Migraines and Massage Therapy

Whether or not you are taking prescription and over-the-counter medications for migraine relief you might find that regular massage is helpful in managing migraine headaches. Massage in general is a powerful stress relief and stress is considered a trigger of migraine headaches.

Recent studies examining the effect of massage therapy on migraines reported very positive results. The massage therapy subjects reported fewer distress symptoms, less pain, more headache free days and fewer sleep disturbances. They also showed an increase in serotonin levels, a neurotransmitter found in the brain that is important in reducing pain. The idea is that a massage can decrease stress, promote well being and help reduce migraine frequency and pain.

When A Migraine Attacks – Self Help:

At the onset of a migraine, try massaging your own face, head, neck and shoulders, or ask a friend or family member to do it for you. It is important to relax your muscles and try to get as comfortable as possible. Here are some massage techniques to try yourself:

– Place your thumbs on each side of the spine, in the hollows between the neck muscles just below the base of the skull. Tilt your head back and press firmly for two to three minutes, breathing deeply.

– Press the web between your thumb and forefinger with the thumb and index finger of your opposite hand. Press hard for one minute, breathing deeply and then repeat with the other hand.

Professional Massage Therapy:

If you do decide to try massage with a registered therapist, there are various forms available and it can be a little daunting perhaps in choosing one. You may find that it is a case of experimentation where you attempt several before finding one that is right for you.

In deep-tissue / sports massage therapy, the therapist uses pressure and stretching to reduce tension in the body, especially in the neck and shoulders area. Deep-tissue massages help improve circulation of oxygenated blood in the area and reduce muscle tension. Typically, a deep tissue massage therapist focuses on specific areas of the body to relieve pain through the use of deep finger pressure, slow strokes and accupressure techniques..

Addressing stress and physical aches with a massage may provide wonderful results for those who suffer from migraines and at the very least, will hopefully provide a respite from a stressful day.

(This entry is the result of online research carried out by The Massage Lab)

26th June 2011