Monthly Archives: January 2015

Feel the Pressure!

I am prone to headaches. Not full blown migraines like some of my friends get, but your everyday tension headache. It is the most common type of headache, a pain in the head, scalp or neck that is a result of the surrounding muscles getting tense.woman-computer-drawing1

Tension headaches can be caused by stress, depression, anxiety, fatigue or any activity that causes the head to be held in one position for a long time. Like when I sit staring at the computer all day.

There are many ways to deal with this type of headache that do not include the use of medication. When I am feeling less than whole I like to use the simplest, least invasive techniques first and only resort to chemical alteration when nothing else has worked.

One of the simplest forms of headache relief is acupressure. Quick and easy, acupressure is a natural solution for tension headaches. Acupressure has been used in China for at least 2000 years and is recommended today by a growing number of wellness practitioners, massage therapists and even some enlightened doctors!

I am by no means skilled in acupressure but the points for relieving tension headaches are so simple that anyone can take matters into their own hands.

Head Accupressure WebThe first acupressure point for relieving headaches is called GB20. It is located below the base of the skull in the hollows on both sides of the neck. Put your hands on your head and use your thumbs to locate the depression at the base of your skull, about 2 inches out from the middle of your neck outside of the large muscles running down the back of your neck.

Press your thumbs in and slightly upward in the direction of your eyes. Press until you feel no more than a comfortable pain, then hold the pressure while you knead the points in very small circular movements for 1-2 minutes. Close your eyes and focus on the points as you press them. If the points are very tender ease off the pressure a bit.

The second acupressure point for relieving headaches is CO4, a hand point. Do not use this point during pregnancy!

Hand Accupressure Collage

This point is located on both hands, about 1 ½ inches in from the edge of the webbing between your thumbs and index fingers. Put your left thumb on the right hand point and your left index finger on the other (palm) side of the webbing to create a pinching motion. Squeeze and massage the point in very small circular movements for 1-2 minutes. Repeat on the other hand. Close your eyes and and focus on the points as you press them.

 

Stretch It First

I strained a muscle in my back. I couldn’t bend over and it hurt. Sound familiar?

As a massage therapist many people tell me “my body hurts but I don’t know what I did to cause it”. The same was true for me this time; I had no idea what I had done. My best guess was that I pulled something when I was hauling sand to the fairy garden, but I didn’t feel anything then. Of course I was having so much fun with the fairies that I wasn’t paying attention to my body mechanics.

The truth is I could probably have avoided that strain if I had stretched that morning before I got out of bed.

Most of us know to stretch before physical exercise, making sure to warm up before our workout. But do you stretch before you get out of bed to start your day? You have been lying down for 7-8 hours and your body is relaxed. Stretching before you get out of bed is an important part of maintaining flexibility and can be a great way to wake up. It is also super easy!

Lie on your back. Hug your knees to your chest. Take 3 deep breaths. Release.Stretch Pic Web

One of the simplest exercises to perform; it is a great stretch to release tension in the back and open the lumbar spine.

Add this quick stretch to your morning routine and enjoy more wellness!

If you have a little more time and want to increase your stretch try this additional exercise. Lie on your back. Pull one leg up to your chest while extending the opposite leg fully. Hold for 3 breaths then release. Repeat with the opposite leg. Hug both knees to your chest and take 3 deep breaths. Release legs.