Migraine headaches are not just a problem for women. Men can get them too, and they can be just as painful. If you suffer from migraines, you know how debilitating they can be but thankfully there are natural ways to relieve the pain. For instance, one well-documented method is a foot massage for migraine relief through the practice of reflexology.
We started thinking about this topic because stress relief in general has become an important topic for myself as well as many other men over the past few years. There's been a lot of things to worry about and that's not good for our mental health or physical health.
Our friends at Mountrax offered to help make things a bit easier on us though by providing one of their Shiatsu Foot Massager machines that helps with reflexology and massage therapy at home. We found it to be surprisingly comfortable as well as enjoyable.
While some similar massage machines that I've tried have been too aggressive to the point where it hurts, even the level of pressure when it inflated the airbags around the foot was at a comfortable level - just strong enough to work but not painful.
What Is Foot Reflexology And How Does It Work
Skeptics may dismiss Chinese reflexology concepts, saying there is significant scientific evidence that these practices can provide significant health benefits. However, the scientific literature from studies around the world indicate it offers improved positive results with virtually no side effects compared to those in a placebo group. While traditional treatment for improving blood circulation, neck tension, or even intense pain would be to prescribe drugs to eliminate the sensation of pain - massaging these important pressure points can be a very good non-intrusive complementary therapy that results in significant pain relief.
Reflexology is based on the principle that there are certain points on the feet and hands that correspond to different organs and systems in the body. By applying pressure to these points, it is possible to relieve pain and tension in other parts of the body. This is why a foot reflexology massage for migraine relief can be so effective.
There are many foot reflexology charts available online that show which points on the feet correspond to which parts of the body. If you are suffering from a migraine, you can try massaging these points yourself or visit a reflexologist who will be able to help you. Either way, this is a natural and drug-free way to migraine pain relief that is definitely worth trying!
Migraine Headaches vs Tension Headaches
Before we go too far, it's important to understand the difference between migraines and tension headaches. Tension headaches are much more common and tend to be less severe. They are usually caused by muscle tension in the neck and shoulders and can often be relieved with over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen.
Migraine headaches, on the other hand, are less common but can be much more severe. They are often accompanied by symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. Migraines can last for hours or even days, and they can be very debilitating.
Additionally, they are critically different in terms of the location where you feel face and head pain. While a tension headache will feel dull and can be painful on both sides of your head, migraines on the other hand are usually more localized with severe throbbing pain on one side of the head or the other.
Thankfully, a Shiatsu Foot Massage is a great wait to help relieve both types of headaches!
Why Do More Women Than Men Get Migraines?
Migraines are between two to three times more comment in women than in men after puberty. Approximately 18% of females and 6% of males globally are migraine sufferers. While this is a comparably small portion of the population that means that in the United States, nearly 10 million men suffer from these extreme headaches yet the ailment is mostly seen as a "women's problem".
That of course is not to dismiss the nearly 30 million women who have migraines each year. This is a serious health issue for both genders.
While there is no conclusive reason for this disparity, scientists believe that the effect of sex hormones and the trigeminal nerve appears to have an important role. Part of this is due to the effect of estrogen on nerve cells and blood vessels, making women more sensitive to those things that can bring on a migraine headache.
These stressors include nutritional deficits from lack of quality sleep, skipping meals, stress and anxiety, and withdrawal symptoms from caffeine.
The Benefits Of Foot Reflexology For Migraine Relief
There are many benefits of foot reflexology treatment, not just for migraine headache relief but for overall health and well-being. This centuries-old practice is said to improve circulation, boost the immune system, reduce stress, and promote relaxation. Additionally in traditional Chinese medicine it is said to help improve the flow of qi, a force that flows through the nervous system to points all across the body. All of these things are important when it comes to migraines as well. Stress is a common trigger for migraines, so anything that can help reduce it is worth trying. The improved circulation from foot reflexology can also help to ease pain by bringing more oxygen and nutrients to the cells in the body. While the effects can include immediate relief from pain, reflexology is about getting the body in better balance so you can reduce the immediate pain, but also duration of the attacks.
