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Identification of Food Sensitivities for Migraine Sufferers

A nutritional assessment is an integral part of the evaluation for migraine sufferers. Often, identification of food sensitivities and elimination of one or more offending foods from the diet can reduce both the frequency and intensity of the headaches. It is an effective treatment, in which the use of prescription medications can be minimized or even stopped. This is especially important in treating pregnant women, for whom pharmacologic interventions are generally contraindicated.

Keeping a food diary in order to identify potential “trigger foods” is the first step. How do you know if you have identified a potential trigger food? Common symptoms of food sensitivity can include fatigue, muscle and/or joint aches, headaches, excessive flatulence, bloating, heartburn, confusion and irritability. Often these symptoms occur several hours after the consumption of the offending food substance. Food sensitivities trigger an inflammatory reaction, unlike a food allergy which triggers an “allergic reaction.” Common “allergic” symptoms include tongue swelling, watery eyes, wheezing and shortness of breath – which can develop into a medical emergency.

Common causes of food sensitivities include foods that contain lactose, gluten and/or wheat. That being said, be aware that ANY food has the potential to be a food sensitivity, even fruits and vegetables. That is why keeping a food diary is so important. If you find that during a particular meal, you experience the symptoms of a food sensitivity, eliminate what you think may be the trigger foods from your diet. Your diet, at this point, should consist only of foods not commonly implicated in migraines including:

  • Brown rice
  • Plain or carbonated water
  • Cooked green, yellow, and orange vegetables (artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, chard, collards, lettuce, spinach, string beans, squash, sweet potatoes, tapioca, and taro)
  • Cooked or dried fruits (cherries, cranberries, pears, or prunes but no citrus fruits)

When you notice migraines have decreased or subsided (usually within a week or so), having noted the potential trigger foods in your diary, slowly add them back one at a time every few days to observe which foods trigger your migraines to come back.

Foods that are the most common triggers of migraines should be added last. If the food is associated with a migraine, it should be removed from the diet for 1 to 2 weeks and then reintroduced to observe if a similar reaction occurs. If no symptoms arise, that food can remain in the diet.

By: Dr. Sandy Cho, MD

REFERENCES

  • Egger J, Carter CM, Wilson J, Turner MW, Soothill JF. Is migraine food allergy? A double-blind controlled trial of oligoantigenic diet treatment. Lancet 1983;2:865-869.
  • Karli N, Akgoz S et al. Clinical characteristics of tension-type headache and migraine in adolescents: a student-based study. Headache 2006;46(3):399-412.

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How to Use Your Local Farmers Market to Treat Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis, and Migraines

It is no secret that diet plays a large role in treating many different types of conditions. But in the spring and summer months there is plethora of medicinal treatment options set up at little tables in communities all across the county – Farmers Markets. Farmers markets are the off-shoot of nature’s bounty providing a virtual organic pharmacy disguised by sweet, fresh, and delicious produce. Here are some farmer’s market gems for treatment of Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis, and Migraines.

Fibromyalgia

  • Cherries and Raspberries – Having strong anti-inflammatory values, most red fruits can have a stronger pain and inflammation reduction value that is ten times the average aspirin treatment. Recent studies have also shown that tart cherries can also help with sleep problems that are often associated with Fibromyalgia.
  • Cantaloupe, Watermelon, Broccoli, Collard Greens, and Kale – The local farmer’s market favorites are proven alkaline forming foods. Adding these to a Fibromyalgia diet can also reduce inflammation and help to combat the symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome which is commonly diagnosed as a co-morbidity with Fibromyalgia.

Osteoarthritis

  • Strawberries, Bell Peppers, and Cauliflower – High in vitamin C and absolute staples to get from any farmers market, produce power houses provide a healthy dose of vitamin C which is vital in the formation of both collagen and proteoglycans.
  • Spinach, Pumpkin, Tomatoes, and Carrots – These market gems are high in beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is strong antioxidant that helps reduce the progression of Osteoarthritis.

Migraines

  • Spinach – Especially when eaten raw, spinach contains high levels of vitamin B-12 which is often prescribed as a supplement to help combat migraine pain.
  • Green Beans, Kale, and other leafy greens – These green veggies are high in magnesium, a powerful element that can help reduce tension in muscles as well as help the reaction of nerve and muscles cells.

