Acupressure and acupuncture are treatments used to manage the pain caused by a variety of conditions. This includes headaches, with acupuncture for migraine relief being particularly popular. Headaches and migraines can be linked to stress, so acupressure may also reduce the wider symptoms of an anxiety disorder.

What are acupressure and acupuncture?

Originating in China thousands of years ago, acupuncture involves inserting needles into the body to relieve or even prevent pain and illness. The needles are very fine and are placed at specific pressure points on the body depending on the condition you are trying to treat.

Perhaps less famous but closely related, acupressure also involves pressure points, often in the same places as acupuncture but without the needles. Instead, physical force is applied through devices including balls, rollers and mats.

In traditional practice, acupuncture and acupressure are about the flow of energy, or “Qi”, through the body. Qi is your life force and travels through channels known as meridians. Pain and ill health occur when the Qi is blocked, but acupuncture and acupressure restore Qi to its natural flow and remove bad energy.

Research suggests that acupuncture can trigger a response from your body’s systems and sensory nerves. Endorphins may be released that help relieve pain. This is why acupuncture for headaches is considered so effective and has become a primary use of the treatment. Acupressure follows similar principles.

Acupuncture and acupressure can complement contemporary medicine, but you should discuss any treatment plan with your doctor. Always ensure the person giving you the treatment is qualified and accredited.

Migraines and anxiety

The exact causes of migraines are uncertain, but stress is sometimes known to be a factor. Although everyone experiences some stress in their lives, for people with anxiety disorders, even small things can be upsetting and they may spend most of their lives unable to relax. This can increase the risk of tension headaches and migraines.

Acupressure and acupuncture for migraine relief and anxiety

There are multiple ways that acupuncture may ease some of the symptoms of an anxiety disorder. One of these is in treating symptoms such as headaches that may be aggravated by anxiety and stress. Acupressure can be used in similar situations. Reducing the pain of a migraine or tension headache will not just relieve an extreme source of discomfort; it will make you better able to cope with the causes and other symptoms of your anxiety.

Anxiety can also cause the body to enter a prolonged state of its “fight or flight” response during which your heart rate, blood pressure and various stress-related hormones all increase. This hormone production may be reduced by acupressure or acupuncture. This, in turn, will allow the body to switch from its sympathetic nervous system to the parasympathetic nervous system, which controls the body at rest.

Anxiety disorders can cause headaches, including migraines, so it seems logical that if acupuncture can treat the second, it would also be able to reduce the first. Acupressure is closely related to acupuncture in methodology and purpose. Acupressure and acupuncture for migraine relief are ways to help relieve anxiety disorders to make you feel less stressed and better able to face your day-to-day life.