How to Do a Migraine Massage – Headache Relief

17. How to Do a Migraine Massage1
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People with migraines have had some success using massage therapy to manage their pain. You must comprehend both the condition and the benefits of massage therapy for treating pain if you are to assist your clients who suffer from migraines.

Pain is unpleasant for everyone, but migraineurs may experience crippling pain that interferes with both their personal and professional lives. Finding relief from migraines, whether they occur occasionally or frequently, is a top priority. Preferably, that relief should be dependable.

Are Massages Good for Migraines?

Yes, in a nutshell. If you experience frequent migraines, Dr. According to Mafee, massaging your head can still be very effective at reducing pain. You can do it as soon as the pain first appears, right in the middle of a migraine, or even while curled up in bed waiting for your prescription medications to take effect.

How Does a Massage for Migraine Work?

According to the ancient Chinese therapy technique of acupressure, migraine massages relieve pain by applying precise pressure. Applyingpressure to certain points on the body alters the pain messages your nerves send to your brain, which means you’ll end up feeling less pain than before, per the national health institutes

So, in theory, Dr. Mafee explains that by using a rubbing motion on certain “pressure points” with your fingers, you’ll find some pain relief in that area. You should rub your temples because the pain from migraines is frequently felt on one or both sides of the head.

Consider speaking with a neurologist to determine if this technique is appropriate for you and your pain before beginning to massage your head. You may require a different course of treatment.

Types of Massage for Migraine Relief

Both relaxing and vigorous massages are possible. Stones can be either hot or cold. It can concentrate on your feet or perform miracles above your neck.

When it comes to treating headaches, are there any that work better than others? Yes, but it might be different for you than for someone else. Your preferences, your triggers, and ultimately your results will determine the best type of massage for your migraines.

Here is a list of massage types whose use has been supported by published scientific research in case you’re considering them as a potential option.

Traditional and Aromatherapy Massage

Traditional massage relieves stress and encourages relaxation. You might feel even better if you combine it with aromatherapy, in which the practitioner incorporates essential oils into the session. According to research, lavender essential oil can reduce stress and encourage restful sleep. Even one study suggests that using lavender essential oil in aromatherapy can lessen migraine symptoms.

Remember that even seemingly safe and natural essential oils can cause harm. Some can make people who are sensitive to smells experience headaches or other symptoms.

Trigger Point Massage

Trigger-point massages on the head and neck can provide headache relief for some people. The theory behind its effectiveness is that skeletal muscle issues can cause pain to travel to your head. When you “release” those muscles, your chronic headaches ease up.

Trigger point massage for migraines has received limited but encouraging research. In one study, medication alone was not found to be as effective at relieving migraines as trigger point therapy.


In this kind of massage, the therapist presses on various areas of your hands or feet. The idea behind trigger point massage is that by stimulating one area of your body, you can encourage health and healing in an additional area. It can at least induce calmness, which is crucial if you frequently experience migraines. Several studies show some specific benefits of reflexology:

  • Greater relaxation
  • Improved sleep
  • Lower stress levels
  • Decreased pain
17. How to Do a Migraine Massage2

Thai Massage

Thai massage is active in contrast to a typical Western massage, which is relaxing. Compression, stretching, pulling, and rocking of the muscles are all combined. There is a connection between it and migraines with less severe pain. Think of it as a component of a comprehensive, self-care migraine management strategy, but don’t hesitate to speak up if the treatment starts to hurt.

Also Read:What Is the Difference Between Thai Massage & Deep Tissue?

Hot Or Cold Stone Therapy

Pain and discomfort have long been treated with hot and cold therapy (imagine heating pads and ice packs). By using heated or cooled, ultra-smooth stones, hot or cold stone therapy accomplishes similar goals.

One of the main advantages of hot stone massage, which combines the use of warm stones with the hands of the massage therapist, is that heat has a tendency to induce relaxation. Long after your session is over, studies show that hot stone massage can help you sleep better. (Also Read: Side Effects of Hot Stone Massage Therapy)

Cooled, portable stones are placed along your face and neck as part of cold stone therapy for migraines. The specific method hasn’t been thoroughly studied in the scientific literature, but cold therapy has, with good success, for migraine and other pain.

Breakdown of a Migraine Attack

Contrary to what was previously believed, migraine is a neurological disease.

