Massage for Migraine Sufferers

Massage for Migraine Sufferers

It’s hard to attribute a single reason to be the cause of migraines. This is because you can develop migraines from something as simple as changing your environment. Plus, even after eating the wrong food. Or owing to complicated reasons like an abnormal brain structure besides a chemical imbalance.

To date, there’s no known cure for migraines. Even so, you can minimize the concern of throbbing pain by:

  • Removing stress and tension in your brain
  • Stimulating it to produce certain chemicals like serotonin through massage


Some migraine sufferers experience light sensitivity, like this young woman lying down with a blanket over her head

Understanding Migraine Attacks

Migraine is a neurological disease. It’s an inherited tendency to have headaches, which often interfere with sensory performance. Frequently, this issue arises when the brain has an unstable way of dealing with incoming information.

Before a migraine hits, you notice some symptoms like hyperactivity, food craving, and neck pains. Next, you might start to experience an aura, mostly blurred vision or ringing in the ears. At it’s peak, you feel a throbbing, pulsating pain on your skull.

As the pain subsides, your body becomes sluggish, tired, and in some cases, depressed.

Some massage techniques, like acupressure pictured here, can help treat chronic migraines

Massage for Natural Migraine Relief

Traditionally, acupressure and acupuncture procedures eased the skull pains. But over time, specific massage techniques have shown promise as an alternative safe and natural way to reduce migraines. Patients from trial experiments report that massage therapy helps reduce migraine attacks.

From one research on the effectiveness of Thai traditional massage, participants with chronic migraine headaches reported a significant decrease in the intensity of the migraine attack. These massage techniques, which feature compressions, rocking, pulling, and stretching motions, also increased the pressure threshold of the participants.

How Does Massage Help with Migraines?

Migraines can cause neck pains. Massage therapists focus on relieving your neck of some of this pressure as a treatment solution for migraines. Massage works on two main types of headaches:

  • Vascular headaches- these happen when you encounter a throbbing or pounding pain on the skull. Typically, this concern manifests through symptoms like blurred visions, sensitivity to light, and nausea. This type of headache presents when a blood vessel in your brain swells. Such an issue might last for hours or even days.
  • Muscle tension headaches- characterized by a dull pain on both sides of the head. You feel as though someone is trying to crush your head from your temples. Most of the time, this form of migraine results in neck pain and increased skull sensitivity.

Different massage techniques work differently for these types of headaches.


Young woman of color receiving pressure point massage to alleviate migraine symptoms

1. Forward Flexion for Migraines

According to Leisa Bellmore, a Shiatsu therapist in Toronto, focusing on pressure points helps treat migraines. According to the expert, when you ease the pressure along the muscle lines and nerve pathways around the neck and head, you address the pain experienced during a migraine attack.

The exercise starts by focusing on the neck and head pressure points before moving on to the shoulders. The pressure applied depends on the patient’s tolerance.

2. CBD Wellness Massage

Cannabis plants have long been used to treat chronic pain since the 19th century. And while there’s limited clinical evidence supporting the use of CBD oils to treat pain, professional chiropractors using CBD oils for headache disorders report improvement in the condition.

One of the solution we adapt for migraines is using CBD oil coupled with Swedish massage to relieve muscle tension and eliminate chronic pain. The aromatic formulation of CBD massage oil, mixed with aloe, menthol, and pink grapefruit improves the state of mind, soothing your head, and thus relieving you of migraines.

3. Self-Care Massage

When you notice a migraine building up, you can relieve the pain through some self-care tips you pick up from your therapist. These include foot and hand reflexology or using lace thumb pads to ease the pressure on the orbital ridge.


Practicing mindfulness is another way to ease the stress on your body. With several mindful exercises, your body can relax and limit stress, which translates to reduced pain, anxiety, insomnia, and hypertension.