Acupressure Points on Your Feet May Help Relieve Migraines

While there are  dozens of migraine remedies out there, some are more effective than others. Many people opt to reach for over-the-counter or prescribed pain medications when a migraine hits, but there are several other options I’d recommend trying first – including acupressure.

What is Acupressure?

Acupressure is a traditional Chinese therapy which has been around for thousands of years. Practitioners use their hands, elbows, or even feet to apply pressure to specific areas on the body’s meridians, known as acupoints. The goal is to encourage the flow of qi (pronounced chi, which is the Chinese term for ‘life energy’).

According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), there are 12 energy pathways in the body that may become misaligned, leading to a wide range of conditions and symptoms. The goal of acupressure is to free up any energy blockages by applying pressure to specific points in the body. It’s believed some of the most important pressure points for headaches and migraines are located in the feet. More on this later.

How Chinese Medicine Can Help Migraine Pain

Acupressure can significantly reduce some migraine symptoms, including nausea. From a TCM standpoint, people suffer from migraines because the qi isn’t flowing freely through the body and into the head. Or, if there is too much qi flowing into the head, it can get trapped, leading to extremely intense migraines.

This is where acupressure comes in. By applying pressure to very specific points on your feet, related to headaches and migraines, many people have experienced almost immediate relief. And once you know where these points are, you can perform acupressure at home!

Foot Acupressure Points for Migraine Relief

Now that you have a better idea of what acupressure is and how it may bring relief to migraineurs, let’s look at the acupressure points on the feet:

  • Zu Ling Qi – This pressure point translates to “foot overlooking tears” because it’s a very sensitive area. I encourage you to start with light pressure if you are trying this acupoint. The Zu Ling point benefits congestion and pressure on the eyes. It can be found on the top of the foot between the pinky toe and the second to last toe, about halfway between the toes and the ankle.

  • Big Toe – There is a spot located on the inside of your big toe (in between the big toe and second toe) that can help with temporal migraines. Place pressure at the tip of the big toe and work your way down to the webbing of the toes. You can repeat this several times or massage the area for 60 seconds to support the flow of qi.

  • Chinese Reflexology Point for The Face – If you’re feeling pressure or pain in your face with your migraines and/or headaches, this is another great acupressure point for you to try.  In Chinese medicine, the big toe represents your face and neck. Place your thumb just below your toenail on your big toe, rub side to side from the bottom of the nail to the bottom of the toe.  Repeat this sideways massage for 30-60 seconds on both feet. Remember to rub only the skin and not the nail itself.

  • The Four Gates– The ‘four gates’ refers to two points on the top of the feet and two on top of the hands. In the feet, these points are located between the big and second toes, approximately 1 inch from the crease.  The four gates should not be massaged if you are pregnant.

These three acupoints are a good place to start if you suffer from migraines. While acupressure can be very effective, it should be done with caution and the guidance of a trained practitioner. The power of touch is something many cultures have relied on for centuries. From massage and acupuncture to more esoteric forms of healing, it’s incredible what the human body can do when given the chance.

Sources:

Top Ten Home Remedies: Acupressure for Migraine Headaches

Traditional Chinese Reflexology: 4 Points on Your Feet for Headaches and Migraines

Migraine Again: 8 Pressure Points for Headaches and Nausea