Press here for your head
There’s nothing like a throbbing noggin to wreck your day. But instead of reflexively reaching for painkillers that can have side effects, you could actually help your body heal itself: In traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture and acupressure have been used for pain management for thousands of years, and it looks like Western science may finally be catching up. “Science is showing more and more that the stimulation of certain pressure points can affect the neural fibers in the brain as well as the peripheral nervous system,” says Paul Robison, a licensed acupuncturist based in Washington, D.C. and the founder of liveloveflourish.com.
The theory is that stimulating certain nerves can trigger physiological responses like the release of endorphins (the body’s natural painkillers) and the feel-good neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin. The right pressure points for headache pain may also help blood vessels dilate, improving circulation and relaxing muscle tissue. “It’s all about releasing tension and restoring balance in the body,” Robison says.
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