1. Make liberal use of a few pressure points – Marmani (p.) in Sanskrit – on the face and head. A simple circular massage about these points, or even 30 seconds of sustained pressure can be a source of tremendous relief.
Many are useful in headache and cases of accumulated sinus pressure, but two that I highly recommend are those at the temples, and those corresponding to the grooves in the brows (pictured below). You’ll feel it when you’ve hit the target Marma; the sensation will be very unlike what you might experience at most other areas of the face and head.
2. Reduce your intake of inflammatory foods. These are foods that, in general, have an abundance of the Ayurvedic qualities of heat, sharpness, coarseness, and bulky corpulence. The nightshade family (solanaceae) is a good place to start, though I know it’s not fun to hear – especially since the list of nightshades includes vegetarian favorites such as tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, bell peppers, and paprika. Nightshades are vegetables that contain a number of compounds that exaggerate inflammation throughout the entire system, including solanine (hence, the family name).
When in doubt, you can always tell a nightshade by the shape of its seed, a small, saucer-like nailhead: A few other solanine-containing foods to watch out for: artichokes, okra, and blueberries.
3. Invest in a few detoxifying and/or relaxant herbal teas, or make some of your own at home. I do not formally endorse any brand of herbal tea or herbal tea product, but Yogi Tea Kava Stress Relief is one example of a tea that might prove useful. Else, you might find this simple recipe beneficial (and cheap and easy!):
In 1 cup of boiled water, steep the following for 10 minutes before drinking.
- 2-3 opened green cardamom pods (the small variety)
- 1/2 tsp coriander powder/crushed coriander seed
- 1/4 tsp diced fresh ginger
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/8 tsp dried lavender buds, ground or whole (optional – good for soothing an overactive mind)
4. Cooling, light-ish, ease-promoting foods, which are easily digested and can nourish the body. The aim is to give the body the strength it needs (minus unwanted inflammatory/stress-causing substances) to sustain itself through the metabolism of inflammation-related substances that are already present. I’ll be brief and concise with just a few suggestions here:
- Light vegetable soups, especially if homemade – use lots of wholesome vegetables like carrot, parsnip, green bean, squash and/or zucchini, etc. Combine however you like. Add in fresh greens like escarole for flare and fiber. Garnish with cilantro. Add-in dandelion root for a little extra liver/kidney cleansing power.
- Split mung dal – cook in plenty of water
- Soaked or blanched nuts – almonds are ideal
- Sweet, light, fresh fruits like Concord grapes, pink lady or red/golden delicious apples, ripe pears, etc.
And remember always to eat to your satisfaction, not to your fill. There are a plethora of ways to offer yourself freedom from the suffering of headaches without needing pharmaceuticals or excessive bed rest – begin with some of these, and see how they treat you.
I wish you all lots of light, and great success in achieving headache relief and psychic ease.
Written by Arjuna
(Matthew Van Auken, RYT500, CAWC, TYT, MD/MPH Candidate 2014)