Massage therapy can help migraines

Classic massage techniques for headaches and migraines

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The classic massages are much more than just a wellness treatment, because massaging the muscles helps relieve tension in the muscles. This means that massages are also suitable as a therapy for numerous complaints. Ailments that can be relieved by massage techniques include headaches and even migraines.

According to medical studies, more than 70 percent of all German citizens suffer from headaches at least temporarily. Every fourth German is even regularly haunted by throbbing, pounding or stabbing pain. The situation is grave for around one million people who are affected by migraines and who suffer from a significant reduction in their quality of life. Headache can justifiably be described as a widespread disease in this country.

Widespread disease headache - possible causes

The causes of headaches are just as diverse as the forms of expression. First of all, a basic distinction is made between primary and secondary headaches. The secondary form often occurs as a side effect of other diseases or phenomena such as high blood pressure or toothache and is accordingly easy to treat in a targeted manner. With primary headaches, this process is much more difficult - the list of possible causes is long:

  • Dehydration Tension in the muscles
  • lack of sleep
  • stress
  • Weather sensitivity
  • Hormone fluctuations (especially in women)

Too often in this context painkillers are used without any research into the cause. As a result, the symptoms are usually treated superficially, which is often ineffective and only temporarily eliminates the headache.

How can I prevent headaches?

In the case of a headache, it is not only important to eliminate the pain yourself, but also to prevent it from developing. In addition to measures such as a tension-preventing posture at the workplace, adequate sleep, exercise in the fresh air and adequate fluid intake, massages have recently become the focus of interest.

Classic headache massages

A massage by a professional masseur is much better than simply combating symptoms with medication, especially in the case of persistent recurring headaches. According to medical studies, the classic or Swedish massage has proven to be particularly helpful. In practice, the massage focuses on massaging the neck and back muscles, the tension of which is often one of the main causes of headaches. While the gentle strokes and taps improve the blood circulation over a large area up to the head, targeted kneading ensures that the tense muscles are loosened in the depths.

Head massage for headaches

As an alternative to the full-body massage based on the principle of the Swedish professor Pehr Henrik Ling, a head massage can also be used to prevent and treat headaches. The advantage of this variant lies in the targeted treatment of the head area, starting from the temples and forehead to the facial muscles. The stimulation of the skin and the deep muscles promotes the blood circulation in the scalp and thus relaxes the irritated nerves.

Practical application of head massage

A variant that is often used is both effective and easy to learn: The fingertips of the middle and index fingers resting on the temples are continued in circular movements in ever-increasing trajectories with slightly increasing pressure across the skull. The skull is then grasped in such a way that the thumbs rest on the back of the head and thus stabilize the index and middle fingers, which continue to wander over the head in a circling manner. The effectiveness of the massage technique is supported by a relaxing ambience. For this purpose, masseurs can choose to use stimulating fragrances, soothing music or subdued lighting, which provide additional mental tension relief.

Migraines as a special case

With regard to the causes of migraines, medicine is still largely in the dark. Fortunately, however, many of the measures used to treat conventional headaches have also proven effective here. This applies to relaxing massages, among other things, as emotional stress is believed to be one of the main triggers of migraines. As a result, special migraine massages have been developed on the basis of classic massage, which focus on the head as well as the shoulder and neck area.

In addition, well-known elements such as stroking, tapping and flexing are combined with other massage techniques from the field of acupressure in order to treat migraines both preventively and acutely. When used regularly, migraine massages can not only significantly reduce the pain of a specific attack, but also significantly lengthen the time between bouts of migraine. Classic massage therefore also has considerable potential in the form of head massage, which can help those affected to massively increase their quality of life.


The use of medication is no longer the most obvious and certainly not the best solution to all problems. Especially in the case of symptoms such as headaches, the causes are often deeper and can be alleviated by gentle methods such as classic massage in a much more effective way than taking a single headache pill. As part of your training at the SWAV Academy, you will learn how to use classic massage as a therapeutic measure.