Headaches can be debilitating, if not incapacitating. And there are many angles one can approach in trying to ease the pain. Some of the massage techniques that seem to alleviate pain are as follows.
MASSAGING THE TEMPLES
Everyone knows that making gentle small circles at the corners of the eyes can ease some of the tension that collects around the eyes and brow. Topically using a little neat lavender essential oil while massaging can have an analgesic effect, as well as cooling the area. (Be careful not to get the oil too close to the eyes). Other essential oils that may release tension are chamomile, peppermint, rose or rosemary. These latter oils should be mixed with a little carrier oil (like almond, or even olive) before being applied to the temples. These essential oils also can be inhaled as well, either by placing a few drops on a tissue or in an aroma lamp.
By massaging the temples you are gently moving the greater wings of the sphenoid bone in the middle of your head. The sphenoid houses the pituitary gland, so any gentle loosening of this bone positively affects the entire endocrine system. Headaches seem to lock down the sphenoid, creating a whole body discomfort, so this simple movement becomes very important for relief.
PRESSING AT THE CORNERS OF THE EYES
There is a really good pressure point at the inside corners of the eyes that seems to help most headaches, but in particular, digestive headaches (cause by digestive indiscretions). By putting firm, but gentle pressure in the corners, aiming the pressure up and towards midline (medial & superior), you can feel an easing up of the frontal plate, so that it doesn’t feel like you are wearing a tight band around your forehead.
RELEASING AT THE ETHMOID/FRONTAL JUNCTION
This hold also accomplishes the similar effect as pressing at the corners (above). Here you are distracting the frontal plate off the ethmoid bone, giving a sense of more space around the eyes. To do the technique, place one finger just above midline where your brows would meet, and one finger on the top of your nose. With gentle, light pressure, pull your fingers away from each other, and hold the pull until you feel a releasing of tension.
SCISSORING ACROSS THE FOREHEAD
To relax and release the tension that builds up in your forehead, use a scissoring movement across your brow. Start at one side and have the index finger of one hand slide between the two fingers of the other hand, then pull out, gently stretching the tissue (fascia) of the forehead. This helps release that tight banded pressure that builds up the middle of the head.
PINCHING THE EYE BROWS
This hold can bring relief a few different ways. You can first hold either side of each eyebrow simultaneously for a little while, then gently bring them in towards each other, then move the upwards, then out, then down – as if you were making little circles with the eyebrows. This loosens the tissue (fascia) around the eyes and forehead and brings more blood circulation and flow to the area.
By holding the ‘meat’ of the ear (the strongest part of the cartilage) and gently pulling the ear out and back (anterior & lateral), you can affectively distract the temporal bone out from its relationship to the other bones. This releases the membranes under the temporal bones and allows fresh cerebral-spinal fluid to cleanse and nourish the area. The more cerebral spinal fluid one can get flowing in the head, the less intense a normal headache will be.
CV4 STILL POINT DEVICE
Either by tying 2 tennis balls tightly in a sock, or by purchasing a sill-point inducer, one can go a long ways in reducing headaches and creating a tonic effect for the body. Lying on your back, place the balls at the back of the head, more or less directly in alignment with the center of the ears. Place them so that the entire weight of your head rests on the two balls. They should be under your skull in a symmetrical position from the midline of your head, in that it should not be at the base of the skull, but rather above the muscle line, which technically is near the top of the occipital bone below the lambdoidal suture.
This technique was inspired by Dr. John Upledger, of the Upledger Institute and this is what his website says about this device.
By applying gentle pressure to the base of your head, you can create a pause in the rhythm of the cranio-sacral system. These still points increase the movement of fluid through your system, which can remove tissue tension and improves your body’s ability to relieve pain and stress naturally.
Simply lying in a relaxed position on the Still Point Inducer for 10 to 20 minutes a day can bring about comforting results:
- Helps relieve headaches
- Eases chronic musculoskeletal pain
- Enhances immune system efficiency
- Facilitates your body’s self-correcting abilities
- Provides deep relaxation and helps reduce stress
- Promotes an overall sense of well-being
For those inflicted with a tight jaw, grinding of the teeth, biting the inside of the cheek or jaw clicking, then you know how painful it can be when you try to chew, yawn, sing or sometimes even smile.
