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What Are the Different Types of Alternative Medicine for Headaches?

By Lumara Lee
Updated May 17, 2024
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Some of the different types of alternative medicine for headaches are biofeedback, aromatherapy and changing nutrition. Acupuncture and acupressure are also sometimes used. While the occasional mild headache can usually be relieved by an over-the-counter analgesic such as ibuprofen or aspirin, some people suffer from excruciating migraines or chronic tension headaches. These people generally need more relief than nonprescription painkillers can provide and can choose either alternative medicine for headaches or prescription analgesics. Alternative therapies can be employed in conjunction with other healing modalities.

Biofeedback is an alternative medicine for headaches and other afflictions that trains a person to consciously lower his physical reaction to stress. During a biofeedback session, electrodes are attached to the client’s skin. These electrodes are sensors that measure muscle tension, skin temperature, or brainwave activity, depending on the type of biofeedback equipment being utilized. Audio or visual feedback is offered, enabling the client to learn how to reduce the stress response and relax, easing the headache.

Aromatherapy is an alternative medicine for headaches that uses essential oils derived from the leaves, flowers, roots, bark, or seeds of plants. Scent can be a powerful force, and just as some aromas can cause headaches in vulnerable individuals, other scents can relieve headache pain. An essential oil can either be sniffed or massaged into the skin.

If an essential oil is going to be used directly on the skin, it must first be diluted with a carrier oil such as sweet almond, olive, or jojoba oil. A number of essential oils have established a track record of reducing headache pain. For example, eucalyptus and peppermint oils are effective at easing headaches caused by sinus congestion. Lavender and marjoram oils have analgesic properties that can be used to relieve pain, and lavender and chamomile oils are good for inducing a state of relaxation which can ease a tension headache.

Nutrition can be used as another type of alternative medicine for headaches. Headaches can be caused by a nutritional deficiency, and taking health supplements can help reduce their occurrence. Studies have demonstrated that taking nutritional supplements such as magnesium, vitamin B2, and coenzyme Q10 can decrease the frequency of headaches. Some migraines are caused by certain foods, and something as simple as eliminating those foods from the diet can be an effective treatment for some headaches. Common food triggers for migraines include chocolate, cheese, nuts, red wine, and the nitrates used to preserve some meats.

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