Whether it’s just to help local economy or a conscious effort to bring more fruits and vegetables into your diet, visiting your local farmer’s market can provide relief for many conditions including Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis, and Migraines. Just by its nature of getting a person outside and moving, a farmer’s market can provide exercise, fresh air, and the added bonus of a growing ‘pharmacy’ to treat chronic pain conditions.

Photo Credit: flickr.com/photos/29233640@N07/9223899743

Natural Treatments for Osteoarthritis, Migraines, and Fibromyalgia

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The Real Culprit Behind Childhood Migraines – Food Allergies and Sensitivities

Does your child suffer from migraines on a regular basis? It can be frustrating to take your sick child to the doctor to come home with a prescription in hand, and yet no answers as to the cause of these many times debilitating headaches. There are many different reasons a person can get migraines– but the one that is most often overlooked is food allergies.

Food allergies or sensitivities can be the cause of many ailments, including fatigue, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and muscular pain, like that associated with fibromyalgia. Your doctor can do testing to rule out food allergy, but the best way to pinpoint migraine triggers is to monitor food intake and symptoms at home.

The first thing you can do is start a simple food log. Write down what your child eats each day and any migraine symptoms that occur. You can usually pinpoint triggers very quickly this way.

The second item, and what I recommend to my clients, is to do an Elimination Diet. In an Elimination Diet you simplify the child’s diet to cut out the major allergens: Wheat & gluten (a protein contained in wheat, rye & barley), corn, dairy, eggs, peanuts, soy, sugar and artificial colors & preservatives. (Artificial sweeteners are also known to cause migraines; however, I do not recommend anyone ingest these – especially growing children.)

Once you have pinpointed the cause of the migraines you can let your doctor know. He or she might decide to follow up with some testing, but allergy testing might turn out negative. That’s ok. Once you know that something has a negative effect on your child, it’s up to you to continue to keep them away from the offending item and to educate your child about it too.

Elimination Diet

Take the following foods out of the child’s diet for 3-4 weeks:

  • Wheat
  • Gluten
  • Corn
  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Peanuts
  • Soy
  • Sugar
  • Artificial colors & preservatives

Introduce one food at a time, every 4-5 days

Monitor for symptoms

Consult with your doctor on any findings that occur. (If, for instance, you find that dairy or gluten triggers any sort of symptom from your child, you will want your physician to know this, as there are many medications that contain these items.)

One other side note I would like to say about children is this: They are open and far more in tune with their body than you might realize. If a child says that a particular food bothers their stomach, or just makes them feel “icky”, then listen to them. When it comes to food allergies or sensitivities, take a look at foods that your child might crave. Especially in the forms of gluten (most especially in highly-processed foods), dairy and sugar, which, when eaten consistently, raise blood sugar levels very high, the body then craves them more when blood sugar levels drop.

Looking at your child’s migraine headaches in a more holistic way and understanding how the body systems work together can help you ease their pain, and hopefully, teach them how to prevent future occurrences from happening.

Gina Wieboldt is Certified Holistic Health Coach accredited from Institute of Integrative Nutrition. She’s also a mom and blogger. Read more about her at http://goodlifehealthcoaching.com

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Yoga for Children – A Natural and Fun Way to Reduce Stress

Children are expected to take increasing responsibility for their actions once school starts. They have to begin heeding boundaries in another place with other people, which may be new and unfamiliar to them. This can be a recipe for intense stress, so let’s set them up for a successful academic and social experience. By teaching them how to be familiar with the sensations they feel in their physical bodies and how they react to those sensations, yoga may be just the answer.

Ugh, another article telling you how your child would benefit from yet another activity. At this point, yoga and kids together may sound cliché. But let me ask you parents another question:

Does your child suffer from migraines, fibromyalgia or other chronic pain issues?

