine.


  1. Lee, E.J. and Frazier, S.K., 2011. The efficacy of acupressure for symptom management: a systematic review. Journal of pain and symptom management, 42(4), pp.589-603.
  2. Chen, Y.W. and Wang, H.H., 2014. The effectiveness of acupressure on relieving pain: a systematic review. Pain Management Nursing, 15(2), pp.539-550.
  3. Kermanshahi, S., Sadrizadeh, R. and Nafisi, S., 2010. The effect of auto acupressure on reliefing headache in Migraine. Journal of Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences, 13(4).
  4. Allais, G., Rolando, S., Castagnoli Gabellari, I., Burzio, C., Airola, G., Borgogno, P., Schiapparelli, P., Allais, R. and Benedetto, C., 2012. Acupressure in the control of migraine-associated nausea. Neurological Sciences, 33(1), pp.207-210.
  5. Vagharseyyedin, S.A., Salmabadi, M., BahramiTaghanaki, H. and Riyasi, H., 2019. The impact of self-administered acupressure on sleep quality and fatigue among patients with migraine: A randomized controlled trial. Complementary therapies in clinical practice, 35, pp.374-380.
  6. Yu, X. and Salmoni, A., 2018. Comparison of the prophylactic effect between acupuncture and Acupressure on menstrual migraine: results of a pilot study. Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies, 11(5), pp.303-314.
  7. Kurland, H.D., 1976. Treatment of headache pain with auto-acupressure. Diseases of the Nervous System, 37(3), pp.127-129.
  8. Xu, J., Zhang, F.Q., Pei, J. and Ji, J., 2018. Acupuncture for migraine without aura: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 16(5), pp.312-321.
  9. Allais, G., Rolando, S., Castagnoli Gabellari, I., Burzio, C., Airola, G., Borgogno, P., Schiapparelli, P., Allais, R. and Benedetto, C., 2012. Acupressure in the control of migraine-associated nausea. Neurological Sciences, 33(1), pp.207-210.
  10. Vieira, A., Reis, A.M., Matos, L.C., Machado, J. and Moreira, A., 2018. Does auriculotherapy have therapeutic effectiveness? An overview of systematic reviews.
  11. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 33, pp.61-70.
  12. Graff, D.M. and McDonald, M.J., 2018. Auricular acupuncture for the treatment of pediatric migraines in the emergency department. Pediatric emergency care, 34(4), pp.258-262.
  13. Bhandari, P., Ranjit, E., Sapra, A., Davis, D. and Brenham, C., 2020. Daith Piercing: Wonder Treatment or Untested Fad?. Cureus, 12(2).
  14. Naderinabi, B., Saberi, A., Hashemi, M., Haghighi, M., Biazar, G., Gharehdaghi, F.A., Sedighinejad, A. and Chavoshi, T., 2017. Acupuncture and botulinum toxin A injection in the treatment of chronic migraine: a randomized controlled study. Caspian Journal of Internal Medicine, 8(3), p.196.
  15. Giannini, G., Favoni, V., Merli, E., Nicodemo, M., Torelli, P., Matrà, A., Giovanardi, C.M., Cortelli, P., Pierangeli, G. and Cevoli, S., 2021. A randomized clinical trial on acupuncture versus best medical therapy in episodic migraine prophylaxis: the ACUMIGRAN study. Frontiers in Neurology, p.1705.
  16. Abanes, J., Hiers, C., Rhoten, B., Dietrich, M.S. and Ridner, S.H., 2020. Feasibility and acceptability of a brief acupuncture intervention for service members with perceived stress. Military Medicine, 185(1-2), pp.e17-e22.
  17. Xu, J.H. and Mi, H.Y., 2017. A randomized controlled trial of acupressure as an adjunctive therapy to sodium valproate on the prevention of chronic migraine with aura. Medicine, 96(27).
  18. Vagharseyyedin, S.A., Salmabadi, M., BahramiTaghanaki, H. and Riyasi, H., 2019. The impact of self-administered acupressure on sleep quality and fatigue among patients with migraine: A randomized controlled trial. Complementary therapies in clinical practice, 35, pp.374-380.
  19. Shen, F.J., Jia, X.U., Zhan, Y.J., Fu, Q.H. and Jian, P.E.I., 2019. Acupuncture for migraine: A systematic review and meta-analysis. World Journal of Acupuncture-Moxibustion, 29(1), pp.7-14.
  20. King, C.H.C., Moore, L.C. and Spence, C.D.L., 2016. Exploring self-reported benefits of auricular acupuncture among veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of Holistic Nursing, 34(3), pp.291-299.
Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 1, 2022

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