Anyone who has suffered from migraine knows how they can make life truly miserable. Painkillers do give some relief- yet migraines re-occur with distressing regularity and the prospect of one striking at any time is in itself depressing. When you have a migraine, the slightest sound, movement -or even light- sets your head throbbing. The very thought of food makes you nauseous. All you want to do is lie in a darkened room with a band tied tightly around your forehead- and wait for the worse to pass.
Migraines can start right from childhood and last throughout your life. There are various forms of treatment available, but Ayurveda, the world’s oldest system of holistic healing, offers remedies that are completely based on nature and therefore free of any side effects. In Kerala, a tropical paradise in South India, traditional families of Ayurvedic physicians specialize in treating migraines through purification techniques as well as diet and lifestyle changes.
No Quick Fix
Ayurveda does not propagate short term relief for migraine patients. Rather it believes in cleaning the body from within, and removing the roots of the disease. It takes a different approach to migraines from that of western medicine. Ayurvedic remedies for migraine are based on a method of diagnosis based on a delicate balance of three vital energies called Vata, Pitta and Kapha. This balance is unique to every individual, and when it is upset, illness is the result. Generally speaking, migraines are caused by an imbalance of either Vata or Pitta. Ayurvedic treatment to restore the balance involves Panchkarma therapies that include pre-purification therapies and purification therapies, as well as in diet and everyday routines.
Pre-purification techniques are used to get the body ready to flush out toxins. Sirodhara is one such method in which medicated milk, medicated buttermilk and herbal concoctions made from gooseberry or sandalwood, are poured on the forehead for 45 minutes. The main purification techniques in Ayurveda for treatment of migraine are Nasyam and Virechanam. In the former, medicated oil is passed through the nose. Sarsaparilla and nut grass tuber are the ingredients used in the process. Virechanam is the purging technique with oral intake of Ayurvedic medicines. This is followed by the intake of customized herbal medicines called kashayams and lehayams.
Diet and Lifestyle Changes
An Ayurvedic physician will suggest several diet and lifestyles changes. Regular hours for meals and bedtime must be kept, while exposure to sunlight, fasting, excessive exercise, alcohol, caffeine, , fermented foods and processed foods, as well as nuts and peanuts are all to be avoided. Your diet should include rice, wheat, sesame, millet, warm milk, butter, ghee, sweet fruits, coriander, asafetida, cumin, cardamom, garlic and saffron. It is preferable to take cooked vegetables without oil, vegetable juices, fruits such as mango and apple including their juices, salads and buttermilk. In addition, 1 tsp castor oil at bedtime with warm water, and inhalation of steam with vinegar added to the water are both effective. Another remedy is to grind together ¼ teaspoon of clove powder with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon oil and to apply the paste on the affected area for 20-30 minutes. All these remedies will be extremely helpful. Those who have gone for Ayurvedic treatment of migraine report relief from the severe pain, hammering, aching, throbbing and pricking in the head, along with nausea and vomiting which have troubled them since childhood. So if you are a migraine sufferer, why not give Ayurveda a try?