It is not unheard of for young children to suffer from the aforementioned chronicity’s. If they do how are they supposed to handle the normal everyday demands of the school environment that children find stressful without making themselves feel worse? Chances are, if your little one is not prepared for this kind of stress it is making her/his symptoms worse. (Note: not a criticism, most children aren’t prepared even with the most well-intentioned and educated parents. Some stress management is learning as you go.) We know that the poor management of responses to stress, in any situation, can lead to a plethora of negative physical experiences. As adults, who are supposedly more familiar with stress, we still suffer from tension induced headaches, inflammation, allergies, insomnia, weight gain…blah blah blah.

So, empower your young ones, especially if they are already dealing with chronic pain issues. Stress can trigger migraines and worsen the symptoms associated with fibromyalgia as well as increase the inflammation response found in osteoarthritis. A surprising amount of young people are being diagnosed with osteoarthritis, which can often be found to accompany a diagnosis of migraines and fibromyalgia. A mindfulness practice, like yoga, can teach them to be in touch with how their bodies manifest tension. Through this awareness, children can begin the process of taking charge of their reactions, physical, emotional and mental. Empowering them to do so can in turn empower them to prevent a migraine attack or other stress induced condition. They learn to control their experiences with pain associated with fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis. Being in control of the physical body while encountering stress might even reduce the inflammation that worsens symptoms, which can limit range of motion and cause more unnecessary stress in a child’s body.

Sounds so good you might start doing yoga as a family!

By Melissa Gutierrez


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Recognizing the Symptoms of Migraines in Children and How to Provide Relief

Migraines are more than just terrible headaches; they are extreme pains with nausea along with other symptoms. Aside from the pain in the head, migraines are often connected with many other disorders such as depression, fibromyalgia, and even obesity. Sometimes, however, migraines can show symptoms that don’t present as the typical symptoms – especially in children.

Children’s symptoms from migraines feel similar to those of their adult counterparts, however because children translate pain differently than adults it’s important to recognize the symptoms early to give children the best possible options for relief. For children, especially boys, migraines occur in about 10% of those under the age of 10. Oftentimes, pain in the head is not the most dominating symptom for children. Symptoms to look for are:

  • Unexplained nausea or vomiting
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Dizziness

Other indicators can come in the form of behavior changes during the onset of a migraine. These include:

  • Irritability
  • Food cravings or loss of appetite
  • Sensitivity to touch, smell, or sound

Once diagnosed, treating migraines in children can come from a variety of resources. One of the main triggers for migraines and the associated symptoms is lack of sleep or deprivation of sleep. The best treatment for juvenile migraines begins with structured sleep patterns and routines. Most children need at least 8 to 10 hours of sleep for proper function, however many need even more than that to really reduce migraine symptoms.

Another option for treating migraines in children is to incorporate a balanced diet without skipping meals that includes healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, riboflavin, and magnesium. Proper hydration will also help prevent major migraine onset. 6 to 8 glasses of water a day will greatly reduce both the onset and the severity of a migraine for a child. Avoid processed sugar that is often found in sugary drinks and common kids snacks as this can sometimes bring on some migraine symptoms.

While there are a number of medications that can be used once a child is diagnosed with migraines, there are also a number of natural and herbal supplements that may provide as much relief as medication. Some herbal remedies to include are butterbur, magnesium, riboflavin, CoQ10, and feverfew. Finally, adding some basic relaxation routines for children like kid-based yoga or quiet time breathing can provide substantial relief for children that are willing to slow down long enough to employ them. Avoiding long term eye strain from computer screens, TVs, and mobile devices are also a good starting point to ending migraine symptoms for children.

Children feel pain differently than adults, they translate pain differently, and most importantly they explain pain differently. Diagnosing migraines may be tricky for a parent, but looking for notable symptoms and trusting instincts, parents can be the best medication for their children’s migraine symptoms.

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Treating Migraines with Acupuncture

Migraine headaches have a history of afflicting pain, nausea, sensitivity to light, and overall bed feeling on those that suffer from them. They can begin from variety of sources including tension, smells, flashing lights, and stress. Many believe that migraines are a result of over-active nerve endings that are signaling the brain to react in negative ways. Under that theory, acupuncture could provide a strong degree of relief to migraine sufferers.

