Headaches are one of the most commonly reported ailments. Stress and tension can trigger a headache, as can food, allergies, sinus inflammation, low blood sugar, hormonal imbalances, caffeine, aspartame, high blood pressure, and constipation. If you are suffering from recurring headaches, try to find the trigger and avoid it if possible. Often, the first solution people turn to when suffering from a headache is to take a painkiller. However, according to Chinese medicine, a headache results from a deeper imbalance. This imbalance needs to be addressed to support overall wellbeing as well as providing relief from the headache itself. The headache may be caused by an invasion of external pathogens such as dampness, heat, or wind. It may also be due to internal disruptions like excess, stagnation or deficiencies. It may also be caused by blockages in one of the 7 meridians that meet in the head.
Conventional headache treatment often involves the use of drugs such as addictive painkillers, vasoconstrictors, sedatives, or antidepressants. While often effective in reducing the pain, these solutions also come with side effects and they do not actually target the root cause of your headache. The following techniques are natural and drug-free and they work. If you continue to experience regular headaches or migraines, please seek advice from a natural healthcare practitioner.
Use your knuckles or fingertips to administer firm pressure at your acupoints on the tenderest side of your head and continue for 30 seconds. Use slow, circular motions to stimulate along with rhythmic squeezing or tapping. Manipulating these acupuncture points allows you to release endorphins (the “happy hormone”) in your brain along with other natural substances that will reduce pain. The other point that is effective in reducing all types of headache pain, is located between the thumb and first finger in the muscular part of the hand. (Do not use this point while pregnant).
With a few drops of lavender or peppermint oil on your palm, you can rub your hands on your temples, the back of your neck, and/or between your eyebrows to enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy. Inhale the remaining oil by cupping your hands over your nostrils and mouth, slowly breathing deeply.
Water is known to be a grounding and very soothing element, and it also has healing properties. Using this technique allows you to manipulate your body’s circulation and stimulate the immune system while promoting detoxification. Hydrotherapy, using the technique described below, moves blood from the head to the feet, helping to relieve pain and congestion. Place an ice pack around your neck, and your feet in warm water, for 10 minutes twice a day.
Breath and Imagery
We tend to hold our breath when we are in pain to help brace ourselves for the unpleasant feelings we’re experiencing. Headaches are often made worse when our brain has an inadequate supply of oxygen, so breathing exercises can help. By taking long, slow, deep breaths and imagining yourself in a place that makes you feel calm and relaxed, you can help ease tension and take your mind off any stress factors. One use of imagery is to close your eyes and imagine your pain being washed away by a cool river flowing through your body.
Enjoy a cup of hot herbal tea
A cup of hot herbal tea won’t just taste great, it can also help ease your headache. Look for a tea with: Peppermint, Chamomile, Lemon Balm, Rosemary, Dandelion, Passion Flower, Feverfew, Lavender, Skullcap, Ginkgo Biloba, Valerian Root, St Johns Wort, Yerba Mate, Winter Green, or Lemon Balm.
Eat foods which are high in magnesium.
When you have a headache, it’s worth considering the foods you are eating. This method will not have an effect that is as immediate as some other methods, but it will help prevent future headaches. Magnesium is an essential mineral that relaxes your muscles and helps to reduce anxiety. It can be found in seaweed, beans, nuts, whole grains, and other foods. These foods will also help stabilize your blood glucose levels, which is a common trigger of headaches.
In equal quantities (about 1 teaspoon each) take clove, almond, and cinnamon and grind them together with a bit of water until a paste forms. Apply that paste on the forehead. A sandalwood powder paste can also be applied to the area to help relieve your headache.