Try these simple techniques for fast relief
Instead of giving your temples a rub when you have a headache, try massaging your hands and feet. It may sound unusual, but it works, thanks to reflexology. The healing method focuses on reflex points in your feet, hands, face, and ears that correspond with every part of your body, says Chantel C. Lucier, ARCB-certified reflexologist in New York City. By applying pressure to specific points, your body receives a message to relax.
“Reflexology is a great aid in pain reduction,” Lucier says. Consider it a complementary-care practice, though, not a substitute for medications. For a headache, a professional reflexologist would work all body points (called reflexes) to target the source of pain, but you can use the techniques below on yourself to find quick relief next time your head is pounding.
“Sometimes we feel we need pain in order to heal,” Lucier says. “But I believe pain tenses the body, and a body in tension can’t receptively heal itself.” Keeping that in mind, use gentle pressure and try each method for 1 to 15 minutes.
The Coin Rub
“This is the easiest way to work the head, neck, and sinus reflex areas,” Lucier says. This technique uses the fingers or toes, which both contain the same reflex points for the head and neck area. Try whichever is easiest for you—or both.
Press Here: Imagine you’re rubbing a coin between your thumb and pointer finger. Rub one toe or finger at a time between these two digits. From the base to the tip of each digit, rub slowly using consistent pressure that doesn’t go beyond your pain threshold.
The Hand Clasp
This gesture allows you to use ample pressure without exerting too much effort, Lucier says. “The action moves through reflexes to the neck, jaw and teeth," she explains. "Tension in those areas can be linked to headaches.”
Press Here: Interlock your fingers and clasp your hands together with firm pressure. Maintaining the interlock, release your palms away from each other. Then slowly pull your hands apart.
The Foot Rub
“When a child is sick, they often rub the inner parts of their feet together while lying down,” Lucier says. “This is relaxing, as the reflexes to the spine are housed on the inner part of the foot.” And since certain headaches are linked to tension, stress, and injury to parts of the spine, this can ease head pain too.
Press Here: Slip off your shoes and rub your inner feet together from heel to toe. You can also use one heel to rub up the entirety of the opposite foot and then switch sides.