Headache Massage

 By: Parry P
Headaches are sometimes a symptom of a disease or disorder such as influenza or sub arachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Most headaches, however, occur independently of other disorders, develop gradually, clear up in few hours and leave no after effects.

A) Characteristics of headache:

1. Headaches are sometimes a symptom of a disease or disorder such as influenza or sub arachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Most headaches, however, occur independently of other disorders, develop gradually, clear up in few hours and leave no after effects.

2. Majority of headaches, however painful, are likely to be only temporary, brought out by strain or muscular tissues, or by changes in blood vessels in head, neck or both.

3. Other factors, either alone or combined that give headaches include stress, too little or too much sleep, overeating or drinking, and a noisy and stuffy environment. Job stress, over thinking, strain over eyes due to continuous work on computer etc also result in stress.

4. Tension headache: Occurs due to strain on facial, neck and scalp muscles. Stress may also result in contraction of muscles head and neck cause pain.

5. Vascular headache: Occurs due to swelling of blood vessels in head area that result in stretching of their walls. It can result in tightening of head and neck muscles and cause in addition, a tension type of pain producing mixed type of headache.

6. Migraine: Characterized by periodic headaches usually on one side, generally with other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and disturbed vision, that almost completely incapacitates you for as long as they last. Migraine with headache tends to run in families. Certain foods including cheese, chocolates, caffeine, red wine, provoke attacks. Often there is relationship between recurrent headaches and menstruation or stress.

7. Cluster headaches: A variant of migraine, most commonly seen in men, characterized by sporadic episodes of extreme pain on one side of head, typically begin in night with an intense throbbing pain. Often lasts for several hours and then disappears, only to return within few hours or at same time next day. After several days of repeated episodes, headaches disappear and they may not recur for several years.

B) Aims of massage:

1. To reduce sensation of pain as massage stimulates body's natural painkillers.
2. To relax muscles of head, face, and neck and reduce tension and stress over it.
3. To increase overall strength and nourishment of brain and other tissues and help to prevent further attacks.

C) Process of massage:

1) Body area to be massaged: Massage over head is usually sufficient. Massaging over face, neck and both shoulders is also beneficial.

2) Direction of massage movements:

* Massage movements over head and face should be circular. The back of head is to be massaged in vertical direction.
* Finger movements in vertical direction over head help in absorption of oil.

3) Useful massage tips:

* Oil should be warm at time of massage.
* More amount of pressure or friction should be applied over head to facilitate absorption of oil through hair and skin of scalp.
* However, use of palm is best avoided over front of head. Instead, finger movements in vertical direction are advisable.
* Use of palm in vertical direction over back of head is advisable and that over cheeks in circular direction during facial massage.
* More oil should be massaged over soft spot on top of head.
* Continuous massage for at least 25-30 minutes should be given over head. Local fomentation over head or warm water bath after massage is advisable.
* Post-massage, avoid contact with cold air and cold food.

D) Use of different oils for massage:

1. Oils that will nourish and increase strength of brain and other tissues should be used such as sesame oil, coconut oil, almond oil etc.

2. Herbal drugs like Sida cordifolia, bacopa monnirei etc should be added to sesame oil used as base during preparation of medicated oil as these drugs provide strength and nourishment to brain.
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