Have you been getting headaches? Let’s just affirm the truth about headaches right now; they are the worst! Staying positive and productive when your head is pounding is no easy feat. Am I right? In this email, we are going to explore some natural options for relief and even prevention. But first, let’s talk about where most tension headaches come from: Stress!
If you missed our blog entitled “Stress: Let’s End It”, check it out. I highly recommend practicing that simple mind-shifting technique to drastically reduce the low- and high-level stress that contributes to tension headaches. The technique is a practice, so you have to do it repeatedly and consistently to reap the benefits. Just like you cannot go to the gym once and expect to get in physical shape, you cannot just do the mind-shifting exercise once to get in mental shape. You have to keep working it until it becomes a natural pattern of thinking.
I view headaches as a major sign to “stop and listen”. Seriously, your head is in pain! I cannot imagine the body sending a clearer message. More often than not, headaches are a result of stress. Stress also affects the rest of the body, often tensing up the neck and shoulders, right? Well this is exactly where the trigger points are located that cause headaches.
There are two major trigger points that get activated by tension, often leading to headaches. These trigger points are also the acu-points often used in treating headaches: SJ-21 and GB-20.
1. SJ-21 is the “nagging knot” right at the top of the shoulders that sometimes feels like a soft ball. You know the one. The point where your shoulder bag or purse weighs down the heaviest.
2. GB-20 is the point where the neck meets the back of your skull just behind your ear.
Neck Release Exercise
To relieve the tension in these two points, use a yoga block as a pillow and gently roll your head side to side over these points very slowly. Notice the neck muscles release as you roll across the muscle attachments along the base of the skull. You definitely want to be laying flat on the floor for this exercise. The bed is too soft for you to get the full affect.
To release the trigger point at the top of the shoulders, you will need the heeling affects of ashiatsu deep tissue massage. I say “heeling” because it is literally the heel of a foot moving deeply into that knot which is going to get it to release. Applying this direct deep pressure into the upper trapezius actually sends a message to the brain for the muscle to let go. That giant knot is the body’s way of carrying the heavy load of stress. When deep pressure is applied, it triggers the shoulder muscles to let go! Amazing! Believe me, you want this!
Here is a wonderful home treatment that you can use for quick relief when you are in the thick of a bad headache and the related body tension:
The Cold/Hot Treatment
· If you have the ability to get yourself into a hot bath, do it. And while the water is filling, see if you can find something in the freezer you can put on your head. (If you have an ice pack, great! A bag of frozen peas wrapped in a thin cloth will work just fine). Lay in the hot bath with a cold pack over your eyes and forehead and stop thinking about life for a while.
· No tub? Make yourself a foot bath by filling a large bowl with hot water. Sit with your feet in the hot water and place a cold pack on your head.
· You can also rub a drop of peppermint oil on your forehead and temples. (Be careful not to get in your eyes). On top of being cooling, peppermint has a natural calming and numbing affect and is also used as a treatment for nausea.
The Chinese medicine theory behind this cold-hot treatment is about calming or descending the Qi and blood. When you have a headache, there is a disproportionate amount of Qi and blood in the head and the goal is to move it down and out to release pressure in the head. Applying heat to the lower areas of the body will draw the Qi and blood out of the head down into the feet. Additionally, adding cold to the head will speed up this process of evacuating excess energy.
What Have You Found That Works?
If you have some natural remedies or techniques that have worked wonders for you, we would love to add them to our list of resources. Please share by filling out our contact form and adding your suggestions! We look forward to hearing from you!