Migraines can be triggered by stress, sudden changes in temperature, fatigue, and even food allergies. Whatever the cause, they are often disabling. Reflexology is a very old therapeutic method that involves pressing points on the hands and feet to relieve tension throughout the body. By applying pressure to specific places, reflexology can be used to relieve migraines. You can also use it to alleviate certain headache triggers, such as allergies or stress.
Part 1 of 5: Getting ready for a reflexology session
Step 1. Take stock of your symptoms
The symptoms of migraines vary widely from person to person. A given individual may have only one or two symptoms, while another will have them all. Here are some of the most common manifestations of migraine:
- throbbing or pounding headaches
- high sensitivity to noise, odors and light,
- nausea or vomiting
- a feeling of cold or heat,
- unusual pallor
- very severe fatigue,
- blurred vision
- visual disturbances such as black or very bright spots, flashes, distortion of lines, contours and contrasts,
- ringing in the ears
- the impression of smelling strange smells,
- have weird sensations.
Step 2. Consider whether you prefer to do a session alone or to be treated by a professional
A professional reflexologist has the skills to deal with the specific health issues you are facing. However, if you do your reflexology sessions yourself, you can do them as often as you want, since they will cost you nothing.
The fact of combining both professional reflexology sessions and sessions carried out by you at home will allow you to derive even more benefits from this discipline
Step 3. Find the right time
It is not necessary for a reflexology session to last more than 10 or 20 minutes to be effective. On the other hand, it will make you much more effects if you are relaxed when it takes place.
- If you feel that you are having a migraine onset, to prevent the intensity of the headaches from becoming unbearable and the pain from setting in, do a reflexology session as quickly as possible.
- It is better to have all your time in front of you. If you are hungry, eat a bit before you start. It would be a shame if you were disturbed by your stomach gurgling throughout the session.
Step 4. Find a quiet, calm place
Settle into a room where you can relax and dim the lights. It should be a place where you are sure not to be disturbed during your reflexology session.
You can also put a little background of soft and soothing music
Step 5. Cut your fingernails
If you have nails that are too long when you press against your skin with your fingertips, the session will be much less pleasant for you. Whether it's for yourself or to practice reflexology on another person, cut your fingernails before you begin.
Step 6. Make yourself comfortable
Sit in a chair or lie down, the important thing is that you can relax. Take several deep breaths to let your body relax. Push any stressful thoughts out of your mind.
Step 7. Hydrate yourself before you begin
Drink a glass of water before starting the session. Some specialists believe that this promotes the effectiveness of the treatment.
Step 8. Keep a reflexology board handy
It is sometimes difficult to remember all the correspondences of the areas of the hand and the foot with the various parts of the body. If you have a board with you, it will be easier for you to heal yourself effectively.
Step 9. Take some reflexology accessories with you
There are a number of items that can be useful when practicing reflexology, such as wooden logs, small wooden or rubber rollers, or the like. For example, you can roll them along the arch of the foot.
Accessories can be useful in reflexology, especially for people who do not have enough strength in their hands and fingers to press hard enough on pressure points
Part 2 of 5: locate pressure points for migraine relief
Step 1. Find the point of the third eye
The point of the third eye is between the eyebrows, just above the bridge of the nose. Applying pressure to this point relieves headaches, but also visual fatigue or ulcers.
Step 2. Find the pressure points near the temples
There are a few points that form an arc on either side of the head. They must be activated all together to be effective. They are located a distance equivalent to the width of a finger above the ear, along it. These points are:
- hair time curve
- valley thread
- heavenly hub
- floating white
- head portal yin
Step 3. On your neck, find the pool wind point
Behind your ears, on either side of the head, is a point where the skull and neck muscles meet. By pressing this point on both sides, you will relieve migraines, but also eyestrain, colds, flu-like conditions and lack of energy.
Step 4. On your foot, find the point that corresponds to the temporal zone
There is a point at the level of the feet which allows to relieve the headaches when they are felt on the side, at the level of the temples. This point is located between the big and the second toe, on the inner part of the big toe.
If it is your right temple that is sore, press on the pressure point of the left foot. If, on the other hand, you have pain in your left temple, use the pressure point on the right side
Step 5. Find the points of the four doors on the feet and hands
The four gate points consist of the Tai Chong colon on the feet and the He Gu colon on the hands. They are commonly used to treat headaches.
