Vertigo is a spiralling feeling of dizziness all around you that upsets your balance. Inner ear issues, such as infections, are the most common cause. Bright lights, sudden movements and anxiety can all make vertigo worse. Calming massage techniques that reduce stress and increase blood flow through the head and neck arteries can help treat some of the symptoms.
The most common form of massage for treating vertigo is acupressure massage. Based on traditional Chinese medicine, this form of treatment focuses on acupoints which lie at various points along the body. This underlying philosophy of initiating energy flows along meridian lines using specific pressure points is also used in reflexology and Shiatsu massage therapy.
The four main acupoints for treating vertigo with acupressure massage are:
1. Bai Hui point, on the top of the head;
2. Qiao Yin point, behind the ears;
3. Feng Chi point, base of hairline at the back of the head; and
4. Tai Xi point, on the ankle.
These points are also used in acupuncture treatments, which the British Acupuncture Council has said can help sufferers of vertigo.
Feeling anxious or stressed can make symptoms worse. A well-accepted method for dealing with vertigo is to dim the lights, lie down and try to relax. In other words, put yourself in an environment that is very similar to that in which massage is often performed.
As well as being recognised for reducing stress or anxiety, a therapeutic massage can help cure the headaches and neck pain that bouts of vertigo can cause.
When you are suffering from vertigo, going outside to travel is not an appealing idea. Booking a mobile massage service where the acupressure therapist can visit you at home instead helps you avoid travelling through the bright and noisy streets of London, all of which can worsen symptoms.
If you want to try to improve symptoms yourself at home, the most common exercise for vertigo is the Epley manoeuvre which aims to displace and move some of the tiny debris that can collect in the inner ear and cause dizziness and loss of balance. Some massage therapists have been specially trained in this procedure and use it during their session as part of their overall treatment.
It is also possible to try out certain acupressure point massage movements on yourself as shown in this demonstration video. However it is usually easier, safer and more relaxing to ask an appropriately trained professional therapist to perform the treatment.
If you have been suffering from vertigo for an extended period of time it may help to visit your GP for further advice.
It is very unusual for massage to cause vertigo. However, it is quite common for some people to feel a little light headed or dizzy for a short while after a getting a therapeutic massage. This can be especially true for those people who do not regularly receive massages or have low blood pressure.
To avoid feeling dizzy after getting a massage, it is best to remain lying down at the end of your treatment for a minute or two and then to get up slowly. Sit down somewhere comfortable and sip a glass of cool water or lukewarm herbal tea. Allow yourself at least 10 minutes of additional rest time whilst you finish your drink and you should not feel dizzy at all.