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Migraine Pressure Point Routine: How To Get It Right

Written and verified by Holly Hazen

In this migraine pressure point routine I will show you the way I have used acupressure to ease my own symptoms for many years.

If you don't have access to an acupuncturist, acupressure can be a viable alternative treatment for relieving migraines and a good home remedy for headaches. 

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The pressure points listed below show you exactly where to place pressure to get the quickest migraine relief.

I would define acupressure as applying pressure with your thumbs to relieve stiffness and pain using the specific migraine pressure points.

By using the meridian points specific to migraine, your treatment will be much more successful than just palpating a painful area.

Traditional mainstream western science is slowly but surely coming around to recognize the eastern meridian system.

There are many techniques of acupressure. Some generally useful ones are: superficial rubbing, press and release method, tapping, pinching and pulling.

My preferred ways are using superficial rubbing and the press and release method. I used the press and release method in my shiatsu practice for many years.

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Here's A Good Migraine Pressure Point Routine @migrainesavvy #migrainerelief #stopmigraines #migrainesHere's An Easy Migraine Pressure Point Routine @migrainesavvy

The 2 Best Migraine Pressure Point Methods To Use

Superficial rubbing uses small circular motions to apply pressure in and around the center of the meridian point. The middle and index fingers are used extended or supported by the thumb to use the knuckle. The surface of the skin is only slightly pressed and each spot can be stimulated 50 – 100 times. Each circle is counted as one. This is especially good around the temples or anywhere on the face.

The press and release method applies pressure more deeply into the points and can be pressed up to a hundred times in order to release the underlying tissue.

I use my thumb, but your middle finger will also have the right results. Be careful not to use your fingernail.

Now this might be getting too technical but it is best if men start on the left side of the body first and then the right side.

Men are more Yang. Women are more Yin, and it is best if they start stimulating the migraine pressure points on the right side first and then the left. So...

  • Men start on the left side
  • Women start on the right

Ok... enough background let's get to a routine you can use right now...

The Routine You Can Do Right Now

1. You can spend time massaging your big toe or all your toes! Make sure you rub the joints in them, the tip and along and beside the nail bed. Also press on the spongy part of the foot below the toe.

Reflexology connects the toes to the head with migraine. I personally did not get results with Reflexology for my migraines, but that doesn’t mean it won’t bring you some relief. The tip for the Japanese method here is to focus on the points beside the nail beds.

2. Pressure on Pericardium Main Meridian 5 (PC5) and 6 (PC6) which is located 2 and 3 tsun (thumb widths) above the transverse wrist crease between the tendons. PC 5 is the Jung River Point. It is Metal and clears phlegm and smooths the Chi of the heart.

It is used for mental disorders and epilepsy, to name a few, and is just what we need as migraineurs for nausea and vomiting. PC 6 is the Luo Connecting Point. It moves Chi and blood in the heart, and it is used for morning sickness and vomiting. So pressure on either one of these points will work.

Migraine Acupressure Pericardium 5 @migrainesavvy #migrainerelief #acupuncturePC5
Migraine Acupressure Small Intestine 7 @migrainesavvy #migrainerelief #acupunctureSI7

The other fingers on your hand naturally fall on the other side of the wrist at Small Intestine 7 (SI7) while you press above your wrist with your thumb. Technically SI7 is located 5 tsun proximal to the wrist on the line joining SI5 and SI8. This is also a Luo Point and is used for neck rigidity and mental disorders, just to name a few.

This will help calm you down. So press and wiggle your wrist a little and if you have the right spots your nausea will calm down, and so will your sense of panic. Yeah! Extra benefits we like! It will also help to imagine all the energy flowing towards your hands and out your finger tips.

3. The gall bladder meridian treats migraine headaches and the liver meridian treats occipital headaches.

Specifically, Gall Bladder points 12 and 20 are used for occipital headaches and wind headaches. They are located very close together.

GB12 is located in the depression posterior and inferior to the mastoid process and GB20 is located in the depression below the occipital bone at the top of your neck. 

Migraine Acupressure GB20 @migrainesavvy #migrainerelief #acupunctureGB20

GB12 moves external and internal wind from the head and GB20 sedates Liver Yang and Fire and clears and calms the mind.

I really like these ones as I can just press on them when I feel like it. I also use tennis balls, please see my headache migraine neck pain article for more details.

*These 2 points are commonly used for trigger point injections and GB 20 is commonly used for an occipital nerve block with Lidocaine or Cortisone. [1]

4. You can also press on any of the migraine pressure points listed in acupuncture for migraines.

Migraine Acupressure Meridian Liver 3 @migrainesavvy #migrainerelief #acupunctureLIV3

I can reach the Liver Meridian point 3 between the toes quite comfortably with a pen or pencil.

Too easy!

Shown below: Spleen 6, Triple Heater 5, Colon 4 can all be reached to stimulate or press by hand. 

Migraine Acupressure Meridian Spleen 6 @migrainesavvy #migrainerelief #acupunctureSP6
Migraine Acupressure Meridian Triple Heater 5 @migrainesavvy #migrainerelief #acupunctureTH5

Migraine Acupressure Point Colon 4 @migrainesavvy #migrainerelief #acupunctureLI4 or C4

Large Intestine 4 aka Colon 4 is the most well known meridian point for headaches and migraine.

This is the point in the web of the hand between the index finger and thumb.

It’s near the middle of the index fingers metacarpal. To locate it properly, squeeze the thumb against the base of your index finger. 

