A migraine headache is defined as a severe, pulsating, one-sided headache, lasting from 4 to 72 hours and which is aggravated by routine physical activity. Migraines are often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and/or sensitivity to light and sound. In addition, visual disturbances (auras) lasting from 4 to 60 minutes, may occur either before or during a migraine headache.
Migraines are sometimes called vascular headaches because they involve a restriction in blood flow to the brain. Stress, or some other trigger, causes muscle tension and spasm at the base of the skull, restricting the blood supply to the brain. In response, blood vessels in and around the brain dilate in order to compensate for the reduced oxygen. The pressure of these dilating arteries on cranial nerves causes the severe throbbing pain associated with migraine headaches.
One of the best alternative therapies for a migraine headache is Chinese-style acupuncture combined with the ancient practice of “cupping”. Cups are round vessels, 1′′ to 3′′ in diameter, which is applied to the body with vacuum suction. The vacuum is created either by means of heating the air inside the cup or by a mechanical pump. The local area of low pressure causes the blood to gather under the cup near the surface of the body, creating an immediate improvement in circulation. In particular, cupping helps to reset or regulate the tension in the arteries… helping to relax overly tense arteries and tighten those that are too lax. Cupping certain areas on the back can produce this regulating effect throughout the entire body.
Cupping therapy enables the therapist to go deeper without discomfort to the client
- Improvement of circulatory function
- Regulating & betterment of automatic nervous system
- Removal of pain
- Relaxation of stiff muscles& tendons
- Facilitates the flow of the lymph
- Improves the flow of Blood within the joints
- Improves the secretion of the Digestive fluids
- The most dramatic effect is upon the skin & the body fluid flow in the arteries & veins increases, Thus resulting into detoxification.
- It helps open up the chest & benefits the lungs. Therefore useful in respiratory problems.
In addition to acupuncture and cupping, dietary and lifestyle changes can often help to reduce the frequency and severity of headaches. In this regard, the following suggestions may be helpful.
1.Experiment avoiding foods that are known to trigger migraines for some people. The most common problem foods, in order of importance, are:
- tannins in tea, red wine and apple cider chocolate
- aged cheese
- other dairy products
- poultry, including eggs
- caffeine in coffee, tea and cola drinks
- sulfites in processed meats and seafood
- food additives such as MSG, artificial sweeteners (especially those containing Aspartame) and
- food colorings heavily processed or packaged foods
To find out if any of these foods are a trigger for you, experiment by eliminating one at a time for a couple of weeks and observe any change in the frequency or severity of your headaches. In addition, a number of prescription medications can cause migraine headaches in some people. Read the information sheet which comes with your medication and if headaches are a possible side effect, consult with your Health Practitioner to see if an alternative medication can be suggested.
2. Feverfew herbal capsules – 125 mg. per day and containing at least 0.2% parthenolide. Check the label to make sure it contains standardized 0.2% parthenolide. This herb works best as a preventative and may be taken every day in the above dose. If a migraine occurs, take 500 mg. in one dose and do not take any more Feverfew that day.
3. Magnesium (Citrate or Amino Acid Chelate) – begin with 200 to 250 mg per day and gradually increase your dose up to 400 mg. If your stools become loose, back down the dosage to a comfortable level.
4. Exercise moderately, but every day. Exercise helps to regulate blood chemistry as well as vascular tension. It’s best to alternate with different exercises which move the major muscle groups of the body. Bicycling, rowing and swimming are excellent “non-impact” exercises.
5. Drink plenty of water. Your body weight divided by 2.5 equates to the minimum number of ounces of pure water (including juice) you should drink every day. It’s best to drink water mostly between meals.
6. Take flaxseed + borage oil complex – 1 to 2 tablespoons per day.
7. Two or three times each week, drink celery juice alone or combined with carrot, cucumber, spinach and/or parsley. Or, two 8-ounce glasses of this juice per day can be taken as a preventative, instead of Feverfew capsules.