From the category archives:


Help for Headaches

by Ed

Self treatment for headaches is often very successful. There should be no need to reach for the extra strength pain reliever. One trick that sometimes works is “chasing the pain”. Try to pinpoint the exact location of the pain in your head. As you relax and put your attention on the sensations in your head, it is often difficult to tell exactly where the focus of pain is. The more you search for it the more it goes away.

Should that fail, try acupressure. Look for tender points in the webs between the fingers and the toes. Between the thumb and first finger it’s in the meaty area just above the web. I have a picture in a previous post. When you find a tender spot hold it hard enough that it feels sore, but not too painful. As the soreness subsides hold it harder. When it is no longer sore move to another point. Carry on until the headache is gone. That should take two or three points.

While you are doing the acupressure, it is also helpful to practice, deep relaxed, abdominal breathing. However, for some people with migraines, that can be counter-productive, so if the headache is getting worse, ignore the breathing. Instead, you could imagine you are standing barefoot, on a nice warm beach. Feel the heat of the sand warming your feet.

If you try all of those techniques and it doesn’t work, let me know. Tell me exactly what your experience is, and I can fine tune the self treatment for you.

Stop fighting it

by Ed

One thing I have learned, especially with pain, but also other symptoms, is to not fight the symptom. If you are experiencing pain, tensing up against it, does not help, it only makes it worse. If you can completely allow the pain, accept it with your whole being, not only will you feel better, but you may have a breakthrough in your healing.

There are several things you can try, to allow the symptom in.

  • Close your eyes and bring your awareness to the area that has pain or another symptom. As you breathe in imagine the breath going to that area. As you breathe out allow that area to soften. On the inhale you can also try breathing in light or warmth.

  • Imagine that your resistance is a fist held tightly around the symptom. Feel the fist and slowly let go. This can be combined with the previous point.

  • Just explore the sensations. When you get curious about pain, it’s quality changes dramatically.

  • Practice surrender. I am not sure how else to put it, but sometimes, when in intense pain, I just keep surrendering to it.

I have a food allergy, and one of my reactions is that my esophagus goes into spasm. It is incredibly painful and I can’t swallow for about half an hour. I have never felt pain as bad as that. One time when that happened I practice surrender and exploring the sensations, together. It was an almost ecstatic experience. The pain went away very quickly, but I almost wished it didn’t because I was enjoying it so much. I have never had that pain, so intensely, since that experience.

Acupressure First Aid

by Ed

Here are two famous acupressure points that are very useful for self-help.

hegu Hegu is well known as the headache point. Find a sore spot in the meat of the hand, between the thumb and first finger.

Hegu is also useful for colds, sore eyes, toothache, and allergies.

Neiguan is the famous motion sickness point.

neiguanIt is located about three finger widths from the wrist, between the two tendons on the palm side of the arm.

Neiguan is good for all kinds of nausea including morning sickness, tightness in the chest, tight diaphragm, hiccups, and insomnia.

When you have one of the symptoms hold or massage the point for a minute or two, or until the symptom goes away. On a very bumpy flight I hold neiguan until it gets smooth again. It is also a good point for calming anxiety.

If someone faints, try pressing quite hard between the upper lip and the nose. Of course, always seek medical attention when appropriate.