This technique works best for tension headaches. Other types of headaches include sinus headaches, migraine headaches, and cluster headaches.
Sinus headaches are often felt behind the forehead and the cheekbones. I will be posting a video soon to show points to use to help with sinus headaches. Inhaling the scent of eucalyptus oil may help sinus drainage as well as using a neti pot for cleaning the nasal passages of allergens.
Migraine headaches are characterized by any of three signs.
1. The headache is on one side (left or right) of the head. The word migraine comes from the Greek "hemicrania" meaning half of the head.
2. The pain is a throbbing pain, going with the pulse. Migraines begin with vasoconstriction, then the blood vessels dilate and the throbbing pain begins.
3. There is an "aura", a feeling or visual disturbance that occurs for up to 1/2 hour before the headache sets in.
The headache technique may be helpful during the aura phase of a migraine, but I would not recommend it once the migraine is established. The pressure around the base of the skull may be too intense and may aggravate the migraine. Instead I would work reflexology points on the hands and feet at the tips of the fingers and toes. You want to draw energy away from the head.
An ice pack to the back of the neck may also help. Please review the cautions for using ice, which start at 2 minutes 14 seconds into the video on Injury Treatment in the Sports Massage Section.
Cluster Headaches tend to occur in clusters. They may happen every day for a month or two, then go away and come back again a year or two later. The pain is intense and often requires medical treatment.
Tension Headaches are caused by muscular tension. Pain is frequently felt like a band squeezing the head. The headache technique works well for this type of headache.
This technique helps to both prevent and relieve tension headaches. It may also help with migraine headaches if used in the early stages.
Headaches may temporarily become more intense during treatment but should subside by the end of the treatment.
You need short fingernails for this technique.
Clients with persistent or recurrent headaches should get a medical evaluation to determine the cause.
Have your client seated and stand behind them. Place your left hand on your clients forehead. Press your right thumb up into notch at midline of occipital ridge. Pressure should be directed upwards towards ceiling. Ask your client if pain is felt in head (referred pain from thumb contact point).
If referred pain is felt hold thumb there with steady pressure and ask your client to report when pain subsides. When referred pain subsides go to the next step. If no referred pain is felt (i.e. pain is only at point of thumb contact if present at all) then go to the next step. Move thumb one finger width to the right and press upwards on the occipital ridge. Repeat these steps until your thumb is at your clients right mastoid. Ask your client what difference they feel between the left and right sides of their head, then repeat this technique for the other side substituting the word left for right.
The Massage Technique Library was recently rebuilt from the ground up. The new library is much faster and more secure than the previous versions. There is an improved search function, and an enhanced comment system. Soon there will be a way to save your favorite techniques in a favorites menu.
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