The days are getting shorter and the weather has turned colder. After a fantastic, long summer it seems that autumn is well upon us. Winter is fast approaching. At least the change in season also signals the end of one of those spring and summer frustrations – allergy symptoms – or does it?

Winter allergies

Don’t mistake the stuffy nose, watery eyes and sneezing for the onset of a winter cold. It could instead be that these symptoms are caused by allergy irritants like pet dander, dust mites and mould spores. It is quite easy to tell the difference. Colds tend to come, hang around for three to seven days and then go away. Allergy symptoms, however, last for much longer and tend to be intermittent. It seems unfair, but if you suffer from summer allergies chances are you are at risk when the winter turns cold as well.

Many of the winter irritants are actually around all year. But it is only when you spend more time indoors, shut the windows against the cold and put on the heating that they spike. The dander and dust accumulates and bring on those tiresome symptoms.

There is, however, good news! If you would rather avoid the antihistamine or steroid treatment when the sneezing starts and the eyes get itchy, you could instead find relief from massage. Perhaps surprisingly massage can be a very effective approach to managing allergy symptoms.

How does it work?

Well, massage can’t eliminate the triggers causing allergy symptoms. But massage helps to reduce stress, increase circulation and release muscle tension. Massage can also re-programme the body’s panic reaction when it comes into contact with an allergic trigger. Therefore, massage can relieve the common symptoms associated with allergies!

Massage for allergies

One of the most effective massages to treat symptoms is facial massage. Facial massage promotes drainage and provides pressure relief on the face. Hot towels can be placed around the forehead, bridge of the nose and the eye area to soften the muscles in these places and relax them. Then, soft massage stokes on the forehead and gentle circular pressure on sinus pressure points around forehead, eyes, bridge of the nose and sides of the nose help to release the sinus pressure that builds up in the head and face area. Loosening the muscles in the neck can also promote drainage after sinus pressure is released.

Experts Tips to Massage away the misery of allergies*:

Massage for Easing Allergy Congestion

  • Place the tips of your index fingers where the inside corners of your eyebrows meet the bridge of your nose. Use gentle pressure, and either hold until you feel a release or massage in slow, small outward circles.
  • Place the tips of your middle fingers just to the side of your nostrils, at the edge of the cheekbone. Hold with gentle pressure or massage in easy outward circles.

Massage to Ease Allergy Headaches

  • With your middle and index fingers, lightly massage temples (outside corners of your brows, above your cheeks) in a circular motion toward your ears. It’s actually an instinctual reaction to rub this point, and for good reason – it melts away pain.
  • Locate the points where your neck muscles meet the base of the back of your skull, and hold with moderate pressure. Press in an upward direction until the muscles release.

Massage to Ease Stress

  • Squeeze the fleshy part of the hand between the thumb and index finger. The thumb of the squeezing hand should be on the top side of the hand being squeezed. Hold with moderate pressure and then stroke for a few repetitions, gently pulling out (in the direction away from the wrist).
  • Place your index, middle and ring fingers at the tops of your shoulders and hold. If massaging another adult, you can also gently squeeze the muscle or rub it along the fibres toward the outside of the shoulder (versus upward, toward the neck).

For all points, hold or massage until there is a release. The pressure should feel good — not painful.

One warning: If you have a fever (and congestion from a potential virus or infection), steer clear of massage of any kind. Because massage increases circulation, it could actually worsen the illness. The same goes for inflammation and skin irritations, like a rash.

*Tips taken from

If you are responsible for health and wellbeing in your organisation and want to know more about our on site massage services, take a look at our On Site Massage webpage.

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