Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

Someone has come up with a saying; “Migraines are the only time when taking a hammer to your own skull seems like an appropriate solution!” Migraine headaches are of course very hard to bear with. There are various ways to treat and manage migraine headaches; and one of the simplest and most natural ways is massaging to relieve your migraine. Massage has great benefits in various ways. In this article we will talk about how to relieve a migraine with massage.

Overview on Migraines and How Massage Can Relieve Migraine:

Migraine is a condition marked by an intense pain and throbbing in the head that is also at times accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to light in the patient suffering from the same. Apart from this, there are also some cases in migraines where these severe headaches are accompanied by specific warning signs like flashes of light, blind spots or even tingling in your limbs.

Though there is no great cure for migraine yet, there are certain medications developed today, which prove effective in reducing the symptoms of migraine. Apart from this, certain alternative therapies are also known to be beneficial in reducing the symptoms and frequency of migraine attacks. One of the most effective known alternative therapies to relieve a migraine is the massage therapy.

It is studied that some types of massage when done effectively aids in easing migraine pain. It is believed that massage helps in relieving the pain in migraine by releasing a chemical known as Serotonin; and that migraines and serotonin are somehow related. Apart from this, it is also believed that massaging may also block the pain signals being sent to the brain and this in turn can help prevent migraines.

Studies have revealed that patients who have undergone massage therapy experienced fewer migraines and had sound sleep.

8 Beneficial Massage Techniques for Relieving Migraine:

Here let us talk about various massage techniques that can be used for relieving a migraine.

Neuromuscular Massage to Relieve a Migraine:

Neuromuscular massage therapy is also known as Trigger point therapy, which is actually a massage that gives relaxation to the muscles when moderate pressure is applied to your body’s trigger points (or the spots in any muscle which are painful when stimulated by pressure or touch). It is believed that Neuromusclar massage therapy can help in reducing nerve compression and aid in relieving pain in the overworked muscles and thus help relieve migraine. Neuromuscular massage is thus used as a massage technique for reducing migraine headaches.

Massaging via Craniosacral Therapy to Relieve a Migraine:

This is another massage therapy, which involves a massage on the skull bones and the scalp of the patient suffering from migraine pain. All you need to do is lie back and your massage therapist would gently massage your skull bones and the scalp and your nerve endings would receive a fair attention, which relaxes the nerves and reduces migraine pain.

Reflexology to Relieve a Migraine:

Reflexology is one of the most known alternative therapies that is based on the pressure and massage of the points on the soles in the feet. This massage therapy can be used to relieve pain and stress and thus is beneficial in relieving a migraine. There are corresponding zones in the feet that correspond to all areas of the body. In reflexology, your therapist will manipulate these zones to relieve a migraine with massage.

Deep Tissue Massage to Relieve a Migraine:

Deep tissue massage therapy is one more massage technique, which can get you relief from pain and discomfort in migraine. Here, the therapist makes use of pressure, movement and stretching in order to get more comfort. This massage therapy would aid in improving blood circulation and thus help in reducing muscle stress, stiffness and tension. In deep tissue massage, deep finger pressure and slow strokes are used on the areas of the body that are affected by muscle aches or tensions. For relieving migraine headache, deep tissue massage would be done on shoulders and neck to relieve a migraine. However, it is not recommended in case of nerve injury and thus a doctor’s consultation is essential before going for this type of massage to relieve a migraine.

Rolfing to Relieve a Migraine:

Rolfing is one of the many variations of massage therapy which helps in relieving a migraine. This massage therapy is done by a Rolfing practitioner who applies deep pressure to your muscles by ratcheting down the muscle tautness, for easing the pain in migraine or headaches.

Shiatsu Massage Therapy to Relieve a Migraine:

Shiatsu massage therapy is a massage technique, which can be used to relieve a migraine headache. Based on the Oriental medicine, Shiatsu therapy claims that imbalances in gall bladder or liver can cause migraines. So, in Shiatsu therapy, the therapist looks for eradicating these ailments and relieves the migraine pain. With Shiatsu massage technique, as an initial treatment; the stagnant Ki or the blocked energy is dispersed from the gall bladder. Apart from this, gentle fingertip pressure is also applied in between the eyebrows that also shifts the Ki energy and helps you relieve the migraine. Similarly the liver energy channel lying on the leg can also receive the dispersing style shiatsu therapy to relieve a migraine.

Acupressure Techniques to Relieve a Migraine:

Acupressure techniques are also used to relieve migraine headaches. In Acupressure technique, gentle finger pressure at various stimulating points on the head is use to relieve the migraine. In Acupressure technique, the therapist helps the patients by calming the muscle tension and improving the blood circulation, which in turn relieves migraine headache.

Cold Stone Massage Therapy to Relieve a Migraine:

Cold Stone Massage Therapy is one more effective massage therapy for migraines, which makes use of cold stones. Here cold stones are applied with ice, which aids in relaxing the nerves in the head, which in turn helps in relieving migraine headaches. These cold stones are placed on the forehead, in the anterior or posterior region of the neck. Hot stone treatments can also be added to the cold stone therapy of massaging to relieve a migraine.

Special Massage Techniques For Relieving Migraines You Can Try At Home:

Here below are some of the massage techniques you can try at home by yourself for relieving migraines.

Self-Massage Technique-1

Firmly press your thumbs in to the bridge of your nose; just below your forehead. Make sure the directions of pressure you apply by your thumbs are in towards each other and up towards the head. It must be gentle and not create pain.

Hold this for about 10 seconds and take deep breaths.

Repeat it at least 2 to 4 times.

Self-Massage Technique-2

Place your thumbs under your forehead, just below the eyebrows and firmly apply pressure upwards towards your forehead. Make sure you are not pressurizing it and not causing any pain with the massage

Hold for 10 seconds and breathe deeply.

You can repeat one more time.

Self-Massage Technique-3

You can press the sides of your temple using your thumbs or the three middle fingers to relieve the migraine pain.

You can add circular motions of massaging for better results in relieving migraine. Do this massage for about 7-10 seconds.

Self-Massage Technique-4

Using your thumb and the index finger, pinch the skin tissue just below your eyebrow.

Do it firmly and hold it for 5-7 seconds.

Repeat again.

One of the most important things to note is, be sure you are drinking enough of water before and after doing these migraine relieving massage techniques at home.

Side Effects of Massage for Migraine Relief:

There are certain side effects of massage therapy to relieve a migraine, which must be known to you before you undergo or perform the massage for migraine.

  • Massage to relieve a migraine may cause internal bleeding.
  • There may be nerve damage at times when doing massage to relieve a migraine.
  • Temporary paralysis may be caused sometimes from massage to relieve a migraine.

Who Should Not Participate In The Massage Therapy For Migraine?

There are certain conditions and diseases where patients must not undergo massage for treating migraines and these are:

  • People suffering from kidney failure, heart failure etc. Should not try massage to relieve migraine.
  • Do not go for massage if you have blood clots.
  • Massage must be restricted if you have blood related disorders or bleeding.
  • Massage must not be done in case of any mental impairment.
  • Do not massage if you had recent surgery, fractures, osteoporosis etc.
  • In fever, massage must not be done.
  • Do not go for massage if you have open wounds.
  • Consult your doctor before massaging if you are in your pregnancy.

Conclusion

Massage can be effective in some people and can relieve migraines. However, we also talked about the side effects of massage therapy to relieve migraines and discussed the conditions or diseases where massage must not be done. So, it is important to consult your doctor before undergoing massage therapy to relieve migraine in order to keep yourself protected against any side effects of the massage therapy.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: January 25, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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