Friday, September 9, 2011

Natural Migraine Relief

Depending on what your trigger is, you may find different things relieving. My trigger is light, heat, what is known as "pitta" in ayurveda.

Feverfew is an herb that can be taken (always check with your doctor and pharmacist!) preventatively, or regularly when you feel one coming on, or have one more full-blown.

Fasting once my headache gets strong helps to avoid severe nausea, but with a weak headache or while fighting one off, eating something comforting helps. Sometimes low blood sugar contributes to tension and pain.

Relax the facial muscles, massage the face and scalp, especially the points around the forhead, temples, eye sockets... Use peppermint essential oil on the temples and hairline.

Shirodhara is an ayurvedic treatment in which warmed oil is slowly dripped from the hairline over the scalp, while you relax on a massage table. It is very excellent for regular migraine sufferers.

I love using a cool, wet cloth over my eyes and forehead, it helps immensely. A long bath, a soak in the hot tub or hot shower can help relax tense muscles that contribute to a migraine intensifying and going full-blown.

If you can, go to sleep! Stay cool (but not shivering cold) and relax your body and especially the face/scalp. Use a wet cloth and keep flipping it to the cool side when you stir. I used to put my forehead up to the wall to keep it cool when I was younger.

If you have to work or stay alert, relax your facial muscles as much as possible. Cool down, or quiet down, if sound is your trigger. Keep your mind present as much as possible, you will feel much more pain as soon as you even subtely stress.

Migraines can be treated with regular meditation, yoga, and staying well hydrated, in addition to observing and respecting your triggers. I have been able to make a full-blown migraine go away with some feverfew, a cold-cloth, consciously relaxing, and resting a little bit. Even while teaching yoga classes, or playing with my toddler, I have been able to keep migraines down to a dull roar with increasing success using these techniques. I have never taken migraine medications and don't plan to. And yes, I experience real migraines. Regular meditation/yoga practice is key because it hones the powers of observation and conscious relaxation that are crucial to recognizing the triggers and actions that make it feel better and worse.

One blessing of migraine pain is it can help you become more acutely conscious of the way you tense your facial and scalp muscles. There is a Guru in everything! namaste!

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