You might be aware of the miraculous power of massage in oozing out pain and discomfort from the body. The healing power of massage extends beyond that. Not just your physical health but mental health also gets a boost after a massage session. There are a variety of massages for different maladies, however, massage for headaches and stress relief are the most appreciable. 

 

If you are suffering from sleepless nights owing to migraine and other types of headaches or this world is just a stress-giving place to abode, you must consult a massage therapist. In most cases, massage therapists can not solve your mental, social, and financial problems but they can omit the stress from your head. 

 

Before we know how massage for headaches and stress relief cleanses your body, let us first know what is a headache.

 

Headache

To be honest! Headache is ONLY an adult disease. The only headache kids get is by banging their heads on the floor. Mature men and women are often faced with a variety of head discomforts. Luckily, a massage for headaches and stress relief can work on almost every type of headache.

 

The most common types of headache include:

Tension Headaches 

Being late to a job interview or forgetting to submit your work assignment might land you into trouble. This stress can induce the development of a dull, aching pain all around your head. This specific type of headache following a tense episode is called a tension headache. 

 

massage for headache

 

Tension-type headache is a common type and the overall prevalence was found to be 38.3%. Women are more prone to developing tension headaches as compared to men of the same age. Then mean global prevalence of the headache in adults was found to be 42%. 

 

The stats are there to just relieve that you are not alone in this war against headache. A tension headache is usually accompanied by sensitivity around the head and neck region. 

 

Migraine Headaches

Migraine headaches are bizarre sensations that can prove to be a temporary disability. An episode of migraine is characterized by pain felt deep inside the head. The pain is severe and throbbing, which usually affects only one side of the head.

 

Individuals suffering from migraines are often sensitive to light and loud sounds. 

 

What makes it worse is that the issue can last for long periods (hours or even days). In a number of cases, a migraine headache is accompanied by an aura.

 

An aura is experienced by only 20% of people and is characterized by visual disturbances. The most prevalent type of auras include:

 

  • Stars 
  • Flashing and shimmering lights 
  • Zigzag lines 
  • Blind spots

 

Aura attacks may be an early sign of a headache. However, as per a prospective study, 73% of aura attacks are associated with a migraine headache.

 

Patients have also reported other symptoms associated with migraine headaches that include nausea, and tingling sensation on one side of the face. 

 

Cluster Headaches 

A cluster headache is also a seriously debilitating discomfort. Sufferers experience sharp, piercing pain around/behind one eye. The pain may cover one side of the face too. Eye tearing and nasal congestion are also reported by many. 

 

Usually, there are recurrent episodes of headache that can last for around 10 minutes to even more than a couple of hours. Individuals may experience 1 to 4 episodes of headache in a single day. Therefore, there isn’t much relief because the chain continues. As soon as the first headache resolves, another one is ready to add insult to injury. 

 

Hypertension Headaches 

As the name indicates hypertension headaches are caused by an increase in blood pressure levels. This type is indicative of dangerously high blood pressure.

 

The pain is felt on both sides of the head and worsens with activity. The pain is explained as throbbing or pulsating and may be accompanied by chest congestion/pain, shortness of breath. According to studies, headache is only felt when the blood pressure values are extremely high. In such cases, relief from headaches can only be achieved by lowering blood pressure. Specialized massage for headaches and stress relief can be an easy way for turning things around.

Sinus Headaches 

Allergic responses from the body can lead to the development of headaches. Allergic or sinus headaches are often misdiagnosed and mistreated.

 

People having seasonal allergies are more likely to suffer from sinusitis and eventually sinus headache. Infection of the paranasal sinuses may also trigger a sinus headache.

Stress And Anxiety 

Anxiety is the body’s natural response to make you alert and active against dangers and insecurities. However, anxious feelings must last only until there is a triggering factor. 

 

When these feelings of anxiety and worriedness extend for a long period of time, the condition is termed an anxiety disorder.

 

There are different types of anxiety disorders including:

 

  • Generalized anxiety disorder 
  • Panic disorder 
  • Social anxiety disorder 
  • Phobias 

Signs And Symptoms 

The common symptoms of an anxiety disorder include:

 

  • Panic and fear 
  • Heart palpitations 
  • Dry mouth 
  • Shortness of breath
  • Hyperventilation 

 

How To Get Rid Of A Headache? Massage Therapy For Headaches

Massage for headaches and stress relief has shown to be a pretty effective strategy. How massage flushes out headaches and stress from the body is discussed in the successive paragraphs:

 

Massage For Tension Headaches 

The touch of a masseuse can make your tension headache take an immediate exit. According to research, therapeutic touch from a professional can reduce 70% of your pain. The study was based on 60 volunteers with tension headaches, who were divided into placebo and intervention groups. All participants receiving massage reported a reduction in pain immediately afterward, and 4 hours after the session.

 

Chronic tension headache patients can get the maximum benefit from massage therapy. It was confirmed by a detailed study carried out on 21 female patients. The clinical and physiological effects of massage for headaches and stress relief were duly appreciated.

 

Another study concludes that muscle-specific massage therapy decreases the frequency of head pain in chronic tension headache patients, thereby promoting its use as a non-pharmacological intervention in reducing tension headache.

 

According to a study, participants receiving massage for headaches and stress relief reported an evident reduction in pain scales. Tension headache was greatly reduced after a massage therapy session. Spinal manipulation and tension headache massage can also reduce headache pain intensity and frequency.

 

There are different massage techniques for tension headaches but as per a randomized controlled trial, friction massage is as good as dry needling in providing pain relief in tension-type headache patients. Therefore, massage is a convenient way to say goodbye to your tension-type headache.

