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If you have ever suffered the pain of a headache and especially a migraine, you know that it can be completely debilitating. Migraines can affect cognitive function, cause vision impairments, and reduce your overall ability conduct your regular daily activities. Many people seek treatment from their doctors and end up seeing specialists to try and get control over the pain they are frequently experiencing.

As a last ditch effort to avoid taking more medication, many people are seeking alternative forms of therapy to help combat their headaches & migraines. Even those people who have found the right form of medication to help with the pain, they seek therapies that can help to reduce the overall frequency and duration of each headache/migraine.

Did you know that Lymphatic Drainage can help?

Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) performed by a certified MLD therapist, is a very light rhythmic massage technique that promotes the movement of lymphatic fluid through the body to its proper areas of drainage.   This type of massage is very different from the regular deep tissue Swedish massage. The light, sequential, repetitive movements provide an analgesic effect and has shown to significantly reduce pain. Massage can have the same effect but Manual Lymph Drainage can go that one step further to reduce pain. Individuals who have migraines, there is some research that suggests there is a hyperexcitability of the sympathetic nervous system (your flight or flight response) due to dysfunctioning neurotransmitters which can cause pain. MLD helps to suppress the sympathetic nervous system, ultimately reducing the pain signals being sent.

What should you expect for your treatment?

Most patients find this type of treatment very relaxing and quite often, patients will fall asleep. During the treatment, your therapist would treat any or all of the following areas: neck, head, face, ears and the roof of your mouth (the hard & soft palate). Many patients report feeling their head feels lighter post treatment. Rebound migraines can happen however, patients report that post treatment, migraines are less intense and/or are not as frequent.

Your therapist will discuss treatment plans with you based on the servierty and symptoms but it’s usually recommended to come 1-2 times per week for an hour for the first 2-4 weeks. It’s always good to keep a diary of your migraines to keep track of the intensity and frequency. This is a great way to easily monitor the effectiveness of the treatment.

If you have any questions about Manual Lymph Drainage, feel free to contact Karen Kingsley, RMT & CDT Therapist kkingsley@alphahealthservices.ca. 


By Karen Kingsley, Registered Massage Therapist and CDT Therapist