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Migraine: What is it and can reflexology help?

Many of my clients come to me suffering from migraines to see if reflexology can help. It is always so rewarding to see the migraines improve and see the improvement in their quality of life. Although it is a really common complaint, they are frequently misunderstood. As a migraine sufferer myself, I can assure you, they are much more than just a headache! Migraines can be really debilitating for many people, severely affecting their quality of life and leading to time off work.

What is a migraine?

Many people think a migraine is just a headache, but it is much more than a headache. I suffer with migraine myself occasionally, so can speak from experience! Migraine is usually a moderate to severe headache but can affect the whole body, with many people experiencing other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting or increased sensitivity to light and noise, leading to people often wanting to rest in a dark, quiet room. Other people can also suffer from sweating, feeling hot or cold, stomach ache and diarrhoea. You can have a migraine with or without an aura. An aura is warning symptoms which can last for 5 minutes to an hour before a migraine happens. The aura can be difficulties with vision, such as flashing lights or zig zag line, having difficulty speaking, or feeling dizzy or numbness or pins and needles. The symptoms, intensity, frequency and duration of migraines can vary enormously between sufferers.

What causes migraine?

No one knows exactly what causes a migraine to happen, but it is thought to be abnormal brain activity resulting in temporary effects of nerves, chemical and blood vessels in the brain. Usually individuals will have trigger factors, which result in a migraine. There are many things which may be a trigger factor, for example certain foods, caffeine, alcohol, hormonal factors, stress, anxiety, poor sleep, bright lights, strong smell or some medication. If you suffer from migraines keep a diary of what you have eaten, how your feeling, how much sleep you have had etc and see I you can find a possible trigger to help you try to avoid this in the future. Also recording the date, time and length of a migraine can help you to determine how often they are happening and if there is any pattern as to when they occur.


If you get a migraine, simple painkillers such as paracetamol and rest can often help. However, if you have frequent or severe migraines you should see your GP to discuss this further.

So can Reflexology help migraine?

Reflexology can also be really helpful. Reflexology is a gentle non-invasive therapy, which reduces stress and helps improve sleep, both of which can lead to migraine. As well as foot reflexology, I have found some of the more specialist techniques I do, such as auricular reflexology and reflexology for lymphatic drainage to be useful, however each treatment is tailored to the individual client so they get the treatment which will give them the most benefit. Many of my clients have noticed a marked improvement in their migraines with regular treatment. I’ve included a review from one of my lovely clients below so please read it to see her experience.

‘When I first went to Karen I was on a lot of medication for migraines. She made me feel at ease straight away and has worked miracles for my migraines. In almost 1 year I have gone from taking 3 different types of medication to only taking a vitamin supplement for my migraines. I now only get 1 or 2 a week, where I used to get between 3 to 5 a week. If anyone is thinking of using reflexology for anything I could not recommend Karen enough.’ KE

So if you suffer from migraine, reflexology may just help. Get in touch if you’d like more information or to book an appointment.

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