Acupressure
Acupressure points shown on acupuncture model with needles

Commonly Used Acupressure Points on Head and Face

Acupressure – Demystified

Acupressure is sometimes referred to as ‘pressure acupuncture’ or ‘acupuncture without needles’.

It has been used for thousands of years in China, Japan, and other Asian countries, to promote relaxation and wellness, as well as to treat disease. Acupressure not only treats the body but also has positive effects on mind, emotions, and spirit.

How Does Acupressure Work?

Similar in principle to acupuncture, acupressure is based on the concept of Qi (life energy) flowing through “meridians” in the body. 12 major meridians network through the body, connecting specific organs. Physical pressure applied to any of the numerous acupoints can help clear illness-causing blockages in meridians, allowing for the free movement of Qi.

During an acupressure treatment, a client sits on the chair or lies on the table, then the therapist applies gentle pressure to specific acupoints using fingers, palms, elbows, or a variety of devices. The therapy may involve other methods such as stretching or acupressure kneading massage.

Some studies have shown that improved circulation and release of pain relieving endorphins are two of the factors responsible for acupressure’s many healing effects.

Health Benefits of Acupressure

Scientific studies have cited acupressure as effective in the management of nausea and vomiting. It is also helpful in helping to relieve lower back pain, stomach ache and tension headaches.

Acupressure relieves nausea after chemotherapy while improving energy levels. It has been also reported to help lower stress, relieve pain and reduce the severity of other cancer treatment related symptoms.

For arthritis sufferers, acupressure supports anti-inflammatory effects and promotes the release of pain relieving endorphins. Acupressure can be used to lessen fatigue and improve mood leading to a decrease in depression and anxiety.

Here is a list of some other health conditions that appear to improve with acupressure.

  • postoperative pain
  • pain and discomfort during spinal anesthesia
  • motion sickness
  • pregnancy related issues

Precautions

Acupressure is generally considered very safe. It is, however, advisable that persons with arthritis, cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, or other chronic conditions, discuss the treatment with their primary health care providers before proceeding. As the therapy involves deep tissue work with manipulation of joints and muscles, it should be avoided or given a careful consideration before proceeding in any of the following situations:

  • the area to be treated is the site of a cancerous tumor; or if the cancer has spread to bones
  • conditions that could worsen with physical manipulation such as rheumatoid arthritis, a spinal injury, or a bone disease
  • varicose veins
  • pregnancy

Acupressure is one of Asian bodywork therapies, a group that also includes shiatsu, Anma, and Tui Na. In Western countries it has steadily gained popularity to combine the technique with regular massage treatment.

Commonly Used Acupressure Points on Head and Face

 LI20

Location: On the face, in the nasolabial sulcus, at the same level as the midpoint of lateral border of the ala of the nose.

Condition: Nasal congestion

ST3

Location: On the face, directly inferior to the pupil, at the same level as the inferior border of the ala of the nose.

Condition: Hay fever

ST7

On the face, in the depression between the midpoint of the inferior border of the zygomatic arch and the mandibular notch.

Condition: Jaw pain

BL1

Location: On the face, in the depression between the superomedial parts of the inner canthus of the eye and the medial wall of the orbit.

Condition: Eye strain

BL2

Location: On the head, in the depression at the medial end of the eyebrow.

Condition: Sinusitis

SI19

Location: On the face, in the depression between the supratragic notch and the condylar process of the mandible.

Condition: Tinnitus

GB1

Location: On the face, in the depression between the supratragic notch and the condylar process of the mandible.

Condition: Eye strain

GB14

Location: On the face, in the depression between the supratragic notch and the condylar process of the mandible.

Condition: Facial paralysis

GV20

Location: On the head, 5 B-cun superior to the anterior hairline, on the anterior median line.

Condition: Concentration

GV23

Location: On the head, 1 B-cun superior to the anterior hairline, on the anterior median line.

Condition: Sinusitis

GV26

Location: On the face, at the midpoint of the philtrum midline.

Condition: Fainting