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Acupressure for Pain and Headaches

This information explains how to perform acupressure to reduce pain and headache.

Acupressure is an ancient healing art that is based on the traditional Chinese medicine practice of acupuncture. Finger pressure is used to stimulate trigger points on the body (acupoints). Pressing these points can help release muscle tension and promote blood circulation. Research suggests that it can also relieve many common side effects of chemotherapy. You can learn how to perform acupressure on yourself to reduce pain and headaches.

Pressure Point Hegu (LI-4)

Pressure point LI-4, or Hegu, is located between the base of your thumb and index finger. You can perform acupressure on this point to relieve pain and headaches.

  1. Using your right thumb and index finger, find the indentation on your left hand between the base of your left thumb and index finger (see figure).
  2. Apply pressure in a circular motion on this point for 5 minutes. The pressure should be firm but should not cause discomfort.
  3. Repeat the process on your right hand.

You can perform acupressure several times a day, or as needed for symptom relief.

To learn about other complementary therapies available at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, call the Integrative Medicine Service at (646) 888-0800 or visit our website: www.mskcc.org/IntegrativeMedicine.