By Mansi Agarwal September 2006 Numerous alternative therapies can give you lasting relief for your headache. It was late evening and the fumes of the bus Jasmine was sitting in on her way home from work was making her slightly nauseous. She pressed her temples with her forefingers tightly, to stanch the throbbing headache. Hammerstrokes rained on her head as the honking vehicles set up a cacophony of noise. She reached for her purse and took out a painkiller. ‘Popping a painkiller to suppress these killer headaches are a way of life with me,’ says Jasmine. Satish Ahuja, an engineer, concurs, ‘Frequently, I have to tie a handkerchief around my forehead, not for the sake of fashion, but simply to ease the pain.’ A headache is a pain in the head and neck area that may be either a disorder on its own or a symptom of an underlying disease. The medical term for headache is cephalalgia. Headaches are one of the most common and universal human ills, identified in the Bible and in writings from ancient civilizations. Contemporary doctors divide headaches into two vast classes, primary and secondary. Primary headaches are those that are not caused by an underlying medical condition, such as migraines, cluster, and tension headaches. More than 90 per cent of all headaches belong to this category. Secondary headaches, which constitute less than 10 per cent, are caused by disease or medical conditions. Most practitioners suggest studying the pattern and diagnosing the cause, before applying the therapy to eliminate it. Go AlternativeSince alternative therapies stress diagnosing and eliminating the root cause, one is likely to encounter a permanent solution to the vexation through the use of one or several of them. Most of these therapies are complementary and you will get best results if you mix them. AyurvedaShirodhara is an excellent ayurvedic therapy for the treatment of diseases such as chronic headache, migraine, insomnia, mental stress and other mental diseases. Dr Amarjit Kumar, a Gurgaon-based ayurvedic consultant, says, ‘Shirodhara is a procedure consisting of continuous pouring of medicated oil on the forehead of the patient for an hour to an hour-and-a-half; the type of oil depends on the condition of the patient and the disease.’ He also suggested talapodichil, which consists of pasting a special ayurvedic herbal paste on the head for 30-45 minutes and shiropichu, a simple application of medicated oil on the head, which is administered according to the imbalanced doshas, namely, vata, pitta and kapha, of the patient. Dr Kumar explains, ‘Health can be maintained only if there is a balance of the three doshas. Imbalance in the proportion of these doshas gives rise to ailments, including headaches. Thus the first step to curing recurring headaches is to balance the imbalance.’ He cautions, ‘Aspirin is known to increase vata, which can cause palpitations and other problems, as well as pitta, producing stomach pain, heartburn, and other gastric ailments, which further aggravate the problem.’ Nature Cure‘Nature cure treatments for headaches depend on their root cause,’ says Dr Geeta Pandey, a nature cure specialist practicing at the Indian Institute of Yoga and Naturopathy. Here are some effective and simple measures to placate that thundering affliction.o Place a wet mud slab on the forehead to soothe the aching head, no matter what the cause is.o If the headache is attributed to an upset stomach, the recommended treatment also includes keeping a wet mud slab over the abdomen on an empty stomach twice a day and taking a hip bath. These methods help maintain a healthy digestive system by preventing gastric formations.o The forehead should be massaged with ice cubes in case the headache is triggered by high blood pressure.o Taking a hot footbath, enema, drinking large quantities of warm water till the pain subsides, could ease a migraine pain. These measures reduce distension of the blood vessels of the brain, thus improving circulation. YogaYoga is an age-old healing methodology, which surpasses mainstream medicine even when it concerns curing a simple headache. Asana: Regular practice of asanas holds first place in the yogic approach to headache management. Postures such as halasana, shirshasana are generally very beneficial. Migraine headaches can be relieved by sheetali pranayama, sarvangasana and matsyasana. Singhasana and matsyasana positions also work very well against sinus headaches. These asanas not just cure headaches but impart a general wellbeing as well, thus making the body more supple and fit. Anuloma Viloma: This is the most potent of all pranayamas. It has extraordinary physical effects which improves the oxygenation of the blood, and brings the metabolism and hormonal secretions into balance. This pranayama is highly recommended for curing headaches. Jalneti and sutraneti are very effective in clearing the congestion in the nasal tracts, thus providing relief in the sinus that, in turn, will eradicate the headache caused by it. HomeopathyDr K. M. Chopra recommends medicines that are commensurate with the cause.o Belladonna: Throbbing and palpitating headache in the temples, turning the face red.o Gelsemium: Pain beginning at the nape of the head and slowly coating the whole head.o Glonine: Headache caused by sunstroke or overexposure to the sun.o Spigelia: Excruciating headaches on the left side of the heado Sanguinaria-c: Nervous headache on the right side of the heado Cedron: Unbearable pain recurring at the same period dailyo Ruta: Studying for long hours at a stretch.o Hypericum: Headache caused by injury to the nerves. He concludes, ‘Homeopathy is extremely effective. When the correct remedy for headache is taken, results are rapid, complete and permanent.’ AcupressureDr. Sambit Pattanaik, a Delhi-based acupressure therapist, identifies the main acupressure points corresponding to the head. When these are pressed for three minutes at a time, the headache will be cured.o Wrist hand point 5 (large intestine). This is located between the two bones of the thumb and index finger.o Wrist hand point 1 (Long-7). It is located on the thumb side of the wrist, just above the radial tuberoses; it is about two fingerbreadths above the wrist fold. (Do not forget to close the master lock on the fleshy part of the thumb at the end of the Wrist hand point 5 and Wrist hand point 1)o Face point 4 (sun X): This point is located on each side of the forehead, one-fingerbreadth lateral to the eyebrow in the temple area.o Face point 1 (governing vessel). It is located on the center of the forehead midway between the eyebrows.o Face point 3 (Triple Burner 23): It is located on each side of the forehead at the outer edge of the eyebrow. Dr. Pattanaik advises that pressure should be applied slowly on all points mentioned above three to four times daily. AromatherapyMita Bhan suggests ways to overcome tension-headache through simple aromatherapy ways.o Make a cold compress using lavender and peppermint essential oil, apply the cold compress to your forehead and lie in a quiet, darkened room until the pain eases.o Herbal teas like lemon or chamomile are also beneficial. o A few drops of marjoram essential oil blended in olive oil and massaged on the head or neck area also bring relief.o Lavender and peppermint incense are extensive anxiety soothers. So bid farewell to your headache forever. Dr Sambit Pattanaik (acupressure): (0) 9868049433Indian Institute of Yoga and Naturopathy: (011) 26913567Dr K M Chopra (homoeopathy): (0) 9811600239Mita Bhan: (0) 9810138315
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