Friday, March 20, 2015

Have Headaches?

By Levena Lindahl and Megan Lindahl 
Tips to Unwind from a Massage Therapist

Let’s face it, college can be stressful!  Students have to deal with so many deadlines, papers and tests throughout the semester.  If you work and take care of a family on top of schoolwork, it’s no wonder that students get headaches. 

Here are a few helpful tips for getting rid of headaches that have you avoiding taking more pills and helping yourself unwind both at home and even in class.

There are many things you can do yourself to help with headaches instead of reaching for more ibuprofen. When you feel a headache coming on, a great way to kick it is by putting a cold compress on your neck, either on the back of your neck or your throat. Then place your feet in warm water or wrap them up in a heating pad/blanket. When you have a headache it is common for blood to rush to your head. This is why your neck and face will often feel hot. What this tip does is send the excess blood away and down to your feet so there is less pressure in your head, which can lessen headache pain.

This isn't always possible though when you aren't home. Here are some self-care massage techniques:

Using your fingertips, massage in small circles on either side of the spine on the back of your neck. Slowly work your way up until you feel the base of the skull. This is known as your occipital. Use your thumb to apply as much pressure as you can just under the hard occipital bumps. Slowly move your head up and down and you will feel the pressure start to relieve. Next, use your finger tips to make small circles just behind your ears. This will relieve tension coming from the neck as well. After that, continue to push in with the finger tips making small circular motions across the whole scalp. This will help eliminate the tension that is most likely causing the headache.

Other things you can do to help with headaches would be to give yourself a foot massage! Rubbing the foot with extra concentration on the big toe will help eliminate headaches according to the practices of reflexology. Either way, a foot massage is a good stress relieving way to take care of yourself.

If the headache is sinus related, a chilled compress on the face will help calm down the stuffy nose. Nasal passages get blocked when the blood vessels in the nose expand. Use your thumb and middle finger to press down hard on either side of the nose. After holding this point for at least 20 seconds, slowly start moving them in an outward direction. Repeat this a couple times. Then put your thumbs together and press on the inside top of your eye brow. Hold this for 20 seconds and then slowly move them out, following the top of the eye brow. This helps relieve sinus pressure and helps your body circulate the pollen out better.



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