Sarica explained that acupuncture is commonly used by people with headaches because it can offer so many pain relief benefits without the side effects of other treatments. When someone has a good acupuncture treatment their body goes from a sympathetic override pattern where they’re in a stressed state to a parasympathetic state where they’re in a rest, repose, heal, recover state of our nervous system. It’s no magic medicine, the technique helps to engage the person’s healing response of their nervous system.
Of course, you can’t always get to an acupuncturist so Sarica shared some things you can do at home with essential oils to treat your headaches.
Many people Sarica sees are getting headaches as a result of not getting enough sleep. They then ingest too much caffeine throughout the day because they’re tired and that sets them up on blood sugar imbalances. When someone is really fatigued and it’s causing a bottleneck of stress in the shoulders and neck, the acupressure point that would be beneficial for many people to massage is called gallbladder 21 and is located at the top of the shoulder where it meets the neck. Using a high-quality lavender essential oil on this spot helps to dial down the histamine response and calm the mind and that can be coupled with a little bit of peppermint oil. The peppermint helps diffuse the tension being held in the area. The base of the skull and the area along the scalp would also be great spots to use these oils as well.
If you need to see a picture of each spot try searching for the acupressure point name – like “gallbladder 21” – we didn’t include them here because we use royalty-free images.
How do you evaluate if it is working?
When you use essential oils for pain, it’s important to start by rating your pain before you use any oils. Then you’ll want to apply the oils and rate the pain again a few minutes later. You can re-apply the oils if you’ve seen a moderate improvement. If you’ve applied it a few times and don’t see a shift, it’s not the right oil for you in this situation.
Sarcia also sees a lot of people with sinus headaches and those are tied to gut dysbiosis. That is because in traditional Chinese medicine there is a close relationship between the lung and large intestine. A point that is helpful for sinus issues & related headaches is the webbing between your thumb and pointer finger or LI-4, also known as He Gu. Massage that area and use peppermint, eucalyptus, or tea tree oil on this spot for sinus pressure. You may want to dilute these oils with coconut oil.
Of course, if you have a sinus headache, you probably have sinus pain in your face and may be tempted to use oils there. When using essential oils on your face, it’s important to dilute them before applying. You can use something like oregano oil and peppermint along cheek area but keep it away well from your eyes. You can also use a bowl of steaming hot water with these oils to help drain out the sinuses when you have sinus congestion.
Many women experience headaches due to hormonal issues around the time of their period. For hormonal headaches, you can use essential oils to massage the area at the very top of your head and some good oil choices would include lavender, peppermint, and frankincense.
Anyone who has had a foot massage knows how calming that can be and massaging your feet with magnesium oil and a drop of peppermint can help to calm stress and relieve hormonal headaches. Topical magnesium oil or gel can be used to relax your muscles and if it’s too intense for your skin you can dilute it with some water or other oils.
To summarize the acupressure points for headaches that Sarnica shared with us:
Stress & fatigue – rub peppermint in magnesium gel/oil on your feet
Hormonal headaches – try lavender, peppermint or frankincense on the very top of your head
Sinus pressure – massage eucalyptus, peppermint or tea tree on the webbing between your thumb and pointer finger
Tight shoulders and neck tension – apply lavender and peppermint to the spot where your neck joins your shoulders
Have another favorite? Let us know in the comments!
“. . . in traditional Chinese medicine there is a close relationship between the lung and large intestine. Points that are helpful for sinus issues & related headaches are the webbing between your thumb and pointer finger.” this is incredibly helpful to me, erin, as i suffer greatly from sinus issues. i’ve learned a bit from my qi gong instructor, but knowing what essential oils to enhance this pressure point with while massaging is an amazingly wonderful tip! thank you.
I learned so much in this one post, Erin! Thank you! Essential oils are all the rage now, so learning about them from a trusted expert like yourself, makes me feel more informed.
I actually know a lot of people who use acupressure and even more who get migraines. They can be debilitating actually. Interesting post. I need to read up on this and determine if we need to use this here. My one child gets a lot of headaches but she is very young still so hard to tell if they are migraines or not.
That is so interesting. We try to use essential oils sometimes for sleep and relaxation.
I have always known acupressure is effective but did not know about the exact points. Learnt a lot from this post.
I am someone who suffers from migraine and hormonal imbalance a lot. Would like to try out acupressure. 🙂
Acupressure is a good traditional medicine. I would love to have one right now. It takes away my stress.
I have learned so much from this post. I used essential oils but wasn’t familiar with acupuncture. The information was invaluable. Pinned.
This is really informative! I am interested in acupressure and this really enlightened me! Thank you for sharing!
I have really learned a lot about Acupressure from this post. I used to suffer from ocular migraines in the past. I tried everything, but never thought of this type of treatment.
Thanks for sharing.
Accupressure is a great alternative for pain and stress relief. I have tried it once and it does help with relieving stress and tension headaches.
I’ve heard that this really works but I’ve never given it a try. Thank you for sharing!
This is some really interesting information. I hadn’t heard this before. Thanks for sharing.
I tried it twice and it works on me. But yes, for some people acupressure doesn’t work.
Oh this is awesome! I’ve been curious about acupuncture and all it’s benefits! Very informative.
Thanks for sharing. I wanted to try but do have some hesitations but when I read this it enlightened my mind. Looking forward