Suffering from tension headaches? Instead of reaching for painkillers, follow a simple five point plan to ease the pain – naturally.
1. Self Massage
There’s no need to undress or use oil so you can easily follow the moves whenever and wherever you choose. You may find it helps to rest your elbows on a table or desk in front of you.
- Place your hands over your eyes so that you are in darkness. This is a technique called ‘palming’ that helps relax the muscles around your eyes and can bring almost instant relief to a slight headache. Rest in this position as long as you wish. Try to breathe deeply.
- Using one or two hands, now massage your shoulders, neck and the bony ridge (occipital bone) at the back of your scalp. Make circles or rubbing actions with your thumbs and fingers using a pressure that feels comfortable for you.
- Continue these massage moves over the whole of your head. Try to feel your scalp moving beneath your touch. Keep your eyes closed to gain maximum benefit.
- Next, place your fingers on your temples and make at least ten circular moves – clockwise or anti-clockwise. Keep your fingers on the skin and move it slowly against the underlying soft tissue to soften and relax the muscles.
- Finish with some gentle strokes across your forehead. Try stroking with one hand or using your hands alternately, stroking one after the other. Repeat as long as feels comfortable.
2. Cold Compress
A cold compress can help ease a headache. Immerse a face flannel in cold water. Wring out the flannel so that it is moist but not wet and apply to the painful area for about fifteen minutes. Renew as necessary. This can be especially beneficial at night.
3. Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender is a widely used natural remedy for tension headaches. Simply apply two drops to a tissue and inhale. Or place one drop on the first fingers or both hands and gently massage your temples. You can also add a couple of drops to a cold compress.
4. Drinking Water
Dehydration is a common cause of headaches. Drinking a glass of water regularly can help restore the fluid balance in your body. Keep a bottle of water beside you and keep sipping throughout the day.
5. Check it out
Headaches can sometimes be caused by dental problems and poor eyesight, so make an appointment with your optician or dentist if you suffer regular unexplained headaches.
Mary Atkinson is a complementary therapist and author of The Art of Indian Head Massage (Carlton, 2011) and Healing Touch for Children (Gaia, 2009) two popular books for working mothers. For more information please visit http://www.maryatkinson.com