In particular, eyebrow massage is beneficial for addressing headaches. The ancient technique is common in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). “Massaging the eyebrows has a multitude of benefits for the head, eyes, sinuses, and skin,” Shari Auth, DACM, LAC, LMT, co-founder and chief healing officer of WTHN, a modern acupuncture and TCM clinic in New York City. “Eyebrow massages are especially important for people who get optical headaches or have tired eyes after too much screen time, as they relax the eye area.”
What to know before giving yourself an eyebrow massage for headaches
Before undertaking the at-home eyebrow massage, it’s important to note the three main points of the eyebrows: head, body, and tail. The head, known as the Zan Zhu point in TCM, is located at the start of the brows, closest to the center of your face. “This point is used to relieve forehead tension, frontal headaches, sinus congestions, blurry or watery eyes, and reduce 11s wrinkles,” Dr. Auth says.
The overall body, known as Yuyao in TCM, addresses all of the above, too, as well as eyelid twitching. While the tail, known as the Si Zhu Kong point in TCM, helps relieve optical headaches.
How to do a 30-second eyebrow massage for headache relief
One technique used to perform an eyebrow massage is called eyebrow pinching. “It stems from marma point massage therapy,” explains Clinton Kyles, CMT, a massage therapist for Squeeze. Marma points can be compared to the acupressure points used in TCM. Besides stress and headache relief, brow pinching also helps to detoxify and increase blood and lymph circulation and vitality, according to Kyles.
While every headache is different, targeting the three main points of the brow is a must. “Press your thumbs firmly towards each other and into the bridge of your nose, just underneath your forehead,” says Kyles. “Hold this for three deep breaths and release slowly and repeat as needed.”
Moving on to outer brows, he says to use a smooth facial oil or serum to gently glide along the arc of the brow from the bridge of the nose to the temples, using your index finger. Repeat the process for the eye sockets.
“Lastly, interlace the fingers on the forehead and eyebrows and sweep them open into the temples, applying more targeted pressure to the area,” Kyles says. Even if you don’t have a headache, eyebrow pinching is a great way to feel instantly refreshed, reduce puffiness, and lift the brows.
Watch this video to see the technique in action: