One in six Americans experience chronic headaches. Headaches are especially common at this time of year when allergies wreck havoc on your sinuses. Luckily, Chinese medicine has an arsenal of natural remedies to help soothe your aching head.
When you have a headache, your body is trying to tell you something. 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 improper diet. It is best to heal pain using natural methods, so you can avoid side effects and also become more aware of your body’s unique needs.
Heal With White Light
How often have you uttered these words in a stressful situation: “This is giving me a headache!” It turns out that the human brain is genetically programmed to translate physical and emotional stress into headaches. Headaches can typically be prevented by relaxation or stress-releasing techniques like meditation and tai chi. Here 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 water 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.
4. Repeat for 10 minutes.
Usually you will experience a quick reduction in symptoms right after this exercise.
Herbal Tea Helps Headaches
Sichuan lovage, or ligusticum, has for centuries, been a traditional Chinese remedy for agonizing migraines. The usual dosage is 300 to 500 mg daily, or it can be taken as tea, 2 or 3 cups a day. You can find ligusticum (not to be confused with European lovage) in health food stores, online, and at the offices of acupuncturists and Chinese herbalists.
Ginger, a natural anti-inflammatory, has been used for thousands of years by the Chinese to cure pain. To make ginger tea, you can cut up the root, boil it for 10 minutes, then strain the water and sip as tea; you can also use ginger tea bags available in health food stores.
Release headache tension with this simple tea recipe: Boil 5 dried plums (prunes), 1 tablespoon of green tea, and 2 tablespoons of mint in 3.5 cups of water for 15 minutes. Drink no more than 3 cups a day when you get a headache until the pain subsides.
Press Valley of Harmony for Headache Relief
Recently, a patient’s 8-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 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.