One of the theories behind acupuncture is that when situated correctly, the procedure can help to reorganize the flow of energy throughout certain parts of the body. This flow stimulates the nervous system in a way that allows the natural energy to be restored, which promotes self-healing and balance.

Essentially, the nerve endings will re-learn how to communicate to the brain. This communication will allow the brain to process migraine triggers differently and could lead to less pain and symptoms. The natural energy flow that allows the brain to process nerve messages, often referred to as the Qi, will translate a trigger such as bright light to simply flinch or squint, rather than respond with pain and nausea.

The treatment is relatively non-invasive, but does require insertion points for the pins at various parts of the body. Though painless, many fear the procedure more than the treatment because of its nature of application. The fact is that many people only experience a minute amount of discomfort for only a split second while the pin penetrates the skin. Most sessions are relatively short with insertion lasting no more than 30 minutes.

Acupuncture is an ancient technique that has grown in popularity throughout the years from an Eastern Chinese philosophy to a world renowned technique to ease pain and discomfort for migraine sufferers. It has not only garnered the support of many medical professionals, but is now being used as a successful treatment aspect of many migraine care plans.

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CranioSacral Therapy for Migraines

For many people, migraine headaches can be severely debilitating. One holistic alternative to consider in treating your migraine is to employ the use of a practitioner skilled in the art of CranioSacral therapy. This form of treatment which has its origins in osteopathy and osteopathic manipulation can be very effective in the treatment of migraine headaches. In one study, twenty people underwent CranioSacral therapy for approximately four weeks. At the end of the study period, the participants reported a decrease in the migraine symptoms compared to before the treatments began.

The objective of CranioSacral therapy is to allow the nervous system to work as efficiently as possible. Just as the rest of your skeletal system, including your bones and joints are subject to the daily stresses and strains that can cause your skeleton to go out of alignment, the same is also true for the structures that protect the brain and spinal cord. Alterations in the alignment of your “brain and spinal cord skeleton” can adversely affect the functioning of the nervous system. Our understanding of the cause of migraines focuses on migraines being a “brain disorder” and dysfunction of the CranioSacral System can contribute to the development of migraine headaches.

In essence, CranioSacral Therapy involves the gentle massage of the skull as well as the lower back (spine and sacrum) to free up areas of tension, promote the natural flow of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), and get your CranioSacral System into alignment. If you have any history of head or neck trauma, this may not be applicable to your own personal situation.

If you have migraine headaches that have been refractory to treatments, or if you are experiencing more frequent headaches, you should strongly consider working with a practitioner of CranioSacral Therapy.

By: Dr. Rich Snyder, DO

REFERENCES

  • Amadottir TS, Sigurdadottir AK. “Is craniosacral therapy effective for migraine? Tested with HIT-6 Questionnaire.” Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. 2013 Feb; 19(1):11-4.
  • Harrison RE, Page RS. “Multipractitioner Upledger CranioSacral Therapy: descriptive outcome study 2007-2008.” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2011 Jan; 17(1):13-7.
  • Hoffmann J. “Recent advances in headache research.” Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics 2011 Oct;11(10):1379-81.
  • Hoffman, J, Magis D. “Scientific advances in headache research: an update on neurostimulation.” Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics. 2013 Jan;13(1):15-7. upledger.com/findapractitioner.asp.

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Reflexology and Its Use with Chronic Pain

Reflexology is an ancient therapeutic approach that has long been utilized to help deal with chronic pain. Chronic pain can come from a variety of conditions such as migraines, osteoarthritis, fatigue, and fibromyalgia. All of these conditions can range in symptoms from overall to specified pain, muscle and joint fatigue and tenderness, nausea, and many more. Reflexology, however, has a place in treatment plans for most sources of chronic pain.

The theory behind reflexology comes from a system of self-healing. Reflexology requires using different reflex or pressure points in the body for flow of energy, healing, and balance. Using pressure points throughout the body have specific effects on different kinds of pain. For example, many pressure points throughout the feet and hands have profound effects on migraines, osteoarthritis, and fibromyalgia. Area’s specifically around the toes and fingers have been used for relieve tension and muscle pain which subsequently reduces symptoms from chronic pain conditions.

