6 Healing Benefits of Pressure Point Massage
As massage therapy becomes more integrated into Australia’s healthcare system, more and more people are heading to their massage therapist to alleviate physical and mental stress.
With that, it is important to know the various types of massage that are available and how each massage discipline can help in your healing.
Many people are familiar with the popular Swedish and Hot Stone Massage—along with the relaxation benefits that those massages provide. But if you’re looking for quick and lasting pain relief for a variety of ailments, why not try Pressure Point Massage next time.
What Is Pressure Point Massage?
Pressure point massage uses a technique that focuses on moving and manipulating pressure points to relieve pain throughout the body.
Interestingly, the associated pressure points are often not near the site of the actual pain. This is why it’s important to have a good understanding of which pressure points relate to which parts of the body.
Also, pressure points are very sensitive and can leave a patient in pain if not manipulated appropriately. So, it’s always best to have a professional masseuse conduct your pressure point analysis and massage.
What Are Pressure Points?
Pressure points are specific areas on the surface of the body. Manipulating pressure points can trigger or relieve pain, depending on how they are moved. Martial artists use pressure points to cause pain and disable their opponents while massage therapists use pressure points to relieve pain and other ailments.
When performed correctly, pressure point massage can provide great health and healing benefits.
About 23% of households contain at least one person who suffers from chronic headaches or migraines. And anyone who has had a bad headache or migraine before knows that they can be debilitating.
While most people look to over-the-counter medicines to treat and prevent their headaches, there is another–and potentially more effective–way.
Recent studies show that pressure point massage can relieve chronic headaches and reduce their occurrences. Often, this relief comes immediately after, or even during, a massage session.
There are a couple of potential pressure points thought to relieve headaches and migraines. The most common is on the back of your neck at the base of your skull.
To manipulate this point, a massage therapist will likely reach behind your head with both hands, locate the base of your skull, and gently, but firmly, massage the area on both sides of your spine. To get the best results, many massage therapists will also tilt your head back and forth as they massage the pressure point.
2. Back Pain
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, about 3.7 million Australians suffer from back pain. That’s about 16% of the population! Additionally, they found that between 70 and 90% of all Australians will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives.
That’s a lot of back pain suffering!
And while medicines are available to help with back pain, they often do not provide total relief and come with a host of side effects.
Pressure point massage is an alternative option well worth trying.
Massage therapists will often focus on pressure points in one of three areas to help with back pain:
- Sciatic nerve
Much of back pain is generated from irritation with the sciatic nerve, so massaging this long nerve from the top of your back down your legs is likely to help with the pain. The feet and palms also contain pressure points that have been shown to relax the body and alleviate back pain.
2. Ankle and Foot Pain
Considering the athletic and active nature of many Australians, it is not uncommon for people to experience ankle and foot pain.
Fortunately, pressure point massage can help relieve pains in these areas immediately and, with regular massage, stop them from coming back.
Generally, a massage therapist will focus on pressure points around the bases of the ankle bones. These points are known to help relieve pressure and pain in the feet, ankles, and sometimes legs.
3. Hand Pain
Having tight and sore hands is not only painful and uncomfortable, but it can also prevent you from completing your work or leisure activities.
While there are several pressure points in the hand to relieve hand pain, many massage therapists focus on one in particular.
The primary pressure point for relieving hand pain is located halfway down the palm, in between the small and ring finger.
Therapists massage this pressure point with short, hard strokes that move upward and outward as a key component of a more expansive hand massage.
We all experience stress and anxiety. And while there are several ways to decrease and manage these ailments (i.e., meditation, exercise, breathing techniques), not all of these methods are suitable for every environment.
For instance, if you find yourself super stressed out in the middle of a work meeting, it’s probably not the best time to go into a meditation session.
When you can’t resort to your preferred method of stress management, you can always rely on pressure point massage. And while a massage therapist best performs extensive pressure point massages, there are a few stress relieving tactics that you can quickly employ until you make your appointment.
- Scalp – massage the base of the scalp for 20 second intervals
- Ear – run the tip of your finger, or pen, on the upper loop of your ear
- Eyebrows – run your middle finger in the space between your eyebrows
- Palm – use your thumb and massage circles in the centre of your palm
5. Sinus Relief
For some, sinus pain is seasonal–associated with pollen and other irritants. For others, they are a more unpredictable occurrence. Either way, sinus pain can put an immediate stop to your plans and halt productivity.
While there are several prescription and over-the-counter medications available for sinus relief, some can take days to start to work.
However, pressure point massage can provide more instant relief from pain and pressure related to sinuses.
The pressure points for sinus pain are located at several points on the face. A massage therapist will likely focus on the following areas:
- The eyebrows and between the eyes
- On and around the nose
- Around the base of the cheek bones
It’s always best to seek professional advice and treatment if you are just starting out with pressure point massage or if you are experiencing prolonged discomfort.
If you’re anything like us, you love a good massage. They can truly heal the body, feel great, and come with a host of other health benefits. Check out our additional posts on hot stone massage and remedial massage to find one that interests you.