This remedy for headaches is something my wise and wonderful father taught me.
Ever since I was a little girl, whenever I would complain of a headache to my father, he would reach for my hand and start massaging the area between my thumb and index finger with his thumb. While this was painful (most times, I would recoil and pull away before he can even begin!), it was also extremely effective in relieving my headaches.
I’m not sure why this simple palm massage works. One theory says that the stimulation of pain while massaging that area distracts your nervous system from relaying the headache pain signals. Simply put, you’re tricking the pain from your headache into going away by switching your body’s attention from one type of pain to another. While this is interesting, it doesn’t explain why the relief lasts even after the massage is completed.
Perhaps a better reason why this works is the one offered by Chinese reflexologists—in that, the particular area on our palms is an acupressure point for the adrenal glands, and massaging it eases the blockage that was causing the headache.
Where on the palm to massage?
This area to massage is within the webbing of your hand between the thumb and finger next to it. Using your other hand’s thumb and index finger, look for a particularly sore or sensitive spot when pinched down firmly.
While it’s nice to have someone else massage your hand, you can also self-massage your palms easily, taking turns for each hand. The best part of this headache remedy is that you can do it anywhere—at work or while traveling.
Massaging through the pain is worthwhile
One thing I’ve noticed—the worse my headache was, the harder and tougher that area would be. At worse, it can feel like a tight, hard knot of muscle*. And the tougher the area, the more painful the healing massage would be. In those cases, even a soft press would be agony. However, because I know from experience just how effective the massage is, I would persist through the pain.
If you find the pain from the massage too much to bear, just start off with a slow press and a gentle circular motion, building up pressure gradually. The hard knot should loosen if you persist.
* Whenever I test this area while I’m feeling fine, it’s soft and pliable, which is its natural, healthy state.