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Shiatsu for Migraines

I used to have severe headaches caused by tension and tight muscles when in my old career, I stopped getting them when I started receiving Shiatsu...

The western terminology and symptoms of Migraines are severe and debilitating for clients, and with this gentle acupressure therapy, I carefully aim to resolve your symptoms, giving you back energy and vitality with treatments.


I find anything you read up on Migraines seems to insinuate that the underlying causes are very complex and very difficult to resolve. I find then if I help a client resolve their pain, even with the severest of symptoms, I question whether 'Migraines' have been alleviated. I have too look at it as though all headaches are caused by dehydration and tight muscles and that the label of Migraines is for western medication. I break down your symptoms into what you're experiencing and then find out why it's happening.

What can trigger your migraine, literally anything? This is where the theory of Chinese medicine really helps me though. It's not about Western medical labels or, 'you can't resolve migraines only alleviate them' adverts. Your symptoms will be personal to you, and your triggers, I can safely say that no 2 people have come in and have identical migraine symptoms where I can go 'ah, that worked before, I do that here', I've learnt that really doesn't work. 

It's really about what the symptoms are to you, what is your lifestyle, your energy and your body doing. A lot of this is done with talking, but the real answers come when I start to assess the state of your back, neck and shoulders. Tension is very easily picked up, and one of the major issues is also week muscles.

Firstly, tension, this is what you feel as this is the name of feeling you have been given. Tension is tightness in a muscle, but you may not realise what you are feeling is a weakness in a muscle. For a Shiatsu Practitioner, it's a quick test to tell the difference. 

Tense muscles can impede blood flow, and to the head (or any body part), this isn't a great scenario. Tension in the channels of the neck can mean that too much or too little of the good stuff is in your head, if too much then you'll probably feel hot in the brow, face, temples when you're having an episode and you'll do what you can to cool down. Too little 'energy' and you'll feel cold and want warmth. 

Whether your face is too hot or too cold, then we come to your neck and shoulders - what temperature are they? This is vitally important in working out what is going on around this junction and how to alleviate it.

A lack of strength in supporting shoulder muscles can lead to your neck muscles taking the weight of your head, and without the supporting muscles, the neck muscles really become tense, this rods of steel.

I always liken your neck and shoulders to being like a tent - your neck is the tent pole, your shoulder and back muscles that support your head and all the resulting movements are the guy ropes. If too slack, the tent pole is left trying to stand erect with no support; if any muscles are too taut, then your head is trying to remain upright (that's what balance does) and its battling against being pulled sideways. It IS a real balancing act and the result can be debilitating head aches.

So why do people have aura's and occular symptoms?

Firstly I’ll say, I don’t know, I’m not a doctor, but as a Shiatsu Practitioner, I’ll say that you can never rule out what the body does when it’s in an acute state of stress. As I said above you may have intense heat trapped in your head, or be extremely cold, both of these severe temperature changes can be taking effect on your eyes, your brain, your sense of smell and taste, your balance. Your blood supply maybe being cut off, and any combination of muscles maybe in spasm.

Coming for shiatsu to work through and relieve your migraines I understand is a bold step, you are most likely going to experience a migraine during or just after one of your early treatments. Sometimes to unblock the issue there is an intense time where the symptoms are exacerbated. The main thing is to not be disillusioned, we have to work through a complexity of symptoms, and deal with many muscle imbalances to resolve the underlying cause of your migraines. People do find relief if they’re brave enough to keep the treatments going. I recommend at least 3 treatments to give you a chance of finding Migraine relief.


Known as The Great Eliminator (DO NOT PRESS IF PREGNANT) the point in the graphic below releases and relieves pain throughout the body. I've seen a clip you can purchase on clip on but then I've seen it done with a clothes peg too. Have a go, you can press yourself but for continual pressure you may want to get the peg: 


I've been in to detail above about whether Migraines have a hot or cold basis and hopefully you can work out which you are. I think a majority of people though they may feel heat symptoms in their heads or face, once you check your neck and shoulders tight cold muscles play a major part in the cause of the attacks. 

This hot water bottle does 2 things, it fits nicely around your neck and due to it holding nearly a kettle full of water it creates a nice weight on your shoulders. If you like the heat and weight this most definitely means you have cold tight muscles, and impeded blood flow. 

I've also got some essential oils in the photo, Lavender relaxes and Peppermint dilates blood vessels. I have though come across many women who can't stand the smell of peppermint when they have headaches. I suggest mixing just one drop of peppermint with 5 drops of lavender, once blended you can't so easily smell it but it can still have the desired effect.

Hot water bottle came from Dunelm.

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