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How To Relieve Headaches And Migraines With Massage

Are you one of the over 37 million Americans suffering from regularly occurring headaches? If so, you're probably less worried about the cause of your headache pain and looking for one thing—relief. The good news is - Massage can help!

Research shows that even a 30 minute massage session with an experienced massage therapist or self massage at home can greatly diminish headache pain.

However, before you start massage therapy to get rid of your headache, we need to figure out which type of headache you are suffering from. This allows you to determine which massage type or technique will be best. In some cases, the wrong technique or head massage can make your headache symptoms worse. 


Below you will find 5 common headaches and massage techniques to help you find relief from your specific headache or migraine.

Tension Headache / Migraines

Tension Headaches

Tension headaches are extremely common, usually mild with pain typically occuring on both sides of the head for 30 minutes to an hour. Tension headaches can be caused by many different factors: muscle tension, bone misalignment, eye strain, and other imbalances.

Migraine Headaches

Migraine headaches are characterized by an intense pulsing, or throbbing, from deep within your head, usually on one side, and can last for days. This type of headache can disable you from performing daily activities and have other symptoms like sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, and even vomiting.

While tension and migraine headaches are very different, massage therapy is proven to, and has been used since ancient times to effectively reduce the pain from both in a similar way. If you are experiencing one of these types of headaches – try these self-massage techniques:

  1. Place your thumbs underneath each eyebrow bone near the bridge of your nose with the pads of your thumbs pointing up. You will feel something similar to a crack where the cartilage meets the bone. Push up into both at the same time and hold firmly for 15 seconds. Rest for 5 seconds. Repeat 3-4 times.
  2. Place your pointer and middle fingers from both hands on either side of your spine at the back of your neck. Move them up to the base of your skull. Massage both sides simultaneously in small circles for 30 seconds while gently tilting head side to side and forward.
  3. Place your pointer and middle fingers of both hands on each temple. Massage in small circles for 30 seconds.

These massage techniques may help to provide some immediate relief from these types of headache pain but we recommend working with an experienced massage therapist on a regular basis for further relief and to hopefully help prevent future symptoms.

Sinus Headaches

When suffering from a sinus headache you may experience pain in a variety of different areas. The best massage for a sinus headache depends on where the pain is occurring. 



Click here to read our sinus massage article and learn how to perform all three of these massages.


Maxillary Sinus Massage

If you are experiencing pain in or around your cheekbones, try a maxillary sinus massage.

  1. Place your thumbs between the cheek bones and the upper jaw, on either side of the nose.
  2. Massage in a circular motion for 30 seconds.
  3. Alternate direct pressure toward the back of your head and release 5-10 times.


Frontal Sinus Massage

If the pain is in the center of your forehead between each eye, try a frontal sinus massage.

  1. Place your pointer and middle fingers on either side of the forehead, just above the eyebrows.
  2. Massage firmly in small circular motions while slowly working your way towards your temples.
  3. Repeat 5-10 times.

Sphenoid Sinus Massage

If the pain is behind your nose and eyes and you are sure it’s not a tension headache or migraine.

  1. Place your pointer fingers between your nasal bone and the corner of the eyes.
  2. Hold firm pressure for about 15 seconds.
  3. Slowly stroke down each side of the bridge of your nose and repeat 5-10 times.

Feel free to combine and repeat these massages techniques until your sinus headache symptoms subside. To enhance the effects, you can also combine sinus massage with other remedies like warm compresses, steam inhalation and aromatherapy. Still needing some relief?Narayan Wellness can help you find sinus headache relief:

Cluster Headaches

Unfortunately there are no known self massage techniques that can provide relief for cluster headaches. However, many are finding acupuncture, chiropractic, and professional massage therapy are effective in the treatment of cluster headaches. 

Allergy Headaches

Sinus congestion is the most common cause of allergy headaches. If you are experiencing allergies creating a headache on around the forehead and the top of your head, try these self-massage techniques:



  1. Using your thumbs on the inner edge of your eyebrows, slowly apply pressure and slide your thumbs down to the base of your nose. Repeat for 30 seconds.
  2. Place your pointer and middle fingers on both sides of the back of your neck directly under the base of your skull on either side of your spine. Firmly press upward under the skull for 30 seconds while slowly stretching your head forward and side to side.

As mentioned above, the best way to find relief from your headache is by working with a professional massage therapist on a regular basis, especially for regularly occuring or chronic headaches. If you are in the Pleasanton, California or East Bay Area, we would be happy to help you finally find headache relief with massage therapy

Here at Narayan Wellness, we help clients relieve headaches every day!

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