Peter Goadsby, M.D., who is a neurologist and headache specialist at the University of California San Francisco, describes the disease as “an inherited tendency to have headaches with sensory disturbance. The way the brain processes incoming sensory information is unstable, and changes in physiological state like sleep, exercise, and hunger can have an impact on this instability.”1

A variety of factors can trigger migraines, but there are also many interventions that can lessen their severity.

Let’s start by looking at the progression of migraines. Four phases cycle through each migraine.2 For those who experience migraines, the accompanying symptoms during each phase can vary greatly.

Phase 1—Prodrome

There may be indicators of an impending migraine up to 72 hours before the pain begins. These symptoms can include extreme fatigue or hyperactivity, trouble concentrating, a craving for certain foods, sleepiness, and neck pain.

Phase 2—Aura

Although only one-third of people with migraines experience it, the most frequently reported aura is visual. Sparkly spots, zigzag lines, or tunnel vision are all types of visual disturbances that can cause a person’s vision to be blurred for 20 to 60 minutes. Other symptoms of an aura include vertigo, tinnitus, and even momentary paralysis on one side of the body.

Phase 3—Headache

This stage’s discomfort is frequently described as throbbing, piercing, or pulsating. Additionally, the patient might have sensory issues with smell, sound, and light. The symptoms typically get worse when you exercise. This stage may last several days or for hours. Most people look for solace in a silent, dark space.

Phase 4—Postdrome

After the discomfort has subsided, the body needs time to recover. One might experience fatigue, sluggishness, confusion, and even depression.

Pressure Points for Migraine Massage

There are numerous pressure points on the body that can be massaged to reduce migraine symptoms.

Hand: Union Valley

A pressure point on the top of the hand between the base of the thumb and the index finger is known as Union Valley or Hegu. This area is thought to have healing properties that can help with headaches and anxiety.

Face: Third Eye and Drilling Bamboo

The third eye, also known as Yin Tang, is a pressure point on the middle of the forehead, between the eyebrows. The tension in the head, face, and eyes can be eased by applying pressure to this area.

Drilling bamboo, also known as Zanzhu, refers to two pressure points that are situated where the brow bone ridges and the nose bridge converge. These points can be pressed to relieve sinus pressure and eye strain-related headache pain.

Ear: Ear Gate, Daith, and Ear Apex

The pressure point known as the ear gate, or Ermen, connects the ear to the head and is situated in the upper region of the base of the ear. It is possible to reduce ear and jaw pressure by applying pressure to this area, which can help reduce migraine and tension headache symptoms.

The term “daith” describes a piece of cartilage that is situated above the ear canal opening. Applying pressure to this point, or ear piercing to the area, may help relieve migraines by altering stimulation of the trigemina and vagus nerves that contribute to migraine pain.

The middle of the top of the earlobe is home to the ear apex, or Erjian. It is thought that pressing on this area can help to alleviate earaches, migraines, and tension headaches.

The Best Time to Get a Massage for a Migraine

The best way to lessen the impact of migraines on your life may be to regularly receive massage therapy, but many people lack the time or resources to do so. At the first sign of a migraine or even during one, massage therapy is the next best thing.

According to the AMTA, if you recognize it in time, you might be able to stop it from developing into a full-fledged attack. Research indicates that massage therapy might stop your head from throbbing if it is already doing so.

How to Find the Right Therapist

The ability to relax your body and mind should be possessed by any skilled massage therapist. You’ll need to do some research if you want to find a massage therapist who is knowledgeable about the benefits of massage for treating migraines.

  • Finding a therapist in your area is as simple as using the AMTA website. Use the search term “migraine,” in addition to your city.
  • Find a headache clinic nearby that offers massage on your own or through your doctor.
  • Before scheduling a massage, find out if the therapist has completed a continuing education course on massage for migraines. This course provides information on migraines and the best types of massage to relieve migraine pain.

Additionally, you have the option of practicing massage therapy yourself. For advice on technique, speak to your headache physician or a reputable massage therapist. Also keep in mind the age-old technique of acupressure, which has a long history of use for relieving pain and headaches. Squeeze the fleshy tissue at the base of your left thumb and forefinger using your right thumb and forefinger. Switch hands after applying pressure and massaging the area for five minutes.


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