Find the highest point of the bulge, near the end of the crease in your hand. With your other thumb - press firmly into the point with the tip of your opposite thumb. 

Change angles and press towards the bone too. 

This migraine pressure point can be quite painful and may also stimulate you to have a bowel movement very quickly.

Is this too much information? Sorry – but you might as well know now before you try it and be prepared, if you know what I mean!

Moxa can be burned near your meridian points. The resulting heat helps stimulate the points and improves the flow of qi (energy) in your body @migrainesavvy #migrainerelief #acupunctureMoxa can be burned near your meridian points. The resulting heat helps stimulate the points and improves the flow of qi (energy) in your body @migrainesavvy

DIY Moxa Treatment

Some practitioners will use Moxibustion, also called moxa which is a type of herb used in traditional Chinese medicine. It involves burning a cigar like cone or stick made of ground Mugwort (Artemesia vulgaris) leaves on or near your meridian and acupuncture points. The resulting heat helps stimulate these points and improves the flow of qi (energy) in your body. Plus it can be used without needles as an effective treatment all on its own.

It can be used on any migraine pressure points you can reach except these ones:

Points Forbidden to Moxa

  • GV 23 - Frontal lobe
  • GV 25 - Nose
  • ST 1 and 2 - Eyeball area
  • ST 8 - Temple
  • ST 9 - Throat
  • ST 17 - Nipple(s)
  • TH 21 - Middle ear
  • TH 23 - Eyebrow end
  • BL 1 and 2 - Eyebrow, top/beginning of nose
  • CO 19 and 20 - Nose, end of nose by nostrils, either side

Other Migraine Pressure Point Locations

We have meridian points all over our bodies. The pressure points used for migraine relief include those on the ears, hands, feet, and other areas such as the face and neck. We've covered most of those above, but we've not looked at the ears. With so much hype around Daith piercing, let's have a closer look at our ear points and the other points you can use!

Ear Pressure Points May Improve Migraine Symptoms in Children

According to, ear pressure points (aka Auriculotherapy) is a type of acupuncture and acupressure focused on points on the ear. "A 2018 research review found that auriculotherapy may help with chronic pain." [2]

And "another study from the same year suggested that auricular acupuncture may improve migraine symptoms in children." Both reviews said that more research is needed. [2]

The ear pressure points related to migraine and headache include:

  • Ear gate: Also known as SJ21 or Ermen, this point can be found where the top of your ear meets your temple. It may be effective for jaw and facial pain.
  • Daith: This point is located at the cartilage just above the opening to your ear canal. A 2020 case report indicated that a woman found headache relief through a daith piercing, which may simulate acupuncture. However, most of the evidence is anecdotal and there is insufficient evidence for this to guarantee relief.
  • Ear apex: This point is also called HN6 or Erjian, and is found at the very tip of your ear. It may help reduce swelling and pain. [2]

Hand and Foot Pressure Points

A key point in your hand is large intestine 4 - LI4 (image above). It's also called Union valley or Hegu. This is the point in the web of the hand between the index finger and thumb, as I  mentioned above.

And here is the correct terminology for the points in the feet to stimulate.

  • Great surge: Also known as Liver 3 - LV3 or Tai Chong. This point sits in the valley between the big toe and the second toe around 1-2 inches back from the toes (image above). It may help decrease stress, insomnia, and anxiety. [2]
  • Above tears: This is also called Gall Bladder 41 - GB41 or Zulinqi, and is located between and slightly back from the fourth and fifth toes. This 2017 study suggested that acupuncture at GB41 and other points was better for reducing migraine episodes than Botox injections or medication. [2]
  • Moving point: This may be called Liver 2 - LV2 or Xingjian. You can find it in the valley between your big and second toes. It may decrease pain in your jaw and face. [2]

Migraine Pressure Points on Your Face, Neck and...

But wait...there's more. There are additional pressure points on your face, neck, and shoulders that may also help relieve headache and other pain. According to these include:

  • Third eye: This rests in the middle of your forehead (just above your eyebrows) and is called Governing Vessel 20 - GV 20. A 2019 study done on a small group of U.S. military members found that acupuncture on points (GV-20, GV-24.5 Yin Tang, bilateral LI-4 and bilateral LR-3) improved energy and stress. [2]
  • Drilling bamboo: Also known as bamboo gathering, Bladder 2 - BL2, or Zanzhu. This point is located at the two indented spots where your nose reaches your eyebrows. 
  • Gates of consciousness: This is also called Gall Bladder 20 - GB20 or Feng Chi. It’s located at the two side-by-side hollow areas where your neck muscles meet the base of your skull. This point is known to help with migraine episodes and fatigue.
  • Shoulder well: Also known as Gall Bladder 21 - GB21 or Jian Jing. It sits at the top of each shoulder, halfway to the base of your neck. This pressure point should reduce neck pain, stiffness and headaches. [2]

Chinese medicine looks at the body as a whole, not just your symptoms.

It might be best to make an appointment with a licensed professional who uses acupressure or acupuncture to relieve migraine attacks and symptoms. And I hope you also see improvement by massaging your migraine pressure points at home.


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P.S. This is an amazing resource - Smarter Healing

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Reference Migraine Pressure Point:
1. Shubov, Dr. Andrew (2018) The Migraine World Summit. Using Acupressure and Acupuncture for Headaches and Migraine. Available [online] at:
2. Brusie, C. (2020) Stimulating Pressure Points for Migraine Relief. Available [online] at: Accessed Feb. 22, 2021

*all studies for this migraine pressure point article were cited in Brusie @healthline (2020) above.