One in six Americans experience chronic headaches. Luckily, Chinese medicine has an arsenal of natural remedies to help soothe your aching head.
According to Chinese medicine, pain is your body’s signal that there is a blockage of energy and blood. Your body is asking you to notice, evaluate, and change the behavior that caused the pain in the first place. For example, a headache may be pointing to an improperly balanced diet. It is best to treat pain using natural methods so you can avoid side effects and also become more aware of your body’s unique needs.
In rare cases, headaches may be due to severe medical conditions, such as glaucoma or brain hemorrhages. If you experience severe, debilitating headaches that don’t respond to over-the-counter medication, visit your physician or the emergency room immediately.
Here are a few all-natural remedies to alleviate headaches:
1. Press Valley of Harmony for headache relief
Recently, a patient’s eight-year-old child was suffering from a headache. I was able to bring her the benefits of acupuncture without the needles. I simply used my own fingers to administer acupressure on an acupoint in the web between her thumb and index finger called Valley of Harmony. Within five minutes, her headache was gone.
Find the acupoint Valley of Harmony (Li 4) on yourself. It’s in the web between the thumb and index finger on both hands. Apply steady pressure with your thumb until you feel soreness. Hold for 2 minutes. Repeat on the other hand.
Find the acupoint Great Yang (taiyang), which is in the indentation of the temples. Stimulate the point with the knuckles of your thumbs or the tips of your index fingers. Massage in circular motion for five minutes.
2. Massage your headache away
Give yourself a simple spa experience to help relieve a headache. Put five drops of lavender essential oil in one cup of warm water. Soak a small towel in the water, wring it dry, and then place it on your forehead as a compress during a headache.
You can also apply tonic oil, which consists of oils of camphor, peppermint, eucalyptus, fennel, and wintergreen, to your forehead and massage gently in a circular motion. For a traditional blend of tonic oil in a pure sesame oil base, try my formulated Tonic Oil.
3. Heal with white light
Many of us have often said, during a stressful situation, “This is making my head ache!” It turns out that the human brain is genetically programmed to translate physical and emotional stress into physical pain, including headaches. Headaches can typically be prevented by relaxation or stress-reducing techniques like meditation or Tai Chi. The following is a simple visualization meditation called White Light Meditation that I have taught to my patients to reduce stress and headaches:
1. Sit or lie down comfortably. Clear your mind, relax your body, and breathe deeply and slowly.
2. Inhale and visualize a white light or clear mountain spring entering your body at the top of your head and flowing down to your abdomen.
3. Exhale and visualize the white light or water continuing its downward course from your abdomen to the bottom of your feet, where it drains out.
Repeat for 10 minutes. Usually you will experience a quick reduction in symptoms immediately after completing this exercise.
4. The Food Factor
What we eat on a regular basis affects the energy flow in our body. The foods we eat eventually end up in our blood and meridians in the form of energy. Good eating habits help maintain a good flow of energy and blood to the head, preventing headaches. Some common headache-causing culprits to cut back on include sugar, wine, cheese, and caffeine (although caffeine may alleviate one temporarily, especially if you are addicted to it).
Here’s an uncommon food remedy: Drink a glass of fresh carrot juice every four hours until the headache subsides.
May you live long, live strong, and live happy!
Dr. Mao Shing Ni, best known as Dr. Mao is a bestselling author, doctor of Oriental Medicine and board certified anti-aging expert. He has appeared regularly on “Dr. Oz,”“The Doctors,” and “EXTRA.”Dr. Mao practices acupuncture, nutrition and Chinese medicine with his associates at the Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica and Newport Beach. Dr. Mao and his brother, Dr. Daoshing Ni founded Tao of Wellness more than 25 years ago in addition to also founding Yo San University in Marina del Rey. To subscribe to his tip-filled newsletter please visit www.taoofwellness.com. To make an appointment for evaluation and treatment please call 310.917.2200 or you can email Dr. Mao at [email protected]