The underlying causes of migraine headaches remain somewhat of a mystery in traditional medicine. Typical migraine treatment often recommends rest in a dark, cool place and taking prescription drugs. Based on Japanese healing methods, Shiatsu massage is gaining in popularity as an alternative and effective treatment for migraine sufferers.
Understanding Shiatsu massage
This unique form of massage originated in Japan approximately 4,000 years ago. In Japanese, the word "shiatsu" means "finger pressure." There are different types of Shiatsu that can assimilate other alternative massage techniques, including those found in Chinese medicine and Western anatomy. Shiatsu is generally considered the Japanese version of Chinese acupuncture where fingers are used instead of tiny needles.
In Shiatsu massage, finger pressure is placed on very specific acupressure points to increase energy flow and improve body circulation. When specifically used to treat migraine headaches, Shiatsu massage helps reduce tension by increasing blood flow that is believed to be the cause of most migraines. When you understand where your acupressure points are, you can actually learn a few simple techniques that may prove helpful the next time you experience a migraine headache.
How to use Shiatsu massage on yourself
The first step is to practice deep breathing in order to calm your mind and body. Take in as much air through your nose as you can hold, and then exhale slowly and deeply through your mouth. Try to achieve a smooth and relaxing rhythm.
After you are relaxed, place each of your thumbs beside your nose at the top where your nose begins to form close to your eyebrows. While using a gentle pressure on your thumbs, hold this position while taking three deep breaths. Now move your thumbs up approximately one-half inch. You should feel the ridge above your eye brows as you continue to hold the pressure point.
This time, use your index and middle fingers to apply massage pressure and continue to move over the top of your head at one-half inch increments until you reach the base of your skull. At this point, switch to using your index fingers and thumbs, and gently pinch your neck tissue. Your index fingers should be close together at your neck base while your thumbs are on the outer edge of your neck muscles. Try to hold this position for three more deep breaths.
Change directions by repeating this technique again from the original position at the top of your nose, except this time move horizontally across your brow. Continue moving one-half inch at a time until you reach your temples. Hold your position for at least five more deep breaths.
Shiatsu massage and prevention of migraine headaches
Before your next migraine headache hits, perform this technique on a regular basis, and you may be able to prevent the next one from happening in the first place. As tension builds around your head and neck, and you suspect an imminent attack, use Shiatsu massage to reduce the severity of the attack.
In combination, deep breathing and acupressure have been shown to prevent migraines in some people and help eliminate side effects like nausea and vomiting. Shiatsu massage releases congested energy and blood from inside your head that will help to ease your pain. As you become more adept at finding the right balance between gentle pressures on your acupressure points, you may also become a believer in the power of Shiatsu massage for migraine headaches.