A headache can be both a common individual symptom and a prime indicator of various acute and chronic diseases. Headaches can have many causes. Traditional Chinese medicine holds that the head is the region where "all the yang meridians converge and all the vessels reach" and that the head is connected with both the exterior and interior by means of the meridians as well as the eyes, ears, nose and mouth. So both diseases of the head itself and diseases of the whole body may cause headache. When a headache occurs, it is important to ascertain the actual cause so that an accurate diagnosis can be made and correct treatment applied.
Self-massage along meridians and acupoints is quite effective in treating headaches associated with common cold, fatigue, neurasthenia, hypertension, angioneurosis and as well as headaches associated with menstruation and menopause.
Characteristics of Headache Symptoms
The symptoms of a headache can vary according to the cause. The usual manifestation is a swollen and heavy discomfort in the head involving either a certain part of the head or the whole head. A headache can be accompanied by dull pain, piercing pain, drilling pain, throbbing pain or even swelling pain as in a "splitting" headache. The attack can be routine or continuous or periodic. Usually a headache is accompanied by feelings such as restlessness, fatigue, tinnims, vertigo, nausea and insomnia, etc.
Self-Massage Along Meridians and Acupoints
1. Piercing and Pressing the Baihui Point (GV 20)
Performance: Sitting position with the whole body relaxed. The ball of the middle finger of one hand is used to press into the Baihui point located on the vertex for about one minute until a numb and distending sensation is felt there (see Fig. 1 ).
2. Pressing and Kneading the Taiyang Point (EX-HN 5)
Performance: Sitting position with a relaxed body. The hypothenar eminences (the fleshy edge of the palm under the little finger) of both hands are put on both sides of Taiyang located in the depression behind the middle point of the line between the end of the eyebrow and the outer canthus. Then knead clockwise for about halfa minute and counterclockwise for another half a minute (see Fig. 2).
3. Pressing and Kneading the Fengchi Point (GB 20)
Performance: Sitting position. The thumbs of both hands are put on the Fengchi on both sides located in the depression below the occipital tuberosity, pressing and kneading repeatedly for one minute (see Fig. 3).
4. Pressing and Kneading the Hegu Point (LI 4)
Performance: Sitting position. The thumb of the fight hand presses and kneads Hegu on the left hand until local aching, distending, sinking and numb sensation is felt (see Fig. 4). Then the thumb of the left hand is used to press and knead Hegu on the fight hand with the same method.
5. Piercing Zhiyin (BL 67)
Performance: Sitting position. The right foot is put on the left leg and the index finger of the left hand pushes into and presses Zhiyin (see Fig. 5) for about one minute. Then the index finger of the right hand is used in the same way with making small stabs and pressing into Zhiyin on the left foot.
The above acupoints are all located on major channels: Baihui is located on the Governor Vessel, Fengchi on the Gallbladder Meridian, Hegu on the Large Intestine Meridian, Zhiyin on the Bladder Meridian and Taiyang on the extraordinary meridian. That is why the pressing and kneading of these acupoints is effective in regulating qi and blood and dredging meridians to relieve pain.
6. Massaging the Face
① Performance: Sitting position. The palms and fingers of both hands massage the face from the lower jaw to the mouth, cheeks, nasolabial groove, ocular orbit and the forehead repeatedly for about three minutes until a warm and comfortable sensation is felt in the area (see Fig. 6).
② Effect: This method can refresh the brain and brighten the eyes.
7. Squeezing and Lifting the Nape
① Performance: Sitting position. The hands are crossed to hold the nape and then the head is slightly bent back. Then the palm heels are used to squeeze and lift the nape repeatedly for one minute (see Fig. 7).
② Effect: This method can dredge meridians and activate blood as well as relieve spasms and pain.
8. Stroking the Nose
① Performance: Sitting position. The thumbs of both hands are slightly bent and the other fingers folded into empty fists. The knuckles of the bent thumbs are put at the sides of the nose to stroke upward to the skull and downward to the sides of the nostrils repeatedly for about one minute (see Fig. 8).
② Effect: This method may help dredge the nostrils and disperse wind and heat.
9. Percussing the Head
① Performance: Sitting position. The fingers of both hands are slightly bent and naturally stretched. The tips of the fingers of both hands simultaneously or alternatively percuss the scalp within the hairline for about two minutes (see Fig.9).
The percussion is light at first and then gradually heavier until a comfortable sensation is felt and the headache is clearly alleviated.
② Effect: This method can activate the blood, eliminate stagnation and relieve pain.
1. Self-massage along meridians and acupoints for headache can be applied once a day. The frequency may be increased according to the location of the headache. The performance of the techniques depends on relaxation of the body, especially the head and the mind. Patients can be helped by keeping an optimistic outlook while avoiding overextending themselves.
2. If the headache is recurrent and cannot be relieved by techniques used in self-massage along meridians and acupoints, the patient should be sent to the hospital for further examination.
3. Daily life must be regular, and steps taken to avoid stress.
4. Also important: Proper physical exercise and the avoidance of mental agitation.