Headache Acupoint, LI 4

woman with headacheLarge Intestine 4 is known as the “headache acupoint.”

 Squeeze Large Intestine 4 (LI 4) quite strongly to relieve headaches.
In some cases, it also helps to relieve toothache pain. All of the acupoints have names. The numbering system was created long after the original names were given to points. LI 4 is known as Hegu, or “Joining Valley.”
Right there in the web between your thumb and first finger is a great point for relieving headaches.  It doesn’t work all of the time, but it is always worth a try!

Locating LI 4*:

First, bring your thumb into contact with your hand. Notice the crease that is formed, and also notice the high point of tissue at the beginning of the crease. That high point located at the base of the crease is where LI 4 is located.

Headache Acupoint

Keep contact with that location, open your thumb, and squeeze the point between using the first finger and thumb of your other hand. Massage the point with plenty of pressure, moving a little distance in all directions until you feel a particularly “zingy” sensation – that is the point!

Headache Acupoint 2

Headache Acupoint 3
The sensation of pain in the point is due to the energy getting stuck or stagnated.
By massaging the point, you are getting the energy moving. When the energy is flowing again, it flows down from your head. The flowing energy relieves the pain from stagnant energy in your head.

Stagnated energy at a point is similar to encountering stopped traffic on an interstate highway. Hundreds of cars backing up and waiting while the drivers and passengers get cranky. The longer the wait, the bigger the stagnation, and the larger the irritation. Then you get the signal to start driving again – what a relief! The traffic is moving and the point that was holding everyone up is open and flowing.

Get the energy moving through LI 4 again in order to relieve the headache. Like all acupoints, LI 4 is located on both sides of the body, so be sure to massage it on both hands.

**Large Intestine 4 is contraindicated during pregnancy.  Do not use LI 4 during pregnancy.

Cindy Black

Cindy Black is the Founder of Big Tree School of Natural Healing and the author of Meridian Massage, Pathways to Vitality. She is appreciated for her ability to make the complex accessible, fun, and practical.


  1. Name *ANA on November 7, 2019 at 3:00 am

    G R A C I A S

  2. […] Ponts to relieve coughs and headaches […]

  3. simi on March 10, 2016 at 2:15 am

    Thank you..cindy…it really helped me relieving the pressure.. thanks much

    • Cindy Black, L.Ac., LMT on March 10, 2016 at 8:23 am

      Wonderful, I’m glad you are feeling better.

  4. Mary Kendall on February 10, 2015 at 12:57 pm

    Many thanks I sort of have had a dull ache at the back of my head but after applying LI4 several times I feel that the energy that had got stuck is now “perfect” Many thanks Cindy x

    • Cindy Black, L.Ac., LMT on February 10, 2015 at 1:31 pm

      Happy to help Mary 🙂

  5. Rodney Hoskins on January 28, 2013 at 12:09 am

    I really like the traffic analogy.

    • Cindy Black on January 28, 2013 at 7:13 am

      Thanks Rodney. When I get stuck in traffic it gives me a chance to think about many things. Wondering how my external situation might be mirroring my internal world helps me to stay a little calmer while I wait…and wait…and wait. 🙂

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