Here are some self-help techniques that will assist in relaxing the muscles that affect the TMJ and will allow more mobility in the jaw.
Hold 1 – UNDER THE MANDIBLE
Hook your thumb under the jaw line, close to where the mandible begins its upward sweep (near the ear). If you feel around under the jaw line at the back, you’ll find a spot where the thumb just seems to settle into a little notch. It’s very subtle. Basically you are looking for a spot under the jaw that could feel very tender and ”zingy”. You actually want that zingy quality, bordering on pain, because when the body feel becomes aware of tenderness, it begins to send healing energy to that area, which then awakens the tissue and the release begins. The quality should be zingy, still in the ‘it hurts so good’ range. Hold this spot until the zinginess seems to begin to dissipate.
Feel around under the jaw for any other spots that are tender or slightly painful and hold those until the tenderness diminishes. . It’s best to only hold one side at a time.
You are working on the supra-hyoidal muscles that pull the jaw down in an inferior direction. By holding the muscle, you begin to soften it and gain more mobility and flexibility in the hyoidal muscles.
Hold 2 – UNDER THE EARS
Raise your elbows up parallel to the ground and feel for a zingy spot directly underneath the lobe of the ear in the soft squishy part (the stylus process). Imagine that your index fingers can meet in the center of your head. Hold the zing and wait for the sensation to dissipate.
Hold 3 – UNDER THE CHEEKBONES
The cheekbone looks like a checkmark, coming down from the side of your nose and shooting back up towards your ear. You want to find the lowest part of the check mark, or in other words, the most inferior aspect of the zygoma. Once found, apply gentle pressure upwards on the bone. It could feel very tender and almost painful. Remember, you are going for the zingy quality, holding the pressure until the tenderness lets up.
In this technique, you want to disengage the zygoma by bringing space to the sutures at the temporo-zygomatic arch, and at the maxilla-zygomatic suture.
ANOTHER CHEEKBONE TECHNIQUE
Using a clean finger, hook up under your cheek flesh, on top of the gums of the teeth. Go as far back as you can to the place where there is tenderness – that zingy quality – and hold the area, pressing a little superior until the zing begins to dissipate. You are on the pteregoid muscle and by putting a little upward pressure in it, you can disengage the zygoma, which will relax the temporal bone.
Hold 4 – THE CORNER OF THE NOSE
At the very corner of the nostril, where the nose curves under the opening to the nostril, there feels like there is a little dip in the bone. It’s almost like the finger just slips into the indent in the bone. If you apply pressure here, you can feel the radiation of zinginess down into the top of the teeth. Here you are stimulating the maxillary palate and opening the suture in the middle of the maxilla. Only do one side of the nose at a time, and wait for the tingly sensation to release.
Hold 5 –“HOME ALONE”
To allow the muscles to relax and release, place the part of the hand where the fingers meet the palmar surface, right above the lower jaw. Your jaw should be slack and mouth slightly open. Bring an inferior drag down on the jaw by letting the weight of the arms become heavy and pull down. Hold this position until you feel the jaw readjust in the socket and move more freely.
Hold 6 – EAR PULL
By holding the ‘meat’ of the ear (the strongest part of the cartilage) and gently pulling the ear out and back (anterior & lateral), you can affectively distract the temporal bone out from its relationship to the other bones. This releases the membranes under the temporal bones and allows fresh cerebral-spinal fluid to cleanse and nourish the area and it eases the pressure of the mandible in the temporal condyle, which should help releive some of the pain.
CORK IN MOUTH
This is a weird one that I saw on Oprah the other day. Apparently Dr. Oz said that if you put a cork in your mouth and passively bite down on it, the cork will help realign the mandible in the condyle, and will ease tension. Oprah actually had the cork vertically in her mouth as a demonstration!
MASSAGING THE JAW
Bring the tips of your finger to the space just under your ears and make small circular movements with the pad of your fingers. The pressure should be light, but deep enough to engage the muscles. Work all along the area, massaging in front of the ears, behind the ears and down along the jaw line.