Aside from the more obvious treatments for headaches which include (of course) chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, physiotherapy and so on, there are actually a few things that you can do at home if you are so inclined. And sometimes when you’re in the throw of a bad headache, anything you can do to avoid medication is sometimes the best option for you. Here are some of our (non-clinic-oriented) methods:
1. Lavender oil. Essential oils are excellent for a variety of concerns, and lavender oil is a good one to use for those tension-type headaches. Either rubbed onto your temples or inhaled via a few drops placed into boiling water, the soothing essence of lavender is almost magical. Check out our YG bath salts that contain lavender – a warm bath is a great way to enjoy the natural benefits of lavender oil.
2. Compress. I usually tell my patients that using heat is best for moving blockage, and so naturally a warm compress on your forehead would be ideal if that’s where you’re feeling the pain. But if cold feels better there (and it often can if the headache accompanies some heat), then go ahead and use a cold compress. The idea is to stem the pain, not create a cure. And physiologically speaking, cold might help reduce some inflammation that may help reduce the pain.
3. Constrict the Blood Flow. Some people, believe it or not, find relief by tying a scarf or bandana tightly around their forehead to constrict blood flow to their scalp. While the efficacy of this is debatable scientifically-speaking, there may be some logic in the process if you consider the pressure points that may be activated during this technique.
4. Ginger. Taking some fresh ginger and cutting some into some boiled water can be great for reducing the pain of a headache. In Chinese medicine, ginger is hot in nature and so might not help the kind of headache that accompanies heat signs (see ‘Compress’ above), but can be good for many other types of headache pain. And adding a little honey can make it a nice treat for what is likely not a fun time to begin with.
5. Almonds. Almonds contain some pain-relieving properties, and have been known to help cure headaches. Note that almond milk, while made of almonds, will not likely offer the same benefits, probably because of the process the almonds have been through to become milk. Just avoid California almonds because of the environmental impact on salmon living there.
By Richard Lobbenberg, Registered Acupuncturist and TCM Practitioner