Can Massage Relieve Headaches?

Updated on March 16th, 2020
Massage Relieve Headaches

Headaches, regardless of how excruciating they are, are usually not given the necessary treatment that they deserve. Most people remain oblivious towards the viable therapies available.

Millions of Americans suffer from different types of headaches (1). Although there are medications available to treat all three types of headaches, massages are the more natural and long-lasting ways of treating headaches, especially the ones rising from migraine and tension. Massage for headache can have a proactive role and can be a regular treatment for headache.

In such cases, massages are performed to give your body relief from stress and help it relax. This regular massage for headache treatment provides relaxation to muscle spasms and trigger points and thus, effectively reduces the risk of migraine attacks and tension headaches.

When massage for headache has a more comforting role to play, it is performed to relieve the pain which is accompanied by migraine or tension headache. This technique focuses on the neck and shoulders in addition to the head and reduces the discomfort and pain.

The results of a study showed the effects of massage for headaches on participants who had lesser migraines attacks and a better quality of sleep during the weeks of treatment and in the following three weeks. However, none of these effects were noticed in participants who did not take massage therapy for their headaches.

Another study showed how massage therapy was able to reduce the occurrence of headaches and provide relief from sleep disturbances and distress symptoms in adults who suffered from migraine headaches. In addition to these benefits, massage therapy also boosts serotonin levels in the body.

Did You Know!

  • Massage therapy can improve blood circulation in the body. Good flow in the body can reduce fatigue and help in pain management.
  • A good massage can relax your muscles and let your body achieve its maximum flexibility.

Foot Massage for Headache

Foot Massage for Headache

If your migraine is causing headache in the temporal area, i.e., on the sides of the head, massaging the points between the big toe and the second toe can provide relief. This massage therapy is also known as Chinese reflexology for migraines.

To massage these points for headaches, press and rub from side to side using your thumb. The massage should start from the tip of the toe and should go downwards. Once you have reached the end of the toe, repeat the process. To get relief from headaches, keep massaging this area for at least 60 seconds.

[ Also Read: Natural Treatments to get rid of Headache ]

Hand Messages for Headache

The point between the thumb and forefinger is the perfect spot for massage therapy to relieve headaches. Also, the tips of every finger, excluding the thumb, can provide relief from headaches caused by sinus. Messaging the base of every finger can provide relief from tensed neck and shoulder muscles, which can often be a cause of headaches.

For an all-over hand massage for headache(2), you can gently roll a ball all over your palms. Make sure that the ball reaches every part of the hand, especially the tops and bases of every finger, which are important pain-relieving points for headaches.

Did You Know!

  • When you gently massage your ears and pull your top, middle, and bottom earlobes once a day, it gives a boost to your immune system.
  • The effects of 60-minute massage therapy are equivalent to 7-8 hours of sleep on the body.

Head Massages for Headaches

To get relief from headaches, the headache-trigger point massage therapy works the best. To follow this remedy, use your thumbs to reach the back of your head on either side of the spine. Keeping tilting your head forward and backward while you press your thumb firmly this area. You should feel the movement of the thumbs when you move your head backward.

Alternatively, you can use your index and middle fingers of both the hands to give a relaxing massage for headaches. Use your fingers to reach either side of the neck targeting the area just below the ears. Firmly apply pressure on this area for about 10 seconds and then start moving your fingers downwards about one and a half inches.

[Also Read: Home Remedies for Headache]

Message Therapy to Relieve Tension Headaches

Message Therapy

The perfect massage therapy for tension headache is the one that targets suboccipital muscles present in the neck and under the back of the skull. However, messaging this spot all by yourself can be a little tricky.

Therefore, you can use tools such as the Knobble message tool which can be perfect for reaching this spot. But, if unavailable, just lie down while resting your neck on a tennis ball.

In addition to this, you can also roll back and forth the tennis ball on this area for some extra relief. Alternatively, you can also use neck circles to relieve tension headaches.

The human body has 5 million touch receptors, and out of those, 3,000 can be found on the tips of our fingers. This means that a healthy touch in the form of massage therapy can relieve headaches and symptoms of many other diseases. If legends are to be believed, the positive effects of messages were such that Julius Caesar used it to relieve his symptoms of epilepsy. So, if headaches have been giving you a tough time, it is time you massaged them away.

[Also Read: Acupressure for Headache]


1. How do you instantly cure a headache?

Here are some tips for headache relief:

  1. Close your eyes and rest.
  2. Massage your neck and temples.
  3. Relax.
  4. Minimize stress.
  5. Warm-up your neck Try putting a heating pad or a warm cloth around your neck and the base of your skull to ease tension headaches
  6. Also, watch what you eat and drink.

2. How long should a headache last?

Episodic tension headaches can last from 30 minutes to a week. Frequent episodic tension headaches can last for less than 15 days a month for at least three months.

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