Ask anyone who suffers from regular headaches: headache days are the longest days. There are countless treatment options available to ease the pain of the symptoms, but not many of them are free, all-natural, and easily accessible. Medications can take a while to work, and headache specialists are in high demand. Luckily, you can take your headache into your own hands (literally), and ease your symptoms with a little practice in self-massage. There are many online resources available for anyone interested in massage for headaches, so there’s no need to book an expensive spa appointment.
As reported in migraine.com, regular massages can treat many of the causes and symptoms of headaches, including muscle tension and pain. For some, it can even reduce the number of migraine attacks they experience overall. If you’re ready to set down the Tylenol and try something more natural and instant, read on to discover the benefits of facial massage for headaches. Of course, this isn’t to say you should stop your current regimen; it’s always a good idea to check with your healthcare provider before trying something new.
Although the effects of massage on headaches haven’t been heavily studied yet, the existing information looks promising. In 2006, a study concluded that migraine sufferers who received regular massages had up to a 34% reduction in headache episodes. The control group, who received no massages, only experienced up to a 7% decrease in symptoms. In case you needed more of a reason to take on this treatment, those who had massages also reported more restful sleep, lower heart rate, and decreased levels of anxiety and cortisol, also known as the stress hormone.
The good news is that you don’t need to book an expensive appointment to reap the benefits of facial massage. With a little research and some practice, it’s absolutely possible to use self-massage to soothe your symptoms.
According to Explore Integrative Medicine, an online resource from the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine, acupressure is a method of massage that aims to activate the body’s self-regulating processes. This works by correcting an imbalance or blockage of energy in the body, which is called Qi (“chi”). When the qi flows freely, the body is able to return to a healthy, open, and relaxed state.
You’ll likely need to practice self-massage regularly for a while before you begin to experience these benefits. However, when done correctly, acupressure can relax the muscles, and the mind, within seconds. Explore Integrative Medicine reminds beginners to find a relaxing position, focus on your breathing, and use “deep, firm pressure” when massaging a pressure point. A circular or up and down motion is ideal when stimulating any point on your body.
One of the most popular is Gallbladder 20, or Feng Chi. To stimulate this point, which eases headaches, eye blurriness, low energy, and fatigue, locate the mastoid bone behind your ear. If you follow this spot to your neck, where the neck and skull meet, you can use your thumbs to massage the pressure point on each side of your neck. To do this, you’ll need to intertwine your fingers and place your palms on the back of your head, applying pressure toward the skull. For a visual example and more detailed directions, check out the Gallbladder 20 page from Explore Integrative Medicine.
Gallbladder 21, or Jian Jing, is another pressure point for headaches, though you might need to grab a friend to help with this one. To locate this point, you will pinch your shoulder muscle between your thumb and middle finger. Right in the middle of this spot, apply pressure for several seconds using your index finger or thumb. Explore Integrative Medicine cites a case study which revealed activating Gallbladder 21’s positive effects on chronic headaches and facial pain. Massaging this point can also relieve neck and shoulder tension, which can be a contributing factor for headaches.
Another pressure point in a different part of the body is Pericardium 6, or Nei Guan. This spot is located on the forearm, just below the wrist, and is helpful for nausea, headaches, carpal tunnel, and motion sickness. To activate this point, apply pressure about three finger-widths below the wrist in between the two tendons of the forearm, and massage for several seconds with moderate pressure.
BlissMark provides information regarding health, wellness, and beauty. The information within this article is not intended to be medical advice. Before starting any diet or exercise routine, consult your physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, the United States Health & Human Services department has a free online tool that can help you locate a clinic in your area. We are not medical professionals, have not verified or vetted any programs, and in no way intend our content to be anything more than informative and inspiring.
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