Hegu (LI4) – A point for almost any kind of pain relief, particularly for the pain around the face and head area.
Why is it called “Hegu”? “He” means to join, meet, or gather together. “Gu“ means a valley or the gap between the two mountains. Hegu is located at the area between the thumb and index finger at the point where those two metacarpals meet.
Think of the thumb and index finger as two mountains which make the energy to gather together there. Thus it makes Hegu of the important acupuncture points with the most extensive treatment range and has a systemic therapeutic effect.
It is the original acupuncture point of the large intestine meridian which connects to the head and face area. Therefore, it is a very good point to do self-massage for pain relief. This point is good for almost any kind of pain or issues around the head and face area, such as headache, migraines, toothache, bell's palsy, sore throat, etc.
Other Fun facts:
(1) Since Hegu connects to our face, besides for pain relief, it is also a very good cosmetic and beauty point. Massaging it 30 to 50 times each day on both hands can help improve skin allergies, dark circles, and other facial skin problems.
(2) In 1972, US President Nixon visited China, and Premier Zhou Enlai accompanied him to visit China to witness acupuncture anesthesia; a tiny silver needle gently twisted into Hegu point on the patient's hand to induce anesthesia. The needle is then connected to a mild electric current to create the anesthetized effect. The patient showed no pain during the entire procedure; prostatectomy. The operation scene shocked the President of the United States. The doctor told Nixon that the silver needle was inserted on the acupuncture point, and the meridian sense was transmitted into the head and neck and it could act as an anesthetic. This is also why almost all pains can be solved with the Hegu point.
(3) Hegu Point is also a first-aid point for awakening the mind and brain. It can be pressed when dizziness, vertigo, syncope, or seizures occur and you need to wake up. So if there is an emergency, you can apply strong pressure on this point for your friend or family member while waiting for the EMT to show up.
Important note: This point is a very powerful energy moving point, therefore, it should be used carefully when used for pregnant women. It is always better to check with the licensed acupuncturists if you are pregnant before doing any kind of self-acupressure.
Kuan Chen - Doctor of Acupuncture & Integrative Health