Another benefit to utilizing reflexology with chronic pain is the relaxing effects it has on the body. Reflexology has been used for centuries for relieving tension and stiff muscles throughout the body. Reflex points in the lower neck, the base of the back, the back of the ankle, and in the wrists can promote relaxation and a sound flow of energy from head to toe. Encouraging relaxation can oftentimes help the body heal or better manage chronic pain from a variety of conditions. 

Reflexology dates back with success through the ages. Long before medicinal approached therapy were established, holistic approaches such as reflexology were treating un-named conditions with astounding results. It only seems natural that using it now can not only encourage healing, but could also give those with chronic pain conditions a new outlet to approaching their condition. Relying less on chemical medicine and more on the power of the body and mind, reflexology could lead a pathway to a pain-free existence.

Photo credit: flickr.com/photos/89362689

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Reflex Points for Migraine Relief

Migraines are one of the most devastating forms of headaches. With an intense throbbing sensation and persistent pain typically on one side of the head, they can incapacitate the body and last anywhere from two to 72 hours.

Treatment for migraine sufferers includes some effective over-the-counter medications that combine nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin with caffeine, physician prescribed medication including vasoconstrictors like tryptans and ergots, antiemetic’s for nausea, and opioids or glucocorticoids for pain relief. But, is it possible to self-manage recurring migraines or provide symptom relief? The Mayo Clinic suggests that nontraditional therapies like alternative medicine along with diet and lifestyle changes have shown promise in the prevention and effective treatment of migraines.

For self-care, the alternative medicine practices of acupuncture, acupressure and reflexology may be useful in migraine therapy. Each modality targets responsive points or areas on the skin’s surface to create a systemic bodily and energetic response for the relief of pain or symptoms associated with a migraine.

Acupuncture – As one of the oldest healing practices in the world, the traditional Chinese medicine practice of acupuncture is thought to correct the imbalances in the flow of qi by removing blockages in energetic channels known as meridians. Using needles on skin reflex points, it can stimulate nerves, muscles and connective tissue to relieve migraine pain and symptoms. A Chinese practitioner will often focus on a collection of “head wind” and unilateral headache points along with eye, nausea and sensory disturbance relieving points. The following combinations are useful in treating migraines.

  • ST8 + BL2 – Stomach 8 (ST8) is an important local point on the stomach meridian at the corner of the forehead that relieves severe headache pain. Aptly named “Head’s Binding,” it is a meeting point of the stomach and gallbladder (GB) channels and the yang linking (Yangwei) vessel that governs all yang channels of the body. Bladder 2 (BL2) is located at the inner tip of the eyebrows and is quite effective in relieving eye pain and twitching associated with migraines.
  • ST8 + GV20, 21, 23, 24 + TW23 + GB 4 – This combination of points is powerhouse of relief. A skilled acupuncturist will use the stomach, gallbladder and two specialized meridians called the Governing Vessel (GV) and Triple Warmer (TW) to treat chronic migraines. The GV points are particularly effective for balancing one-sided head wind and TW23 works to regulate the temperature of the body. GB4 is useful if there is tenderness at the hairline or dizziness from the migraine.

Acupressure – Acupressure uses the same reflex points as acupuncture, but the areas are stimulated with gentle pressure using fingers, hands or small seeds in place of needles. Points can be held, rubbed or tapped until a change in temperature, sensitivity, pain or pulse is observed. For migraine sufferers whose head and temples are particularly sensitive, three clusters of self-applied acupressure points on the neck, the base of the head and extremities such as the hands and feet are useful.