- Tai Chong: You will find this point on the top of the foot. Locate the webbing between the big toe and the second toe, then follow the bones up and down the foot, until you reach the joint between the bones of these two toes. Then go down about the width of a finger. You feel a little hungry there, this is where the Tai Chong point is.
- He Gu: You will find this point on the top of the hand. Locate the webbing between your thumb and forefinger. Squeeze your thumb and forefinger together so that the muscle between the two comes up. The point you are looking for is at the top of the lump formed by this muscle.
Step 6. Find the Zu Ling Qi point on the top of the foot
On the top of your foot, look for the intersection between the bones of the little toe and the bones of the next toe. The Zu Ling Qi point is just below the junction between these bones, you will feel a little hollow.
Step 7. Find the point that is used to relieve facial migraines
On the big toe, there is a point that helps treat facial pain. On the top of the big toe, the entire area between the base of the nail and where it is attached to the foot is a pressure point that is used to calm the pain associated with facial migraine.
Part 3 of 5: doing self-reflexology
Step 1. Start by tackling the most painful area of your migraine
Headaches are often more intense either in the forehead or on one of the two sides of the head. So start your session by pressing the point corresponding to the most painful area.
Step 2. To relieve the pain you feel on the side of the head, massage the opposite foot and hand
Pressure points on the left foot or left hand help to resolve problems in the right half of the body. As the energy meridians cross at the level of the neck, it is important to take this into account when you want to calm a pain above it (such as headaches for example). The energy that originates from one side of the body then flows to the opposite side, passing through the neck.
If you only have a headache on one side, you will only need to do reflexology on one foot and one hand, those on the opposite side of the pain
Step 3. Press firmly on the pressure points
Once you have spotted the energy nodes you were looking for, you need to press hard enough to stimulate them. Be careful, however, never to the point that the pressure becomes painful.
Step 4. Work on the tender points
Be aware that you may feel that certain pressure points are a bit more delicate or sensitive, depending on which parts of your body are in need of healing. If you have a particularly sensitive pressure point, insist on it. Keep pressing, but do it more gently.
- When you encounter a sore spot, take a deep breath to let the unpleasant sensation pass. Press less hard, but do not release completely.
- If on the other hand the point becomes painful, leave it alone, you will come back to it later.
Step 5. Press down on the point by pressing and turning
To work on a pressure point, you need to make a slightly circular motion. Press for about 7 seconds, then release. Then resume pressing for 7 seconds.
Step 6. Use your thumb to apply pressure to the points of the opposite hand
Find the He Gu point, which is between the index finger and thumb. If you have a headache on the left side, press this point on the right hand using the thumb of the left hand. The right hand must remain very still. Relax the rest of the left hand, only the thumb should move slowly back and forth over the pressure point. Each movement should last at least four seconds.
- Perform 3 sets of five movements on this area of your hand.
- Do this daily to prevent migraines or make them less difficult to bear.
Step 7. Work on both sides of the body
Even if you only experience a headache on one side, it is best to treat the spots that are on both feet or both hands. In this way, you will be sure that the energy flow is going satisfactorily throughout your body.
Step 8. Do no more than 20 or 30 minutes of reflexology
Since reflexology is a powerful method, you might experience unpleasant side effects if your session lasts too long. It releases toxins into your body that can cause nausea, dizziness, or increased sensitivity to light. You may be faced with these symptoms if you abuse reflexology.
If you are in poor health or if you are an elderly person, it is better not to do a session of more than 10 minutes
Step 9. After the session, drink plenty of water
It is always desirable to hydrate yourself well after a reflexology session and all the more so if you have insisted on the points related to the liver. The water will help to cleanse the liver well.
Step 10. End your session by giving yourself time to rest
Always plan for a quiet time after a reflexology session. If you can, take a nap.
Part 4 of 5: understanding how reflexology works
Step 1. Use pressure points for pain relief
Reflexology is a method of applying pressure to points on the hands and feet that correspond to different areas of the body. The theories that explain the impact that these points can have on pain are diverse and numerous. Some specialists believe that reflexology can stop the nerve impulse of pain before it reaches the central nervous system and the brain. This method also promotes the release of tension in the body, which may have the effect of alleviating the painful sensation.
Step 2. Realize that you must actively participate in your healing
Reflexology does not "heal" the body. It is in fact a technique which causes the body to heal itself, by circulating energy in the organism. The more you see reflexology in a favorable light, the more likely it is that you can benefit from it.
Step 3. Feel the energy flowing through your body
Reflexology considers that energy flows through the body following a number of meridians. When you activate pressure points, you should be able to feel the journey of the energies.
