There is certainly a time and place for consuming pain-relieving drugs to alleviate headaches quickly and easily. And then there are times when the pains calls for a wiser more involved choice. When the pain is demanding you look deeper than the loudest symptoms and when more support is needed. Not just band-aid fixes or chemical blocks to mask pain. 

The more chronic tension and stress have been in our body, the more outside intervention we may require. And yet, what greater way to honor and respect the intelligence of our body and it’s inherent ability to heal itself; than to explore the real cause of our pain and the messages it is relaying to us?

Bodywork can offer major relief, meanwhile also helping us listen more closely to what is going on in there – inside our body. Unparalleled to any pill, and without the side effects that prescription and over-the-counter drugs can cause.

Let’s briefly explore how it can help…

Massage is one of the best ways I know of to turn down nagging discomfort several notches. It has the potential for significant and long lasting results. A therapeutic massage with a skilled therapist will release muscles and nerves that are bound up in knots. Ironing out our soft tissues helps to improve range of motion, realign the bones, enhance fluid flow to and from the head, and release the pressure or strain in the jaw, face, head, entire neck and shoulders.

Cranio-Sacral Therapy uses a gentle contact with deep presence, and small  mechanical adjustments to unwind compression patterns and enhance fluid flow (including the cerebral spinal fluid) to areas that have been restricted, blocked or hindered. A profoundly effective and deeply relaxing therapy, CST is a great adjunct to re-establish balance, function, and vitality throughout the entire body.  

Acupuncture has been helping headache sufferers for ages. Far from hurting, this holistic approach works by unblocking qi (life-force) that runs through channels, or ‘meridians’ throughout the body and nourishing any deficiencies that may be present. Through a variety of natural remedies and strategies to effectively help people with all types of headaches/migraines, as well as other conditions such by sinus infection, allergies, hormonal imbalances or high blood pressure. 

Chiropractic Care helps realign spine and joints so they are no longer compressing or impinging on the nerves. When there is a bony obstruction or misalignment, D.C.’s have many methods within their field that can help restore function. Someone with a sensitive body may want to find a more gentle, less invasive style of care. Whereas a more robust body might want a more direct and high velocity adjustment to reset their bones. I  personally recommend finding a chiro before you are in crisis. As with all bodywork, chiropractic care is preventative, too.

Reflexology initiates the body’s own healing response by stimulating specific reflex points, such as the sinuses, head, neck and jaw without actually having to touch your head, along with other systems that may contribute to occurrence of headaches.  Every system of the body can be influenced through the nerve endings on the feet, hands and ears. It seems a little strange, maybe a little mysterious, unbelievable even. Yet it really does help! It feels wonderful and makes your whole body feel better.

These are some of the most effective ways to naturally and sometimes permanently alleviate the debilitating effects of headaches.

Bodywork not only helps reduce pain and restore function, it also stimulates the release of feel-good neurotransmitters and endorphins. Therapeutic touch has amazing abilities and often leaves you feeling more relaxed, connected, and rejuvenated.

Essential Oils are a great addition to any of these self-care regimens, when headaches manifest. Massaging them into the cranky muscles of your neck, shoulders, temples, and sinuses can assist in increasing circulation, decreases muscle spasms, and cools down inflammation. Inhalation of certain oils can open your sinuses and induce calm and clarity. Peppermint, Rosemary, Eucalyptus, Lavender, Myrtle, Ravensara, and Frankincense are all wonderful remedies for headaches.

If you suffer from recurring headaches or other discomforts, before going for the quick fix…instead consider exploring what the real underlying cause of the pain is. Rather than seeing your pain as something to avoid and resist, see if you can perceive the pain for what it is a message. Maybe find a qualified holistic practitioner(s) and see if the solutions they offer are a better long term approach for you. 

More than likely, your body is asking you to slow down and fill up your cup, you’re too compressed and depleted. Or perhaps you need to make some lifestyle changes (such as diet or stress-inducing situations) or address a past trauma that you never fully dealt with. Either way, bodywork can be a true ally on the path to recovery. 

Help the healing process along and trust your body to guide you. Receive bodywork. You may end up healthier then you were, when you started. 

How does one go about benefiting from bodywork’s application? If you’re curious and want to explore this topic, read along on other blogs

Shalene Zarate, LMT, NMT, CST
Beyond being a massage therapist, Shalene’s calling is to help deepen the relationship people have with their own nature, by helping them re-establish a close relationship with their bodies, and with the foods and lifestyles that nourish them.