Acupressure Power Points for Headaches – Large Intestine 4

Too Many Points

You have anywhere from 600 to 1,000 acupuncture/acupressure points throughout your body. How can you even begin to know all these points?

Well, the point is, no pun intended, that you do not have to. You can utilize 50 or so of the most powerful points to help your clients.

Some of the acupressure points help more than one malady. You will find certain “master points” that are more powerful than some of the other hundreds of points.

Are Needles More Effective Than Pressure?

How can I get people better if I am not an acupuncturist or dry needler? You do not have to use needles to achieve great benefit. Consequently, a benefit of acupressure is that when you apply pressure to a properly selected, you will see results in less than a minute. You provided your client a tool to benefit them years down the road. However, if you are unsuccessful, you have wasted a mere 45 seconds of your client’s life.

My expert acupuncture instructor in Shanghai, Dr. Zhang, was the head acupuncturist of the Chrysler Automotive Assembly plant.  He informed me that acupressure can be just as effective as acupuncture if the points used are located on the surface of the body.  For instance, rubbing an area in the elbow can be effective because several points can be accessed with one technique. On the other hand, a point deep in the hamstrings, would require a needle for maximum effect.

Consider Large Intestine 4 Acupressure Point

The Chinese name for the Large Intestine 4 (LI 4) point is Hegu, which means converging valley. Find this point in the web space between your thumb and forefinger.

Use your second, third or fourth finger to apply pressure to this point on the back of your hand. Do not use your thumb, as it is usually too big. It will cover the “converging valley” as the point is at the bottom of the valley within the web space of the first and second fingers.

Therefore, use your narrower fingers to target the point more precisely. Apply counterpressure with your thumb to the palmar side of your web space. Maintain pressure on this point from 20-60 seconds to see the effects on the headache.

What Can this Large Intestine 4 Point Do for My Clients?

First and foremost, this point relieves frontal headaches. Eye and sinus pressure may lighten up as well. In addition, as I maintain pressure on this LI 4 point, I may feel the point in-between my fingers soften. Oftentimes the headache fades as the point softens.

Secondly, the upper trapezius muscle may be tender and tight. This muscle descends from the head through the upper shoulder. A tight upper trapezius causes many headaches. However, you may feel this muscle soften as you apply pressure to the LI 4 point. A softer upper trapezius may mean a softer headache.

Thirdly, if a client has difficulty raising the shoulder up, pressing the LI 4 point may result in them lifting the shoulder higher! It does not work for every case of decreased shoulder mobility, but when it does, clients are quite impressed. Hip strength also can increase, though the visual results are not quite as dramatic. Speculation on my part is that the acupressure point releases the fascial tissue that has been clamping down in the shoulder movement in an abnormal protective reaction.

Finally, if your client is lying flat, and you feel a tension in the hamstring with a limited straight leg raise, try the LI 4 point. You may find a sudden release of the hamstring tightness. This point, along with several others we will discuss in another blog, improve hamstring flexibility immediately.

Do Not Use Large Intestine 4 Acupressure Point If You Are Pregnant!!!

A renowned acupuncture textbook states that one purpose for LI 4 is for “delayed labor.” In other words, if you are trying to get pregnant or are pregnant, avoid this point!

Acupuncturists utilize the point for abdominal pain and for menstrual issues. LI  4 seems cause relaxation in the abdominal area. Of course, you do not want this effect prematurely if you are with child!

Consequently, even though the LI 4 point is distant from the area of action, it has wide-ranging effects throughout the body. It is one of the “master points.”

Other Uses for Large Intestine 4

My textbooks report the LI 4 point can be used for numerous maladies. Included among them are toothache pain, lockjaw, trigeminal neuralgia, wrist pain, hemiplegia, neck pain, elbow pain, asthma, depression, throat soreness and constipation. Whew!

Personally, I find I like using this point for effects that can be felt and observed immediately, such as headache relief or increased shoulder elevation. For neck pain and stomach upset, I find there are other points that I can get more consistent results with. However, if you want headache relief, this point both literally and figuratively is front and center!


You understand that if not done properly, some techniques and exercises described in this blog could harm you. Any activities you perform are at your own risk, and you expressly agree to waive any claims against the author for any harm that may arise from your own actions. By reading this blog and conducting these exercises, you accept this risk. This blog provides content related to physical and/or mental health issues. As such, your use of techniques described acts as your acceptance of this disclaimer.

-Consult Chapter 2 in my book, “Calming the Headache Storm” to make sure the headache is not the sign of a more serious problem. The techniques, advice and strategies contained in this blog may not be suitable for every individual and should be abandoned if your headache increases. Seek the advice of your physician.






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