Reflexology for Migraine?

by James on 10 December 2008

Reflexology continues to be a matter of debate, and reflexology for migraine is no exception. For example, in the USA there is a drastic difference from state to state regarding the qualifications required to practise. For example, some states require that you be a massage therapist, others do not.

The idea behind reflexology is that stimulation on various parts of the body (usually feet or hands) can improve the functioning of various parts of the body – various organs, for example. Pressure is applied to specific areas in order to improve the health of each body part.

Recently I’ve been reading over the literature on reflexology for migraine and headache, and I’m afraid I’ve come away unimpressed. I really want to like reflexology. I strongly believe, in fact, that massage of the feet and hands can have a positive impact on migraineurs, and can be a viable treatment.

But reflexology claims to be more than massage. And studies comparing reflexology to massage are often uninspiring. Positive studies are often too vague to be helpful.

With so many treatments out there, we need to ask which are the best ones, which ones are actually worth the cost. So far, the research on reflexology has not convinced me that it should be anywhere near the top of the list for treatment.

As regulations for reflexology have been relaxed, many more practitioners have appeared on the scene. People even want reflexology for their pets. If reflexologists want to offer reflexology for migraine, I suggest they offer larger and more scientific studies showing that it’s worth our money.

Read more about the studies on reflexology for migraine here.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

sandra March 16, 2009 at 8:43 pm

I have chronique migraines that i usualy treat with sleeping pills.
I ran out of pills during an attack one day, and i asked my partner to press points in my nect and head that felt painful. Within half an hour, my migraine was under control, the pain was tolerable. I was really impressed with reflexology.


James March 18, 2009 at 11:38 am

Hi Sandra,

What you experienced doesn’t sound like reflexology (which is usually performed on the feet and hands) but a version of trigger point therapy. We’re currently doing a series on trigger points – check out one post here:
Trigger Points: Identification, Myths, and Preparing to Fight them


acnemike November 3, 2009 at 6:26 am

i am very interested in studying Reflexology. my friend who is a physical therapist is teaching me right now.


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