Step 4. Use reflexology to restore balance to your body
Because it helps you relax and unwind, reflexology helps the body regain proper alignment. It also relieves you from stress, which tends to make all health problems worse.
Step 5. Understand the scientific arguments behind reflexology
Numerous studies have shown that reflexology has a positive effect on the body. The following phenomena were notably observed.
- The improvement of certain symptoms (for example at the level of the functioning of the kidney).
- Patients are more relaxed (anxiety level and blood pressure are reduced).
- Decreased pain (for example pain related to kidney stones or osteoarthritis).
- In one of the studies, after three months of reflexology sessions, about two-thirds of the patients surveyed perceived an improvement in their condition. At the same time, 90% of these patients stopped using painkillers to treat their headaches.
- Reflexology has also been shown to reduce the side effects of cancer treatments, relieve postoperative symptoms, but also those of diabetes and many other diseases.
Part 5 of 5: take notes about your migraines
Step 1. Keep a journal of your migraines
Write down all the outside factors and what you were doing when the headache started. Doing this type of debriefing can help you identify what triggers them.
- Calculate how often your migraines occur and how long they last. Most of the time, a migraine lasts a few hours. When they are really intense, they can last up to several days. They can occur very frequently, for example every two or three days, or be more spaced and occur two to three times a month. For some of us, it's even once or twice a year.
- Also keep track of the intensity of your migraines. Are they particularly strong after you've eaten chocolate, for example? Do they last longer if you are going through a period of intense stress?
Step 2. Try to limit your stress level
Stress is one of the most common headache triggers. It can manifest as anxiety, intense excitement, worry, or any other strong emotion. When you are stressed, the muscles tend to contract and the blood vessels to dilate, which can make headaches worse.
Step 3. Watch your caffeine intake
If you drink too much coffee, chocolate, or eat other foods that contain caffeine, you increase your risk for a migraine.
Step 4. Watch for preservatives and additives you are likely to ingest
Many people are sensitive to additives and preservatives found in foods. Mention may be made, for example, of sodium glutamate (or GMS), nitrates (which are used, for example, to improve the preservation of meat), alcohol and aged cheeses.
Step 5. Consider the weather
Changes in the weather and in particular variations in atmospheric pressure can promote the onset of migraines in people who are prone to them. For example, you may start to feel some kind of pressure on your head when the storm approaches.
Step 6. Take your menstrual cycle into account
Women are more prone to migraines than men. They may have headaches during or just before their period. Write down the days you have migraines throughout the month to see if they align with certain stages in your cycle.
Step 7. If you have other health problems, see your doctor
Migraine is sometimes associated with other pathologies. Here are a number of illnesses that can trigger migraines:
- chronic fatigue syndrome
- sleep disturbances
Step 8. If your migraines become severe, talk to your doctor
Even if they are rather rare in proportion to the number of people affected by headaches, severe migraines can be truly disabling. The most serious migraines can be classified into several categories.
- Hemiplegic migraines: this type of migraine can cause nervous disorders and temporary paralysis. Be careful, however, the symptoms associated with this type of migraine are similar to those of stroke, so it is better to check with a doctor.
- Ophthalmic migraines: they occur when you feel the first pain in the back of the eyes and you may no longer see in one eye.
- Basilar artery migraines: you are confused, you feel dizzy, and you have pain in the back of your head. In some cases, these migraines also trigger ringing in the ears, vomiting, or even an inability to speak properly. Experts believe that this category of migraine is linked to hormonal variations.
- The migraine state: Migraine is so intense that people who suffer from it mostly end up in the emergency room. It is caused by certain drugs.
- Ophthalmoplegic migraine: it is characterized by pain in the eye, a drooping eyelid, double vision or paralysis of the muscles around the eyes. This is a medical emergency that requires urgent medical attention.
- Each pressure point allows you to work on a specific area of the body or head. You can try to stimulate several points to see which will relieve your headache the most effectively.
- The effectiveness of reflexology is increased when it is practiced in conjunction with another form of holistic medicine such as herbal medicine, yoga or meditation.
- If you think your headaches are abnormal, talk to your doctor.
- In general, it is better to avoid practicing reflexology on pregnant women, at the risk of triggering premature childbirth. Before embarking on reflexology sessions, first seek the advice of your midwife or doctor.
- If you have had fractures in your feet or hands in the past, reflexology may be contraindicated for you. If you have any doubts, consult your doctor.