To reduce and even prevent neck and shoulder tension, clinicians at the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine recommend patients practice stimulating this simple set of five acupressure points.
Common complaints are those of neck tightness, shoulder tension, and headache. These conditions may result from stress, inappropriate posture, or from environmental factors. Since the neck is a key passageway for many veins and arteries, including lymphatic circulation, as well as the endocrine, respiratory, and musculoskeletal systems, there are numerous secondary complaints that may arise from neck and shoulder tension such as headaches, insomnia, blurry vision, tinnitus, and allergic rhinitis. Thus, it is important to keep the shoulders loose and the neck free from tension. To reduce and even prevent neck and shoulder tension, clinicians at the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine recommend patients practice stimulating the following set of five acupressure points: GB 20 (Feng Chi), GB21 (Jian Jing), LI4 (He Gu), TE3 (Zhong Zhu), and LI10 (Shou San Li).
Gallbladder 20 (GB20): Feng Chi
This point is recommended for headache, migraine, eye blurriness or fatigue, low energy, and cold/flu symptoms. It is located by feeling the mastoid (ear) bone and following the groove back to where the neck muscles attach to the skull.
Gallbladder 21 (GB21): Jian Jing
This point is located by pinching the shoulder muscle with your thumb and middle finger and is commonly used for stress, facial pain, headaches, toothaches and neck pain. Use with caution in pregnant women.
Large Intestine 4 (LI4): He Gu
This point is good for stress, headaches, toothaches, facial pain and neck pain. However, as a word of precaution, it can induce labor and must never be used during pregnancy.
Triple Energizer 3 (TE3): Zhong Zhu
This point is located in the groove formed by the tendons of the 4th and 5th finger, behind the knuckles and is commonly used in the clinic for temporal headaches, shoulder and neck tension, and upper back pain.
Large Intestine 10 (LI10): Shou San Li
This point is is located on the outer surface of the forearm and three fingers breadth below the elbow crease when the elbow is bent 90 degrees. This point is commonly used for neck tightness, shoulder pain, diarrhea, and tennis elbow.
- Fernández-de-Las-Peñas C, Ge HY, Alonso-Blanco C, González-Iglesias J, Arendt-Nielsen L. Referred pain areas of active myofascial trigger points in head, neck, and shoulder muscles, in chronic tension type headache. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2010 Oct;14(4):391-6. Epub 2009 Aug 3.
- Rains JC, Poceta JS, Penzien DB. Sleep and headaches. Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep. 2008 Mar;8(2):167-75.