Can Massage Therapy Help in Decreasing the Frequency of Migraines?
Migraine is an intense type of headache. It is usually accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, sensation of pins and needles and vision disturbances. Migraine is a severe headache, which greatly disturbs an individual’s daily life. Migraine can occur with or without ‘aura.’ Aura is one or more of the symptoms, which commonly occur before the actual migraine headache starts. Aura is a warning signal of the impending migraine. Chronic sufferers of migraine learn to perceive this as a warning signal. Migraines are believed to be caused by changes in the level of serotonin. Decreased serotonin levels cause constriction of the blood vessels in the brain which leads to ‘aura.’
The constricted blood vessels expand again causing increased blood rush to the brain and resulting in a severe headache. Other triggers of migraine are: Stress, sleep disturbances, fasting and dehydration, hormones (before menstruation or during menopause), bright or flashing lights, certain odors, smoking and cigarette smoke, alcohol consumption, extreme tiredness, muscle spasm, chocolate consumption, certain medications and caffeine consumption. Research has shown that regular massage decreases the frequency of migraines, sleep problems, stress and anxiety and leads to a better quality of sleep. Massage helps in increasing the serotonin level and thus results in benefits such as regulating sleep, mood, and appetite.
How Effective is Massage Therapy in Decreasing the Frequency of Migraines?
Massage therapy benefits a migraine headache in two ways. Firstly, it helps in prevention of migraine. Massage when done regularly helps in relaxation and reduction of stress levels. This in turn reduces the probability of the migraine attacks.
The second benefit of massage in migraine is curing the migraine. Massage relaxes the spasm or the tenseness in the muscles and this leads to abating of the migraine.
Cold Stone Massage Therapy for Migraines
- Cold stone massage therapy is effective in the treatment of migraines especially when it is used along with hot stone massage treatment.
- Cold stone massage therapy when applied along with ice help in relaxing the nerves in the head. Cold stones can be placed on the forehead, the anterior region of the neck and on the posterior region on the nape of the neck.
- Hot stones should be placed on the muscles in the upper chest and below the shoulder blades. This helps in relaxing the muscles present in these areas. Care should be taken not to place the hot stones close to the head or the neck as this further exacerbates the migraine or tension headache.