Although it is not yet proven how acupressure works, there is some evidence to suggest that when performed properly, it may help relieve pain and tension around the body. Activating ear pressure points may help ease symptoms of tinnitus, headache, earache, and more.
Acupressure is a type of alternative or complementary medicine. It has played a vital role in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for thousands of years.
The core technique of acupressure therapies involves applying pressure with the fingers to certain points on the body. The applied pressure sends a signal to the body to start healing itself.
Many believe that, if applied regularly and to the right areas, acupressure can help treat symptoms related to the ears and prevent symptoms from returning.
The following are acupressure points that may help a person find relief for ears- and head-related problems.
The ear apex, or erjian, is a pressure point used to treat a variety of symptoms. It is at the very top center of the ear, also called the apex.
Many believe that stimulation of the ear apex pressure point can play a role in alleviating migraines and help with earaches and tension headaches.
Crown of the head
The acupressure point located at the crown of the head, in line with the tips of the ears, is also known in TCM as the Governor Vessel 20, GV 20, DU 20, or baihui. There is anecdotal evidence to suggest that activating this pressure point may help with tinnitus.
Tinnitus is a condition in which a person hears a noise, such as humming or ringing, in their ears when there is no outside source of the sound.
The daith point is at the smallest fold of cartilage in the ear, just above the opening to the ear toward the front.
According to the American Migraine Foundation (AMF), some people pierce the daith because of the reported relief to migraine pain.
However, the AMF add that reports of success are purely anecdotal and that there is no research to support this theory. Acupressure practitioners claim that activating this pressure point may help with tension or migraine headaches.
Space between the forefinger and thumb
The union valley, also known as the LI 4 or the hegu pressure point in TCM, is an acupressure point located in the skin between the forefinger and thumb. This pressure point may help alleviate pain in various parts of the body.
An older study from 1999 recommends using hand acupressure points to address any ailment for which people typically recommend acupressure.
There is a point located along the hairline near the temple, one on each side of the head. Acupressure practitioners refer to this point as ST 8 or touwei.
In a 2006 study, researchers found that using these two points provided an effective treatment for tinnitus.
Applying pressure to the temples may help alleviate ear and head pain.
The evidence is anecdotal, although some people may find relief for their headaches or earaches by rubbing their temples when the pain starts to come on.
Center of the forehead
In the center of the forehead, just above the bridge of the nose and between the eyes, is a point known as the third eye. TCM practitioners also refer to it as yintang or EX HN 3.
Activating this pressure point may help alleviate pain in the head, eyes, and ears.
There is anecdotal evidence that this point may also help with tinnitus.
Base of the skull
There is an acupressure point located at the center of the base of the skull. TCM practitioners refer to it as GV 16 or fengfu.
According to a 2015 study, applying pressure to this point is good for relieving local pain and pain in other areas of the body.
Ear gate, also referred to as ermen, san jiao 21, or SJ 21, is right in front of where the earlobe starts.
Many believe that applying pressure to ear gate can help alleviate head pains and tinnitus.
The pressure point located slightly behind the earlobe may help with tinnitus, earaches, and headaches.
There are several studies that look at the effectiveness of acupressure.
Although the studies vary in size, quality, and the condition they analyze, most find that using acupressure to treat various conditions has favorable results.
A 2015 review of studies looked at data on acupressure of the ear for treating a variety of illnesses, including pain in different parts of the body.
The researchers found that acupressure can positively affect people’s symptoms. However, it is still unclear what the exact mechanisms of acupressure are.
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) state that activating acupuncture pressure points may play a role in decreasing the occurrence of tension headaches and fending off migraine headaches.
The NCCIH caution that while it is reasonable for people with chronic pain to consider acupuncture as a possible solution, there is no consensus in clinical practice guidelines about acupuncture recommendations.
A person interested in using acupressure should seek guidance from their doctor, who may provide information or refer them to a certified acupuncture specialist, who can provide therapy and instruction.
If applied properly, acupressure may help alleviate ear symptoms, such as pain, ringing, or humming in the ears.
A person may want to consult a healthcare provider before self-administering a massage, in order to make sure they have the proper technique.
An acupuncturist may help a person identify the best spots for them and what symptoms they can relieve.