Many people suffer from headaches from time to time. Maintaining good lifestyle habits – like eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise and drinking enough water – can reduce the frequency of head and neck pain for many. Knowing simple self-care strategies for relief can make headaches more tolerable.
One self-care strategy involves using an acupressure routine to relax the muscles of the head and neck. Acupressure is a massage therapy technique based in ancient traditions, and it’s over 3,000 years old. Massage therapy and acupressure have many physiological and general well-being benefits.
Dr. Lisa Lourey, licensed acupuncturist at the Omaha VA Medical Center, presents an acupressure self-care routine for headaches. Next time you have a headache, you may offer yourself the benefits of this self-massage routine. If you’re unsure if this routine is appropriate for you due to health concerns, please consult your health care provider before using.
Before you get started, here are a pointers.
- Always wash hands thoroughly before and after practice.
- Remove jewelry, such as watch, rings, bracelet, earrings, necklace.
- Loosen restrictive clothing.
- Be in a comfortable position.
- Remove environmental distractions, like your phone or computer, except for the screen you are following along with.
- You may wish to play soothing background sound or music.
- Have drinking water available.
- Avoid massage to any areas of swelling, redness, rash, or broken skin.
- If you have a bleeding disorder condition or take medication to thin your blood, use light pressure.
- Do not use during pregnancy.
Self-care strategies are an important part of our health and well-being. Learning simple techniques to care for ourselves improves quality of life and empowers us to take charge of our life and health. Explore the Circle of Health to find the self-care resources that suit your lifestyle: https://www.va.gov/WHOLEHEALTH/circle-of-health/index.asp
For more information on Complementary and Integrative Health (CIH) approaches in VA visit: https://www.va.gov/WHOLEHEALTH/professional-resources/clinician-tools/cih.asp
Juli Olson is a clinical champion and national lead for acupuncture with the VHA Integrative Health Coordinating Center; Sharon M. Weinstein, MD, is a clinical champion and national lead for massage therapy with VHA’s Integrative Health Coordinating Center.