The good news is that you don’t need to know exactly where the muscles are or what their names are. Wherever it hurts and feels tense around the suboccipital area, apply gentle but firm pressure, two or three minutes at one place, then move to the next tender spot.
Personally, I start with the mid-centerline right underneath the occiput, using my middle finger on both sides, tilting the head slightly backward. Very often, I am startled to find out how much of tension there is on that point. About two minutes will do the job.
Then, I move my fingers downward, slightly outside of the mid-centerline. I stay at tender spots for about two minutes.
The next step is go to wherever there is tenderness in the whole region. Since I am well aware of major acupuncture points in the area, I go through several points such as:
- Gallbladder 20: Headache; visual dizziness; pain and stiffness of the neck; painful reddening of the eyes; deep-source nasal congestion; pain in the shoulder and back; heat diseases; common cold; epilepsy.
- Bladder 10: Pain and stiffness of the neck, occipital headaches, upper back/shoulder pain, cold and flu symptoms, eye pain and blurry vision, epilepsy, manic episodes, excessive talking.
- GV 16: headaches, stiff neck, aversion to cold and wind, dizziness, numbness, twitching of eyelids, asthma, difficulty of breathing, MANIA and Hysteria.
Some people use tennis ball, massage instruments, and/or some other apparatus. I’ve found that nothing works better, faster than your own fingers. If you have bad arthritis on the fingers, use some towel, roll it up tightly, and lay on top of it, placing the towel right under the occiput.
It usually takes 10 minutes to release the tension in the suboccipital area. You will be amazed at how wonderful you will feel if you practice these self-acupressure on yourself. Not only your tension and headaches will be minimized, you will feel much clearer in your thinking, even feel peaceful. If you have tendency to have “excessive nervous talking, mania, and/or hysteria,” this self massage will certainly help a great deal.