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Massage Therapy and Migraines


The terminology of “migraine” is sometimes used to describe the symptomology of a headache; however the manifestation is characterized differently. Migraines typically present with pain so severe it can be literally debilitating, often felt on one side of the head only, and accompanied by aura, nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to sound and light.

Although the exact cause is unknown, genetics and environmental factors are thought to play a role, and current research is further exploring the potential impact of serotonin drops as being an associated trigger. The two forms of migraines most widely accepted, are those thought to be influenced by either the neurological system, or the vascular system (blood flow).

The intervention of massage therapy in cases of migraines is not thought to be a cure, but rather a self-care tool to ensure nerve pathways and blood flow channels are functioning optimally in cases of muscular imbalances, or joint restrictions. Massage Therapy may also be of benefit to manage other known migraine triggers, such as sleep disturbances and especially stress.

Consulting with your health care team and a massage therapist would be the best approach to inform whether or not your specific circumstance would benefit from this approach.



Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/migraine-headache/symptoms-causes/syc-20360201 (2018, March 26)