  • GB21 – GB21 is located bilaterally at the base of the neck between the clavicle and the shoulders. It is a successful acupressure point for relieving muscle tension associated with migraines and it is easily accessible for self-application. Massaging and holding GB21 may relieve the muscle response during a migraine that induces vasoconstriction and it can redirect the blocked energy to the area for pain relief.
  • GB20 + GV16 – Another great point along the gallbladder meridian is GB20. Located in the hollow depressions at the base of the skull to the right and the left of the spine, GB20 treats exterior or interior wind. It is particularly effective in reducing dizziness, eye pain and neck stiffness often observed with migraines. GB20 can be stimulated by gently pressing each thumb onto the point or by placing a tennis ball underneath the base of the skull and resting on it until relief is felt. When used in conjunction with GV16, located at the center of the base of the skull along the cervical vertebrae, migraine symptoms such as dizziness, earache and eye pain can be quelled.
  • LI4 + SI2, SI3, SI4 – One of the most familiar points for relieving headaches and migraines lies along the large intestine meridian. Known as the “Hoku,” LI4 governs qi and is responsible for drawing it downward along the meridian in the body and reducing inflammation. LI4 is also an excellent way to relieve migraine-associated nausea. To activate it, apply pressure with the opposing hand’s thumb onto the soft, fleshy mound between the thumb and the index finger of the target hand, with your fingers placed on the outside near the pinky finger along the small intestine meridian. This cluster of points can help relieve inflammation and vomiting associated with migraines.
  • LV3 + GB43 – Last, but not least, two acupressure points on the feet can help clear excess heat during a migraine. According to Chinese medicine, the liver is considered a fire organ and heat often stagnate qi along the liver meridian. Liver 3 is a critical point for breaking up this heat and restoring balance to the body. Located just below the joining of the large toe and second toe, LV3 is a source point that grants access to several internal and external energies in larger systems. LV3 can be used in conjunction with another heat relieving point, Gallbladder 43. GB43 is at the end of the gallbladder meridian at the junction of the fourth and fifth toes. When stimulated, it can draw migraine heat that has risen to the head back down the body and dispel it.

Reflexology –  Known as zone therapy, reflexology is a system of areas on the surface of the feet, hands and ears that when stimulated, can effect a physical change in a specific organ, region or body part. With traces of its origin in Egyptian tombs and evidence of its use in the writings of Hippocrates, reflexology was introduced to the Western world in 1913 by William H. Fitzgerald, MD, and popularized in the 1930s and 1940s by the nurse and physiotherapist Eunice Ingham. Six reflex regions on the feet are easy to access for migraine sufferers and may provide significant relief when stimulated or massaged.

  • Liver Reflex Region – Since much of a migraine is caused by body heat rising to the head, stimulating the liver region of the feet will help to relieve this action. Located about a third of the way down on the plantar surface of the right foot, work this area to reduce heat and assist the liver in detoxifying foods and allergens associated with migraines.
  • Spinal Reflex Region – Targeting the nervous system with reflexology is an effective way of reducing inflamed nerves during a migraine. Work the spinal reflex region found on the medial side of each foot to provide pain relief and encourage relaxation by the parasympathetic nervous system. Stimulating this region can also be useful prophylactically, in between migraines, to reduce their frequency.
  • Brain & Head Reflex Region – To go straight to the source of reflexes that will help alleviate head pain during a migraine, apply pressure, rub or lightly massage the brain and head reflexes. These areas are located on the medial and lateral sides and the tops of the big toes.
  • Solar Plexus Region – Another excellent area to encourage mental and physical relaxation is at the solar plexus point. This is a unique region in reflexology since it is considered a huge energy source and the point of multiple system convergences. To stimulate the solar plexus, gently press just under the ball of the foot between the second and third toes.
  • Kidney & Adrenals Reflex Region – Chronic migraines are often a result of adrenal overstimulation. Regularly massaging the kidney and adrenal gland reflex regions will encourage detoxification and circulation throughout the body. These regions can be found two-thirds down the bottom of the feet, close to the medial arch.
  • Auditory & Visual Reflex Regions – Dizziness, eye strain, nausea and visual disturbances frequently accompany migraines. To help relieve these painful symptoms, work the area at the base of the fourth toe on the bottom of the foot where the ear and eye reflex regions are located.