While there are specific points on the foot that are believed to be more effective in relieving migraine attacks and reducing their frequency, even just a full foot massage will often provide relief and reduce migraine frequency.
Critical Foot Pressure Points Include:
Great Surge - LV3 or Tai Chong is a pressure point that sits between the first and second toe and about 1-2 inches back towards the heel.
Above Tears - GB41 or Zulinqi is located just back from the fourth and fifth toes.
Moving Point - LV2 or Xingjian is found in the space where your first and second toes come together. While this can be challenging to massage it is said to be one of the best spots to relieve pressure and tension around your jaw and face.
There are other important reflex points throughout your foot as well as other parts of your body but these are thought to be the most important for migraine relief.
How To Give Yourself A Foot Reflexology Massage
The most effective solution would obviously be to hire a professional massage therapist trained in reflexology. However, if you want to try foot reflexology at home for yourself, there are a few things you need to know first.
It is important to find a comfortable place to sit or lie down where you will not be interrupted. You will also need to remove your shoes and socks so that your feet are bare. Once you are ready, start by massaging the foot using a circular motion with your thumb. You can then move on to each of the pressure points and massage them for 30 seconds or longer if needed. Repeat this process on both feet.
Alternatively, we think that the Shiatsu Foot Massager from Mountrax does an excellent job but by its nature, the machine focuses on overall foot massage - not just a few specific pressure points. Ultimately that's ok, especially when used in combination with manual massage as well.
Foot reflexology is a simple but effective way to relieve pain from migraines and it can be done in the comfort of your own home. This natural remedy has many other benefits as well and is definitely worth trying if you are looking for ways to reduce the frequency or severity of your migraine attacks. Give it a try today!
Benefits Of A Professional Massage Therapist or Reflexologist
There are absolutely benefits to visiting a professional reflexologist or massage therapist. They will have extensive knowledge of foot pressure points and how to properly massage them. This can save you a lot of time and effort as well as ensure that you are getting the most benefit from the massage.
Additionally, they will be able to provide an overall foot massage that feels amazing and can help relieve tension in other parts of your body as well. While we've focused on the benefits of foot reflexology and acupressure points for migraine relief, these same techniques and have other benefits across your entire body including improving the function of internal organs and sexual function. If you have the opportunity, we would definitely recommend trying out a professional foot reflexology massage!
While foot reflexology is a great way to reduce pain and frequency of migraines, it is not necessarily a cure-all. For some people, migraines are caused by underlying health conditions that require medical attention. If you are experiencing migraines on a regular basis, it is important to speak with a doctor to rule out any underlying causes.
Another benefit is that a professional will be able to talk with you and work more holistically to determine the right type of massage that you can benefit from as well as do a systematic review of teh exact cause of migraine pain and your trigger points. Likewise, many therapists that are certified for migraine massage work as part of a reflexology group where they can provide you with help in improving nutrition as well as medical supplements that can further help to alleviate the kind of pain that you are suffering from.
Additionally, foot reflexology should not be used as a replacement for other medical treatments prescribed by your doctor. Always consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new treatment, especially if you have an existing medical condition.
Get The Most Out Of Your Foot Reflexology Massage
There are a few things you can do to ensure that you get the most out of your foot reflexology massage. First, be sure to find a comfortable place to sit or lie down where you will not be interrupted. You should also remove your shoes and socks so that your feet are bare.
Once you are ready, start by massaging the foot using circular motions with your thumb. You can then move on to each of the pressure points and massage them for 30 seconds or longer if needed. Repeat this process on both feet.
If you have the opportunity, we would definitely recommend trying out a professional foot reflexology massage! However, if you want to try foot reflexology at home for yourself, products like the Shiatsu Foot Massager we tested are a great alternative to doing it yourself since you can just relax and let the machine do its work while you sip on some tea and listen to some calming music.