Hand & Foot
What is a Migraine or Tension Headache Massage?
Migraines affect numerous people in the country and across the globe. Did you know that migraine headaches impact nearly forty million people in the US alone? This, of course, is no small number. More and more migraine sufferers seek relief via migraine and tension headache massage. While there are many approaches to migraine massage, the end goal is to ease the stress and pain that migraines can cause, as such headaches can often come on without warning.
What are the typical symptoms of a migraine headache, or a more general tension headache for that matter? While symptoms vary from person to person, one usually common characteristic of these headaches is that the sufferer feels as though they have a tight band wrapped around their head. Stress can generally trigger this sensation and thus lead to a full-on migraine. Stress, however, is not the only cause of migraines. There are also some other such triggers to include:
- Poor posture
- Certain foods/beverages such as caffeine and fatty/oily foods
- Poor sleep habits
- Too much alcohol
- Hormonal changes
- Being overworked
This list scratches the surface. Migraines and tension headaches can also lead to more debilitating dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. Using migraine massage to help alleviate headaches has proven to work wonders in some people.
What types of massage are used for Tension Headaches?
There are, of course, various types of scalp massages that can go a long way toward helping to reduce symptoms associated with tension headaches. Often, aromatherapy will be incorporated to amp up the relaxation factor further and thus reduce stress levels. Certain essential oils have been shown to decrease pain associated with migraines and other headache types. Peppermint oil, for one, can help create a truly relaxing experience overall. Some massage therapists may also introduce cold stones into the migraine massage treatment process. The introduction of cold can have a calming and soothing effect for those suffering from migraines.
The complete migraine massage will generally involve a scalp, neck, and shoulder massage, as tension can reside in these areas and exacerbate the effects of any headache. Integrating facial massage can be another generous layer for pinpointing those painful/tense regions and diminishing the pain.
What Other Massages Alleviate Migraine Headaches?
Beyond those massage techniques specifically addressing the head/face and neck areas, other massages can promote better health and help diminish the pain of a migraine headache. For example, deep tissue is one such massage that has been shown to help people relax and, while relaxing, reduce their tension levels. This, in turn, can help with head pain.
Swedish massage is another one that many migraine sufferers will turn to to help with the source of their pain. Those massages also utilize trigger points to reduce headaches, pain, and tension. Below is a breakdown of a couple of different massages and massage techniques that may be useful for migraine pain reduction and relief.
Deep Tissue Massage
The great thing about deep tissue massage is that it works on those inner layers of muscle. Poor posture is one of the leading instigators of tension-related headaches. The therapist will often focus on those deeper muscles around the neck and shoulder area during a deep tissue massage. The suboccipital forces, especially (those found at the base of the skull), can take a beating due to poor posture and thus need attention. When you experience a tension headache, these muscles are generally associated with the specific pain involved. During a deep tissue massage, the therapist will work on breaking up muscle adhesions and incorporating techniques that, over time, can help to improve posture, thereby reducing the number of headaches a person experiences.
Swedish massage can be intense at times, though it uses less pressure than a deep tissue massage. Among the many cited benefits of Swedish massage is tension headache relief. Any message, particularly a Swedish massage, is designed to stimulate parts of the nervous system. This, in turn, helps lower the heart rate, improve blood flow and inhibit the production of hormones that can cause stress. Swedish Massage can also release serotonin; when this happens, mood-enhancing chemicals are active, and they can help with pain relief. All of these things, without question, can help reduce the pain and tension associated with migraine headaches.
Trigger Point Therapy
As far as trigger point therapy, this is generally an accompaniment to Swedish or deep tissue massage, among other massage types. Studies have shown that specific points in the body can contribute to migraines. With trigger point therapy, those points are worked on, and as a result, some people often experience immediate headache relief. The key is to work with a massage therapist who is trained and experienced in this type of therapy.
Facial and Scalp Massage
Did you know that jaw clenching can be a leading cause of certain kinds of tension headaches as well as migraines? This is precisely why facial massage can be a huge relief for some migraine sufferers. During the facial massage, a therapist will focus mainly on the areas between your jaw and cheekbone, significantly if you suffer from headaches. Massages done in these areas can help get to the root cause of your headache and thus provide relief. Scalp massage is also beneficial for releasing the tension in your head and bringing some pain relief
Massages geared toward these issues can be helpful for those who suffer from regular tension headaches and migraines. Many people find with standard treatments, their head pain and frequency of their headaches do dissipate. If you are concerned or have questions before receiving a migraine massage, it is often a good idea to consult with your doctor first.