By: Julie A. Cerrato, PhD AP CYT CAT


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[themedy_toggle icon=”” heading=”References” onload=”closed”]

  • youtube.com/watch?v=dkc_CXCQX8s
  • acutakehealth.com/why-are-you-doing-that-point-lv3-li4
  • laughingmonkeyacupuncture.blogspot.com/2009/05/migraine-and-gb-channel-fire.html
  • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reflexology
  • reflexologyri.com/reflexology_chart.html
  • naturaltherapypages.com.au/news-articles/reflexology_for_migraines
  • mayoclinic.com/health/migraine-headache
  • jcm.co.uk
  • acupuncture.com/education/points/gallbladder/gb4.htm
  • yinyanghouse.com

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5 Foods to Help Kick Migraines to the Curb

When it comes to preventing migraines, there are many different things you can do. Diet is the number one place to begin, and the simplest for you to try. First, take some time to keep a food log. This should be for about one month if you do find that you suffer migraine headaches often. Be honest and write down everything you eat or drink. You may see a pattern right away, or it may take some time. A diet full of highly-processed foods can definitely be a problem when it comes to any type of headaches. Find ways to add in more nutritiously dense foods.

Another cause of some migraines can be food sensitivities. If your daily diet consists of too much corn, dairy, eggs, gluten or soy, this may be something you want to consider speaking to your doctor about. These foods are the most common allergens and can cause inflammation in the body, leading to symptoms such as headaches. Listening to your body is key in helping you heal. If you suspect a specific food might be causing you problems, stop eating it for two weeks. Then add it back in and notice any changes. This can be very easy and effective.

When it comes to preventing migraines, researchers have found certain nutrients that are believed to relieve symptoms, or even used proactively, to prevent headaches from occurring. Some of these are magnesium, healthy omega-3 fats and probiotics like acidophilus.

Here are some great ways to introduce these powerhouses into your daily diet:

  • Water – This is the easiest the thing to do. Keep your body hydrated with clean water. Chronic dehydration is a common trigger for migraines. Begin with two 32-ounce reusable water bottles. Fill them up and make sure you have them with you all day. If you feel you need to adjust to more, feel free! A good rule of thumb to go by is to take your weight in pounds, divide that number in half. Now take that number and drink that many ounces of water per day.
  • Wild Caught Salmon – Rich with omega-3 fats and a delicious way to get protein also. Healthy fats help to reduce inflammation. It is important to purchase wild caught salmon and try to eat it at least twice a week. This type of salmon can also be found canned and makes a quick and yummy lunch or dinner. If you do not like to eat fish, you can purchase fish oil supplements to add to your daily routine.
  • Pumpkin Seeds – These little gems are full of magnesium. Many people today are deficient in this important mineral. Magnesium is also very helpful for women who find their migraines come with their menstrual cycle. Pumpkin seeds are great to grab as a snack or toss on a salad as a crunchy topping.
  • Ground Flaxseed – Rich in fiber and healthy omega-3 fats, flaxseed is a super food. Being constipated, or even not fully evacuating the bowels properly can lead to headaches for many migraine sufferers. Flaxseed is very easy to add to a smoothie, your oatmeal, or even mix into a glass of water in the morning or at night. One easy way to add flaxseed to baked items is to swap out the eggs in a recipe for a “flax egg” – this is 1 Tablespoon of ground flaxseed mixed with 2-3 Tablespoons of warm water. Allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes and add it to your pancake or brownie mix.
  • Fermented Vegetables – Such as sauerkraut or kimchi are full of probiotics and great for your digestive system. By improving digestion your body will be able to access more of the nutrients from your food. This can also help balance the ratio of good to bad bacteria in your gut. By adding in healthy bacteria you just might find that your headache symptoms change for the better.

By identifying your personal migraines triggers, you will better be able to figure out which nutrients you need. Take some time each day to take charge of your health, begin your food log and listen to your body.

By: Gina Weiboldt

Gina Wieboldt is Certified Holistic Health Coach acreditted from Institute of Integrative Nutrition. She’s also a mom and blogger. Read more about her at http://goodlifehealthcoaching.com/

  • Balch, CNC Phyllis A.: Prescription for Nutritional Healing 5th Ed. (2010) NY; Penguin Group
  • Bauer, Joy : Joy Bauer’s Food Cures, Eat right to get healthier, and add years to your life (2011) NY; Rodale

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Power Foods and Herbs for Migraine Relief

Migraines have a variety of causes and even more options for holistic treatment. These treatments can include massage, reflexology, yoga, hydrotherapy, and probably the most simple – nutrition. There are many different power foods and herbs that can easily be introduced into a diet with little or no effort.

