- Rest - Now I realize this probably seems obvious, however we often don't give ourselves the rest that our bodies need. Headaches occur due to a great number of factors and although rest may not completely get rid of your problem, it will often help diminish it. My headaches usually arise due to tension. These tension headaches leave me feeling physically and mentally weak for hours at a time and usually don't go away until I sleep and wake up.
- Balsam - This is my favorite and go to remedy for headaches. For this remedy, you will need a balsam of your choice. Some brands of balsam I recommend are Tiger Balm, Monkey Holding a Peach, or Rosebud Menthol and Eucalyptus. These balms are useful for a variety of things, most people know Tiger Balm to be useful for muscle aches. These balms have a strong scent, much like Vicks Vapor Rub. I always like to keep balsam in my purse for those pesky headaches; White Monkey Holding a Peach is perfect for this because it is very compact. If you live in LA, you can head to Chinatown and you'll be sure to find all sorts of balsams. I found my White Monkey Holding a Peach at Wing Hop Fung in Los Angeles. You can find Tiger Balm in various stores such as Whole Foods however they tend to be more expensive. You can also find balsams online. Just note that some of these balms (like Tiger Balm) contain petroleum jelly (more info in future post) which may be something you want to avoid. On the plus side, there are so many of these balsams out there that you can definitely find one without the petroleum jelly if you prefer.
- Sliced potatoes - This is an old remedy that my momma taught me and it is surprisingly effective. For this you will need a freshly peeled potato and a bandana. First you loosely tie the bandana around your head. Then slice the peeled potato in about quarter inch pieces. Then take these pieces and slide them into the bandana. I recommend you then go and rest in a nice dark room and let the potato work its magic. I'm honestly not sure why this potato remedy works (no sufficient research) however I do know that it is an Old Irish folk remedy and that people definitely have had successful results from this remedy, myself included!
- Massage - If you are experiencing a tension headache, have someone massage your shoulders or neck or massage your own. This helps relieve the tension that often travels down the neck and into the shoulders and causes all that tension. I like to take some balsam, warm it up between my fingers, then massage my shoulders and neck and also around my ears. The balsam helps relax the muscles. After massaging, make sure to use a scarf, sweater, or blanket to cover your neck and shoulders. Keeping this area warm also helps relieve the tension. Leaving it exposed to the cold will cause your muscles to tense up more which will lead to more tension.
- Tips to avoid headaches:
- Relax - Often our headaches are due to stress, so give yourself a break! Just put everything aside and take time for yourself. Do something that calms and puts you at ease. Read a book, do yoga, meditate, or sleep. Whatever it may be, give yourself that break every once in a while to keep your mind fresh.
- Breathing - Take long, slow breaths to help you relax. Focus on inhaling slowly, then exhaling slowly. Pay attention to how your body relaxes as you exhale. Also pay attention to your shoulders tensing up; I often find that my shoulders become very tense, with deep breathing I also make sure to relax my shoulders.
- Stretching - This is again directed towards tension headaches and muscle strain the the shoulders and neck. Loosen up your shoulders by rolling them forward then back. Gently turn your head from side to side, raise your arms above your head and stretch. All of this will aid in relaxing your muscles.
- Water - Drink lots of water throughout the day. A common contributor to headaches is dehydration. By staying hydrated throughout the day, you remove the possibility of suffering from a headache later on!
- Sleep - Don't sleep too little and don't oversleep! Both of these will become an immediate factor in getting a headache. Make sure to get a sufficient amount of sleep each night.
- Eat - Make sure to listen to your body when you are hungry and eat. Skipping meals can result in low blood-sugar and dehydration. By eating regular [healthy] meals, you remove the possibility of getting a headache due to these reasons.
|White Monkey Holding a Peach|
|Rosebud Menthol and Eucalyptus|
What do you do to get rid of or prevent your headache without taking pain killers?