Nurse your noggin back to health with these natural ways to ease the pain
“Many of my clients who suffer from reoccurring or persistent headaches, where the standard medical tests have proved inconclusive, often do so because of unresolved stress, anxiety and tension,” says Chinese medicine expert and head of practice at Wu Wei Wisdom (wuweiwisdom.com) David James Lees. “These are two simple techniques I recommend for my clients to try at home: “Often when you have a headache you can become entirely focused on the discomfort and this can make things worse. By drawing your attention away from the headache this can reduce your perception of the pain. “A simple taoist meditation technique that can help with this and takes just five or 10 minutes is called ‘becoming the observer’.
“In traditional Chinese medicine, acupressure uses various points along the energy pathways or meridians of the body. Ill health is thought to arise because of imbalances in energy flow along these pathways and acupressure will help to clear this up. “There are several acupressure points that are helpful for headaches. One is a powerful point on your hands called ‘he gu’ or union valley, located in the web between your thumb and index finger.
“Applying a covered ice pack to the back of your neck can give relief from a headache,” says Dr Surinder Sandhu from Bedford Chiropractic Clinic (bedfordchiropractor. co.uk). “The cold from the ice helps reduce inflammation that contributes to the pain. Make sure your head is up straight at all times while doing this.
“A few simple exercises to stretch your head and neck can help reduce the intensity of the headache,” says Surinder. “Move your chin upwards and downwards, left and right, and bend your neck sideways towards each shoulder. Search online too for cervical exercises which will help. “Laying down with your knees up, roll up a bath towel into a sausage shape and place it at the base of your neck. This stretches your flexor muscles which can cause tension at the bottom of your neck.”
Did you know that a simple cup of coffee could get that bothersome ache to budge? A US clinical trial found that caffeine, which reduces the swelling of blood vessels, can reduce the intensity and frequency of headaches. So if your head is pounding you might want to try putting the kettle on.
This miracle mineral has been shown in studies to lessen the frequency and severity of headaches and migraines. To give pain a nutritional superpunch, doctors recommend taking a combination of coenzyme Q10, riboflavin and magnesium.
“For tension headaches, press a drop of French lavender into each temple, holding the pressure for a moment,” says expert aromatherapist Penny Price (penny-price.com). “Lavender is a sedative and beneficial for muscular and emotional tension. For severe pain, put thee drops of cooling, pain-relieving peppermint and three drops of lavender into a bowl, add 50ml of warm water and soak a flannel to apply across the forehead and temples, leaving for up to 20 minutes. “Headaches caused by catarrh or sinus infection are best treated with inhalations of rosemary and eucalyptus as these are known to be effective in both relieving the headache and clearing the congestion which is causing it. Put three drops of each oil in a large bowl of hot water and with a towel over your head, inhale slowly for a few seconds. Come up for air and repeat,” says Penny. “For a vice-like pain, inhalation from a tissue or a vapouriser gives the quickest reaction; basil and chamomile are great as they are antiinflammatory and antispasmodic, stopping the feeling that your head is in a vice! Three or four drops on a tissue or in a vapouriser is perfect.”
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