Working from home is great in many ways - zero commute, the ability to wear sweatpants all day, etc. But it has drawbacks in terms of posture and ergonomics, especially if you end up working from the couch by the end of the day. Over time poor posture can lead to what is known as Upper Cross Syndrome, which basically means your shoulder, upper back, chest and neck muscles are out of balance, likely leading to tight muscles, pain, and possibly tension headaches.
My Favorite Acupressure Points to Release Neck and Shoulder Tension - And Headaches
To perform acupressure, you simply apply pressure to these points using your fingers, thumbs or a tennis or lacrosse ball. Take deep belly breaths while you massage and activate the points, and be mindful to relax your jaw and eyes. Aim to take five minutes to do all of the five points, spending 30 seconds to a minute on each point. If possible, repeat three times during your workday.
The Hegu Point (translated as Joining Valley) for Stress, Necks Pain and Headaches
Hegu is on the Large Intestine channel and is located between your thumb and index finger. The point is very meaty and muscular feeling and should feel tender with pressure. Hegu is commonly used to treat stress, facial pain, headaches and neck pain. (*Note: avoid stimulating this point if you are pregnant).
Tai Chong (translated as "Great Surge") for Stress, Menstrual Cramps, Anxiety and Insomnia
Tai Chong’s location is similar to Hegu’s but on the foot, between the big toe and second toe. Press down firmly between the toe webbing, going up about 1-1.5 inches until you feel a tender spot. Tai Chong is commonly used for stress, menstrual cramps, insomnia and anxiety. Together, Hegu and Tai Chong are a powerful point combination called the Four Gates, which strongly move Qi and blood throughout the body to reduce stagnation and pain.
Jing Jian (translated as Shoulder Well) for Shoulder Tension & Headaches
Jing Jian is located on the "Gallbladder channel". It is located at the highest point of the shoulder, in the muscle tissue of the upper trapezius. Try pressing down firmly with your fingers while gently stretching your neck toward your opposite shoulder. You can also pinch this area between your fingers and gently tug to release the trigger points within the muscle. Jing Jian is used to treat pain, neck and shoulder tension and headaches. (*Note: avoid stimulating this point if you are pregnant).
Feng Chi (translated as Wind Pool) for Headaches, Migraines and Eye Fatigue
Feng Chi is also on the Gallbladder channel, near the insertion of the upper trapezius. It is located in a hallow at the base of the skull behind the mastoid bone. Massage this area while breathing deeply for 30 seconds. You may notice that you get a radiating sensation to your jaw or shoulders. Feng Chi is used to treat headache, migraine, eye fatigue and symptoms of cold and flu.
Zhong Zhu (translated as Central Islet) to Activate Your Brain
Zhong Zhu is located in the groove formed by the tendons of the pinky and ring finger behind the knuckles. It is commonly used for temporal headaches, shoulder and neck tension and upper back pain. In studies this point has been shown to activate different parts of the brain, which may promote circulation and tension release.
This article was originally published on the Turning Pointe Acupuncture blog and has been republished here with the permission of the author.