 

Massage For Migraine Headaches 

Head massage has shown to have positive impacts on the body. According to a study, massaging the greater occipital nerve can efficaciously reduce the intensity of migraine attacks.

 

There are numerous studies that promote the use of massage as a treatment modality for tension headache relief. A systematic review suggests that migraine relief massage can be equally good as a pharmacological treatment for migraine headaches. The randomized controlled trials found manual massage therapy, and physiotherapy to be equally effective as propranolol and topiramate.

 

As per a randomized controlled trial, massage therapy can be utilized as an efficient way of reducing the frequency and imparting migraine relief. Improvements in sleep and stress were also noted.

 

A 2018 study confirms that reflexology massage efficiently reduces the intensity of migraine headaches.

 

The traditional Thai massage is praised for its impact on headaches. This specific type of massage for headaches and stress relief  is effective in the management of patients with chronic headaches. This includes tension-type headaches and migraine headaches.

 

Another great advantage of using non-pharmacological interventions (such as massage) for migraines is cost-effectiveness and is safe for the gastric mucosa (unlike medicines), a randomized controlled trial confirms.

 

Massage For Cluster Headaches

Cervicogenic and cluster headaches seem to respond well to massage therapy. Just like migraine and tension-type headaches, massage can prove to be a beneficial treatment strategy for this headache behind the eyes. Studies suggest that massage for headache and stress relief in potent in reducing pain.

 

Another pilot study provides evidence that massage therapy has the potential to provide pain relief from headaches.

 

massage for headaches

 

Patients can experience a reduction in pain intensity with a massage. The eye tearing effect seems to go down with manual massage therapy. A professional massage therapist is well aware of the trigger points on the body that can lead to cluster headaches. Applying reflexology massage on these sites can bring about relief. 

Reflexology massage is a type of massage for headaches and stress relief that is aimed at easing the burden of your head, and improving the blood circulation.

 

Massage For Hypertension Headaches 

Hypertension headache is a secondary headache that results only due to an increase in blood pressure levels. To treat this, you need to lower the systolic and diastolic blood pressure. 

 

Massage for headaches and stress relief is extremely potent in lowering the raised BP. According to a study, massage for headaches and stress relief combined with antihypertensive drugs can efficiently reduce raised BP in patients suffering from essential hypertension. Therefore, if an increased throb of the heart makes your head an ache, then try getting a massage.

 

As per a preliminary study back massage can have immense beneficial effects on hypertensive patients. The study concludes that a 10-min back massage can lead to an evident decrease in primary hypertension.  

 

Hypertension headache may be an initial sign of raised BP. Pre-hypertension patients can keep hypertension and associated headaches away for a longer period of time by getting a massage regularly. Significant alleviations in mean systolic and diastolic pressures after a massage session were noted in a study.

 

Slow stroke massage can prove to be an advantageous strategy in reducing blood pressure in elderly hypertensive patients.

 

According to a systematic review and meta-analysis, Chinese massage named Tuina is a beneficial adjuvant for patients with essential hypertension.

 

Massage For Sinus Headaches 

Higher levels of histamines during stress can lead to an increased presentation of allergic response. Massage for headaches and stress relief can relieve the stress, thereby, allow improvements in an allergic response. 

 

Studies suggest that stress is directly linked to raised levels of eosinophils and histamines, and when a stressed individual is exposed to allergens there is a more pronounced effect. By managing allergies c responses, massage can provide relief from sinus and allergic headaches. 

 

Massage For Anxiety And Stress

Massage therapy is widely known for its stress-killing and anxiolytic properties. Research suggests that massage for headaches and stress relief can rid you of stress by reducing the levels of cortisol hormone (stress hormone).

 

massage for headache

 

A study shows that massage therapy significantly reduces levels of perceived stress and serum cortisol levels.

 

Nurses have hectic and stress-laden jobs. According to a study published in the Journal of Korean Academy of Fundamentals of Nursing, foot massage can evidently reduce stress in student nurses. Mood elevations are also experienced in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) by massage therapy.

 

The touch of a professional massage therapist can flush stress and anxiety from your body just like it did in a study of shoulder pain patients. Slow stroke massage is the best type of massage for this purpose. On the other hand, light pressure massage is ideal for patients with severe anxiety, a study suggests.

 

You can see strong improvements in your generalized anxiety disorders. In a study, it was concluded that a 30-minute back massage daily for 5 days can lead to a reduction in anxiety. The participants of the study were depressed hospitalized children.

 

Swedish massage is an efficient complementary, alternative treatment modality for acute treatment of generalized anxiety disorder. Massage for headaches and stress relief can help you gain self confidence. It also reduces anxiety.

 

Therefore, therapeutic massage therapy (massage for headaches and stress relief) can be pretty efficacious and efficient in alleviating symptoms of GAD, a randomized controlled trial suggests.

 

Other Ways To Cure Headaches And Stress

You can adopt the following steps to naturally cure your headache and stress:

 

  • Drink loads of water 
  • Limit alcohol consumption 
  • Give up smoking 
  • Take adequate sleep 
  • Try adding vitamin supplements to the diet
  • Use cold compresses to relieve acute phases of headache 
  • Meditate or try yoga poses 
  • Take help from acupuncture (traditional Chinese medicine)

 

Conclusion 

Massage is a multi-beneficial non-pharmacological treatment option for many different aches and infirmities. Massage for headaches and stress relief is essential in today’s times of coronavirus pandemic and lockdown. 

 

There are different types of headaches (migraine, cluster, tension-type, and hypertension) and anxiety disorders (generalized anxiety disorder, phobias, social anxiety disorders). Massage helps in flushing out stress and anxiety.

Reflexology massage is effective in soothing the trigger points for headaches. Thai massage, Swedish massage, and light pressure massage are very effective in reducing stress and anxiety.