Not everyone who suffers from migraines is able to, or necessarily wants to, treat them using medicinal drugs. Pharmaceuticals are not for everyone.
Massage is one potential therapy which may be considered by those migraine sufferers who, for whatever reason, are looking for alternative migraine treatments.
Massage can help to relieve muscle spasms, relieve tension, promote relaxation (stress is an incredibly common migraine trigger!), and improve blood flow and circulation. In past studies it has been shown to help effectively relieve vascular and tension-type headaches, but few studies have looked specifically at the efficacy of massage in treating migraines.
One small-scale study conducted by the University of Miami School of Medicine found that massage therapy subjects who had two half-hour massages per week for five consecutive weeks had fewer distress symptoms, less pain, more headache-free days, better sleep, and an increase in serotonin levels.
Dawn Buse, Associate Professor of Neurology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the Director of Behavioral Medicine at the Montefiore Headache Center in New York has commented in the past about this lack of date; “data on the efficacy of massage for migraine are somewhat limited. This does not mean that massage is not helpful for migraine, but rather that there have been few studies, and they have had smaller samples and less rigorous designs, so we do not have the scientific evidence necessary to make a conclusive statement about its efficacy.”
So, although research studies on using massage to treat migraines are limited, it could be worth doing. Certainly it helps to counteract known migraine attack triggers such as poor sleep, muscle tension, and circulatory issues.