A headache or a migraine is miserable and can have many causes. There are some easy tips and techniques to help your headache or migraine, naturally. Simple to follow, easy to do, step by step, choose which help tip appeals to you on the day.
Headaches and Migraines from an Eastern perspective
In Ayurveda, the medicine side of yoga, headaches are classified according to one of the doshas. Doshas are bio-energy centres in the body that determine physical, mental and emotional characteristics. There are three doshas, in varying combinations and related to the elements.
These are vata, pitta and kapha.
Vata headaches tend to be at the back of the head (the occipital area) or on the left side. Fear, anxiety, stress, nervousness, constipation and over exertion physically can be responsible. Tension in the neck and shoulders, back can feel tight, there can be constipation and even sciatica and dehydration. It’s easy not to drink enough and not to be aware of being dehydrated.
Pitta headaches can be linked to the digestive process, too much acidity in the saliva, stomach, intestine or colon as well as overheating and a diet. A pitta headache is more in the temple or temporal area and can progress to the centre of the head. It’s made worse by bright light, sunshine, heat and by eating spicy foods or pickles or sour fruit. A pitta headache can make you feel sick, it can affect your eyes, burning them and making you feel irritable or even dizzy.
A kapha headache links sinus headaches and tends to be in the frontal and nasal areas of the head. There is often sinus congestion, maybe after a cold or hayfever. If it feels worse when you bend down, it will tend to be a kapha headache. It tends to be dull and deep-seated.
Headaches can also be due to ear problems, eye problems, insomnia, food allergies, being too much in the cold, neck tension or working too long in the wrong position.
Views headaches in much the same way, pointing to altered circulation in the head from physical, emotional or dietary causes. The Chinese system of medicine looks to the liver and gall bladder as responsible for migraine headaches; the stomach and digestive imbalance causing forehead headaches. The Chinese system looks to dispersing stagnant energy, prana or chi in the head.
So what can you do?
Being very tired doesn’t help either.
Stay hydrated (when you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated). Too much alcohol can be headache-inducing, of course.
Re-hydrating mix recipe for Headaches and Migraines
If you’re dehydrated, drinking water will be a great help.
Ayurveda also suggests mixing into:
- a pint of water:
- sugar (1 tablespoon)
- salt (1/4 teaspoon)
- about 10 drops of lime juice (or lemon)
This is particularly helpful for a vata headache. If you don’t have a lime to hand, try lemon juice.
Massage the soles of your feet to relieve Headaches and Migraines
Ayurveda recommends gently massaging the soles of your feet before going to bed and also your scalp with oil. Any massage oil will be fine. Ayurveda often uses sesame oil. If you’re worried about oil getting onto the sheets, you can wear cotton socks and put a towel on your pillow. Remember to put soap in your hair before any water if you’re washing your hair the next day.
Of course, getting a massage will be wonderful too but you may not feel like going out for any treatment if you have a major headache.
Aloe Vera tip for Headaches and Migraines
If you have a pitta headache in particular, aloe vera, for your digestive system and inner self can work well. Take 2 tablespoons of your preferred aloe vera , up to 3 times daily. Aloe is a general digestive calmer and can be very beneficial.
Triphala tip for Headaches and Migraines
Ayurveda has other things for digestive calm including Triphala. This is an Ayurvedic ‘three fruits’ remedy and is helpful for all doshas, that is vata, pitta and kapha.
You can take this as a powder (it has a slightly bitter taste), adding ½-1 teaspoon to a cup of boiling water and steep for 10 minutes. It is also available as tablets and capsules
It is not only strengthening and rejuvenating but also has a mildly laxative effect and is therefore very useful in cleaning the digestive system that can be implicated in headaches and migraines.