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 also your mental health gets a boost after a massage session. There are a variety of massages for different disorders; however, massages 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 understand what a headache is.



To be honest, headaches are only an adult disease. The only headache kids get is from 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 

Late to a job interview or forgetting to submit your work assignment might land you in trouble. This stress can induce 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 headaches are common, and the overall prevalence was found to be 38.3%. Women are more prone to developing tension headaches than men of the same age. The mean global prevalence of the headache in adults was 42%. 


The stats are there to relieve you that you are not alone in this war against headaches. 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, usually affecting 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 several 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 types 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 a 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, which may cover one side of the face. 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, an increase in blood pressure levels causes hypertension headaches. This type is indicative of dangerously high blood pressure.


The pain is felt on both sides of the head and worsens with activity. It is described as throbbing or pulsating and may be accompanied by chest congestion/pain or shortness of breath. Studies have shown that headaches are only felt when blood pressure is 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 to turn things around.

Sinus Headaches 

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


People with seasonal allergies are more likely to suffer from sinusitis and, eventually, sinus headaches. Infection of the paranasal sinuses may also trigger sinus headaches.

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, 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, a therapeutic touch from a professional can reduce 70% of your pain. The study was based on 60 volunteers with tension headaches, divided into placebo and intervention groups. All participants receiving massage reported reduced pain immediately afterward and 4 hours after the session.


Chronic tension headache patients can get the maximum benefit from massage therapy. A detailed study confirmed it was carried out on 21 female patients. Massage’s clinical and physiological effects 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 headaches.


According to a study, participants receiving massage for headaches and stress relief reported reduced pain scales. Tension headache decreased significantly after a massage therapy session. Spinal manipulation and tension headache massage can also reduce pain intensity and frequency.


There are different massage techniques for tension headaches. Still, per a randomized controlled trial, friction massage is as good as dry needling in relieving 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 been 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.


Numerous studies promote massage as a treatment modality for tension headache relief. A systematic review suggests that migraine relief massage can be equally suitable 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.


A randomized controlled trial found that massage therapy can be an efficient way of reducing migraine 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.


Traditional Thai massage is praised for its impact on headaches. This specific type of massage for headaches and stress relief is effective in managing patients with chronic headaches, including tension-type headaches and migraine headaches.


A randomized controlled trial confirms another great advantage of using non-pharmacological interventions (such as massage) for migraines: cost-effectiveness and safety for the gastric mucosa (unlike medicines).


Massage For Cluster Headaches

Cervicogenic and cluster headaches seem to respond well to massage therapy. Just like migraines and tension-type headaches, massage can prove to be a beneficial treatment strategy for headaches behind the eyes. Studies suggest that massage for headache and stress relief is 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 in the body that can lead to cluster headaches. Applying reflexology massage on these sites can bring about relief. 

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


Massage For Hypertension Headaches 

Hypertension headache is a secondary headache that results only from an increase in blood pressure. To treat it, you need to lower your systolic and diastolic blood pressure. 


Massage for headaches and stress relief is highly potent in lowering raised blood pressure. According to a study, massage combined with antihypertensive drugs can efficiently reduce raised blood pressure in patients suffering from essential hypertension. Therefore, if an increased heartthrob makes your headache, try getting a massage.


As per a preliminary study, back massage can immensely benefit hypertensive patients. The study concludes that a 10-minute 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 more extended period 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, 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 tension and improve an allergic response. 


Studies suggest that stress is directly linked to raised levels of eosinophils and histamines, and the effect is more pronounced when a stressed individual is exposed to allergens. By managing allergy’ c responses, massage can relieve 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 reduce stress by reducing the levels of cortisol (the stress hormone).


massage for headache


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


Nurses have hectic and stress-laden jobs. According to a study published in the Journal of the Korean Academy of Fundamentals of Nursing, foot massage can 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 substantial improvements in your generalized anxiety disorders. In a study, it was concluded that a 30-minute back massage daily for five 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 the acute treatment of generalized anxiety disorder. Massage for headaches and stress relief can help you gain self-confidence. It also reduces anxiety.


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


Other Ways To Cure Headaches And Stress

You can adopt the following steps to cure your headache naturally 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)



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 coronavirus pandemic and lockdown. 


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

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