Adding herbs and spices is not only a great way to add flavor to foods, but to also decrease migraine symptoms. Three powerhouse herbs and spices for treating this chronic condition are cayenne pepper, ginger, and peppermint.

  • Cayenne pepper increases the pain threshold of some migraine patients. Simply adding a pinch of this super spice will add some kick to food and subdue migraine pain and pressure. An added bonus to cayenne pepper is that it is known to help speed up the metabolism which can be useful when dieting.
  • Ginger, a predominantly Asian herb, helps to quell nausea. Nausea is often directly associated as one of the worst symptoms that come with a migraine. Grating fresh ginger over warm foods will add a sweet and tangy kick without a lot of effort.
  • Peppermint can be found in any grocery store and can greatly increase relaxation for migraine sufferers. It is also a good choice to help soothe nausea and lower pain. Peppermint can be brewed as a tea, chopped into a salad, or chewed raw to be used for its medicinal properties.

Certain foods have properties that can treat and eliminate many symptoms of Migraines. Adding heart-healthy olive oil, greens, and sweet potatoes are a sure-fire way to help avoid and treat chronic migraines.

  • Olive oil has long been known as a heart-healthy fat. In fact, it is the Omega -3 Fatty Acids that get the credit for the health benefits. Adding the Omega-3 from olive oil at least 3 times a week to your diet can greatly reduce the severity of a migraine. Add it to a salad or on top of some steamed veggies to really utilize its properties, as it will break down after being cooked.
  • Greens such as spinach and broccoli contain large amounts of Riboflavin or B12. This nutrient is a key component in energy reserves in the body. Lacking this particular nutrient has been linked to chronic migraines but can easily be remedied by adding both to a diet at least 3 times a week.
  • Sweet potatoes are not only nutritional power houses, but they also contain high levels of magnesium. Magnesium has shown profound effects on migraine symptoms. It is especially useful for women that experience menstrual migraines during their cycle.

You are what you eat – we have all heard that saying. But in the case of migraines, truer words have never been spoken. Adding a few herbs, spices, and power foods is not only nutritionally beneficial but also medicinal when treating chronic migraines.

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Natural Health News and Articles

Enzyme Therapy – A Natural Approach to Treating Chronic Conditions

Enzyme therapy is a form of therapy that uses supplemental enzymes to replace those lost during the cooking process of foods. Essentially, everything that we eat has a certain type and level of enzymes that help specific functions of the body. In fact, most of the vitamins and mineral supplements that we consume would not be absorbed by the body without proper enzyme consumption.

Employing an enzyme regiment can be used in conjunction with a supplementation system when trying to treat many chronic conditions. For example, a person that suffers from Fibromyalgia or chronic migraines may find relief by adding CoEnzymeQ-10. This particular enzyme supplement can help with circulation, inflammation, and pain. It is a natural antioxidant that plays a large role in oxygen utilization and energy production. Specifically for Fibromyalgia, CoEnzymeQ-10 can be especially successful in treating the chronic fatigue that is usually associated with the condition.

Serratia Peptidase is another popular enzyme that can help with chronic conditions. It is touted for offering huge anti-inflammatory properties. It also helps reduce pain, swelling, and fluid retention. These qualities make Serratia Peptidase a good choice when treating Osteoarthritis and Fibromyalgia. Reducing swelling and inflammation in the body is the best way to treat the symptoms associated with both of those conditions.

It is important to speak with a physician or pharmacist about drug interactions and dosage, but you can also introduce more enzymes with a change in nutritional lifestyle. Cooking foods above 118°F can actually destroy most enzymes that are vital for health. Keeping as many foods raw as you can will help to keep vital enzymes intact. Fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens, can be excellent sources of naturally occurring enzymes. These enzymes are essential for everyday bodily function and balance including digestion, vitamin secretion, and hormone production. They are also valuable for treating today’s most common chronic conditions like migraines, Fibromyalgia, and Osteoarthritis.

Reference:

  • health2us.com/enzyme.htm

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Holistic Health Resources for Enzyme Therapy