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Self-acupressure on the Suboccipital Muscles

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 self massage suboccipitalfinger 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:

    1. Gallbladder 20: Headache; visual dizziness; pain and stiffness of the neck; gb20bl10painful reddening of the eyes; deep-source nasal congestion; pain in the shoulder and back; heat diseases; common cold; epilepsy.
    2. 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.  
    3. 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.

 

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Suboccipital Muscles

subocci-pain

The suboccipital muscles are a group of four muscles located on each side of the back of the neck just below the base of the skull. The muscles connect the skull with the top two vertebrae of the neck. Located right underneath the occipital bone (the pronounced protrusion of the back of the head), there are four paired muscles as shown in the suboccipital musclespicture.

These muscles are designed to sit right on top of the cervical spine, however, most of us tend to lean forward habitually. Texting, using computers, or even when we eat, we place our ears way forward than our shoulders. As a result, these suboccipital muscles tend to get stretched too much on one wide, crunched up, and stiffened over time. Misalignment of the suboccipital muscles becomes a prime cause of head and neck tension and shoulder aches. Prolonged neck tension may permeate toward the frontal area, causing temple and frontal headaches, and may interfere with the blood flow to the eyes, resulting in painful & burning eye syndromes.

 

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Stiff neck, Migraines, and Eye pain? Release Suboccipital Muscles

scalpelpointsOver the course of years of treating human body, I’ve found close to 100% of people over the age of 35 have very stiff neck. Stiff and rigid neck often accompany migraines, shoulder pain, frontal sinus headaches, and eye pain. It’s hard to believe, but stiff neck is also directly associated with the lower back and sacrum pain. There’s an easy way to deal with these issues: self-massage the suboccipital muscles, behind your head.  

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The Second Point: Pericardium 8 (Laogong) “Palace of Labor”

Laogong or Pericardium 8 is in the center of the palm, between the 2nd and 3rd metacarpal bones, closer to the 3rd metacarpal bone. laogong-56a92d8b5f9b58b7d0f8f31eWhen a fist is made, the point is where the tip of the middle finger touches.

Taoist practitioners and other energy healers who use Qigong emission (external qi therapy) techniques to amplify and balance another person’s Qi frequently use this point from which to emit energy. This point has a direct connection with Kidney 1. Any change at Kidney 1, for example a weight shift, has an immediate and direct reflection on Laogong. In Qigong practices, these four points must connect to Dantien at the lower abdomen for the Qi of the entire body to be integrated.

This point must be open and hollow for Qi to spread into the hand and fingers, and to the entire upper body. It is extremely important point to release pent-up heat in the heart and the head. Laogong is excellent in calming the spirit and resolving exhaustion and fatigue.

HOW TO ACTIVATE LAO GONG

pc8To massage your own Lao Gong, simply rest one hand, palm up, then use the other hand’s thumb to locate and press Laogong. Apply moderate pressure, with your thumb, moving it in tiny circles, as you place your mental focus gently upon the point. Again, two or three minutes will be sufficient.

The sequence of massaging is left Yongquan, left Laogong, right Laogong, then right Yongquan, to make a full circle. It’s best to use this technique before bed, however, it can be used anytime of the day. One full week of self-massaging  these four points will renew your vitality tremendously.

Acupressure Relief for Headaches

Headaches present differently for each person, with varying degrees of pain, tension, and/or tenderness. So, a lot will depend on the location of the pain, as far as which points will require acupressure. To begin, the first step is to sit comfortably, take a few deep breaths with your eyes closed, and loosen any tension or tight muscles in the body. Performing acupressure while relaxed ensures optimal results.

First, Large Intestine 4 is such a powerful acupuncture point for headaches that it is often referred to as “the headache point.” It is located on the padded area of your hand, between the thumb and index finger and between the first and second metacarpal bones. Massage this point with your thumb on both hands for approximately 30 seconds.

acupunctureforheadaches

Second, Taiyang on the temples. If your headache is on one or both sides of your head, which can include the temples, then apply pressure at a point called TaiYang, which is half way between the outer corner of the eyebrow and your hairline. Using a firm touch from your middle finger, press and hold for 10 seconds. Next, without lifting your fingers, make little clockwise circular motions for 10 seconds. Repeat this procedure in a counter-clockwise motion. This may be repeated for up to 3 minutes.

taiyang

Third, there is Gall Bladder 20 called Feng Chi. For relieving pain and tension in the back of the head and neck, the area including and surrounding GB20, is an excellent choice. You will find your left and right GB20 point about 2 inches outward from your spine, at the base of your skull. The medical term for this part of the cranium is the occipital bone. Cradle the back of your head in both hands and use your thumbs to firmly rub back and forth right below your occipital bones. Create some heat with a vigorous rub, then use your thumb pads to press into the area. This can be done for 2 or 3 minutes.

gall bladder 20

Do you or someone you know suffer from headaches or migraines? Call today to find out how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help you!

Alleviate Your Migraine and Headache Pain

Are you plagued by chronic headaches? More than 45 million Americans (one in six) suffer from chronic headaches, and 20 million of them are women. The pain that headache and migraine sufferers endure can impact every aspect of their lives.

Scientific research shows that acupuncture can be more effective than medication in reducing the severity and frequency of chronic headaches. Acupuncture is a formidable form of treatment for headaches, and it can offer powerful relief without the side effects that prescription and over-the-counter drugs can cause. Headaches and migraines, as well as their underlying causes, have been treated successfully with acupuncture and Oriental medicine for thousands of years.

migraine headache

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine do not recognize migraines and chronic headaches as one particular syndrome. Instead, there are a number of factors and meridians involved. For instance, if headaches are concentrated on the frontal aspect of forehead right above the eyes, we suspect imbalance in the bladder and liver meridians.

If headaches and migraines seem to affect the entire head, the most plausible culprit is too much heat being trapped inside the head. We educate our patients with energetic exercises, breathing techniques, and even diet changes, in order to treat the specific symptoms unique to each individual. Therefore, your diagnosis and treatment will depend on a number of variables. In diagnosing your individual issues, you may be asked a series of questions, including:

  • Is the headache behind your eyes and temples, or is it located more on the top of your head?
  • When do your headaches occur (i.e. night, morning, after eating)?
  • Do you find that a cold compress or a darkened room can alleviate some of the pain?
  • Is the pain dull and throbbing, or sharp and piercing?
  • Do you have more migraines right before or during your menstrual period?

Acupuncture stimulates specific points located on or near the surface of the skin to alter various biochemical and physiological conditions that cause aches and pains or illness. The length, number, and frequency of treatments will vary. Some headaches, migraines, and related symptoms are relieved after the first treatment, while more severe or chronic ailments often require multiple treatments.

Do you or someone you know suffer from headaches or migraines? Call today to find out how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help you!