Headaches can be a real pain, literally. But massage therapy can be an effective way to reduce the intensity and frequency of headaches. From acupressure to deep tissue massage, there are a variety of techniques that can help relieve tension headaches and migraines. Using very firm pressure and a small circular motion, gradually move your fingers up along the hairline until they are in the middle of your forehead, massaging your entire forehead and scalp as you slowly progress.
This technique is known as acupressure and it can be used to target the LI-4 pressure point, also called Hegu, which is located between the base of the thumb and the index finger. Stimulating this point can help relieve pain and headaches. Although there isn't much scientific evidence to support the use of reflexology to treat headaches, studies have shown that massage therapy on the head and shoulders can be effective in relieving both tension headaches and migraines. This type of massage often involves stimulating pressure points on the head.
Trigger point therapy and neuromuscular therapy can help reduce pain in the neck and head. Calming a stressed nervous system in general can also bring strong relief. In one study, participants in the massage group showed significantly higher levels of pain tolerance at myofascial trigger points. Deep tissue massage is another technique that can help relieve headache pain.
This type of massage uses firm pressure accompanied by slow movements to massage deeper muscle layers, which can help relax tense muscles that may be causing the headache. Neuromuscular massage, which identifies and releases stiff muscles or trigger points, can also help massage therapists get directly to the source of the headache. In a 2002 study, four adults who experienced chronic tension headaches were given 10 sessions of intense massage over a six-month period. The results showed that massages reduced the number of headaches in each subject during the first week of treatment.
The goal of a deep tissue massage is to break up muscle adhesions, which can provide relief from compressed nerves. Massage therapy has also been proven to be an effective measure to reduce both chronic migraines and tension headaches. This type of massage works facial muscles in a focused manner and the compression that comes with firm pressure helps with pain that mainly affects specific areas of the head. Before you start reviewing a list of head massages to get rid of your headache, it is important to determine what type of headache you suffer from in order to know which massage will help you.
Learn how massage therapy can help relieve stress by understanding the signs and symptoms, the underlying causes, and how it affects the body.