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Hellerwork Is Transformational Experience for Practitioner

Anne-Marie Duchêne represents all that Hellerwork stands for. She explored several paths before discovering that Hellerwork was her passion. The modality not only inspired her, it gave her the will to give it a try.

Through Hellerwork, “I began to see that I could do what I wanted to do with my life and have the courage to do it.” Today Anne-Marie is a Hellerwork practitioner and owner of Art of Alignment Structural Integration in New York City.

Hellerwork is a type of structural integration founded by Joseph Heller. It is comprised primarily of three parts: realignment of the connective tissue through bodywork, movement education that aims to maintain the bodywork, and dialogue that encourages the exploration of thoughts and how those thoughts affect the body.

The goal of the modality is to restore balance and fluidity in the body, which can result in a physical and mental realignment of the person.

Hellerwork can help relieve physical pain like migraines and backaches. It also can help in coping with emotional issues like weight loss, depression, financial woes, relationship problems and stress.

The modality typically occurs over an 11-session period, each of which focuses on a theme based on the dialogue.

Inspiration is the theme for session one. During each session unexpected conversations start, leading to an increased awareness.

The session might begin with little to say because the person might not have much at the forefront of his mind because of stress, pain, anxiety or other reasons. He might talk about a lack of inspiration initially.

Whatever the response, the practitioner is listening and observing how the person's dialogue relates to his body.

Dialogue continues as the person moves under the guidance of the practitioner. Through breathing and slow, subtle movements, the person is able to release adhesions of tissue.

By the end of the session, the person might have named several things that inspire him as he connects with the deeper parts of himself through this movement and dialogue.

“It’s a conversation of liberation,” Anne-Marie said. People connect to their body both physically and emotionally.

Such a connection helped give Anne-Marie the perspective to identify what she really wanted to do with her life.

Anne-Marie moved to New York from Montreal in 1986 to pursue a career in dancing. After 10 years, though, she grew restless of the city and needed a change. She moved to San Francisco to attend the Universityof California, Berkeley, and study Cultural Anthropology. While there, she landed a job as a business leadership coach for companies like Oracle and Microsoft.

After completing her degree and spending five years as a corporate coach, she made plans to set up her own coaching company. At the same time a friend encouraged her to apply for a scouting job at Cirque du Soleil. She got the job, so she returned to her dance roots. She moved back to Montreal, where she was a scout and dancing specialist for Cirque.

When the company moved most of their scouting online, Anne-Marie knew she needed to find something new.

“I’m not a good desk person,” she said.

She moved back to New Yorkwhere she scouted for Cirque on the East Coast and danced. At this point she was thinking more and more about how she wanted to spend the rest of her life.

“I kept asking, ‘What’s my purpose and how can I serve?’”

After Anne-Marie spent two years of scouting on the East Coast, Cirque offered her a job as artistic director in 2006. At the same time she received a gift certificate for her birthday for a Hellerwork session.

She was skeptical about Hellerwork and she was busy, so it took her eight months and three cancellations before she attended the session. Anne-Marie, who had been battling 10 years of back pain, finally made the time to go in hopes of easing that pain. Her plan was to go to only one session, though, not all 11.

After the first session she felt invigorated. Not only did her back pain ease, but her body and mind had eased as well. She made another appointment the following week.

“I immediately felt the power of this work,” she said.

Her body felt more aligned with every session. She had more mobility and flexibility not just throughout her body but in her mind, which resulted in more energy. Plus, her back pain had vanished.

By the sixth session, she had a Eureka moment.

“I was overwhelmed with joy and thought to myself, ‘I’m going to learn this modality.’ I wasn’t sure what my plan was going to look like, but I just jumped.”

She enrolled in the Hellerwork Structural Integration program in 2007 and, because she enrolled late, she received training from Joseph Heller himself out of his home in California.

“It was hard to give up salary and benefits, but I knew there was something more significant deep inside myself. I said, ‘I’m going to trust this.’”

She is now the owner of Art of Alignment Structural Integration and has plans to expand the studio to include coaching. She also plans to rename her business to her last name, Duchêne, which means “of the oak” in French.

“I feel like I am a model for what I speak for,” Anne-Marie said.

“Jump off the edge and then let your wings appear.”

Read more about Anne-Marie Duchêne, Hellerwork and Art of Alignment at www.artofalignment.com.

 

– By Jessica Braun

Jessica Braun is a writer and an editor at WholesomeOne. She can be reached at jessica.braun[at]wholesomeone[dot]com.

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3 Techniques to Naturally Get Rid of Migraines [video]

Tammy Lawrence-Cymbalisty of ReikiAndYoga.com in this video exhibits 3 techniques to naturally get relief from a migraine headache – a herb, hydrotherapy and acupressure.

[themedy_media type=”youtube” url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JiGsRbG6as”]

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Naturopathic Doctor’s ‘Nourish Me’ Business Promotes Healthy Eating for Kids

Erika Siegel of Portland, Oregon had plans to become a doctor. She wasn’t completely comfortable with what conventional medicine had to offer though, so she was confused about her career path. Her confusion turned to curiosity when she received a postcard in the mail from a Naturopathic school. That postcard ultimately changed her life.

Today she is a Naturopathic doctor focused on family medicine. “It’s the perfect fit for me,” she said of Naturopathic medicine. “A philosophy rooted in healing with a focus on prevention and wellness makes more sense to me than waiting for illness to arrive and then treating it,” she said. “Many roads can lead to wellness, not just pharmaceuticals and surgery.”

Dr. Siegel, who studied both Western and Eastern Medicine at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine, gave the example of 10 patients who have a migraine. If those 10 patients go to a conventional doctor, they all likely would receive the same prescription for the same medication. If those same 10 patients went to a Naturopathic doctor, they might leave with 10 different therapies, each based on the individual.

A Naturopathic doctor would take the time to understand all possible causes, such as food, allergies, hormone levels, muscular or skeletal imbalances, chemicals, sensitivities and more to get to the root of the problem, instead of focusing only on getting rid of the symptom. Dr. Siegel, who’s been practicing for about seven and a half years, said she does use medication when it’s necessary, such as for temporary relief while she’s searching for the cause of a symptom.

Nutrition is a big passion of Dr. Siegel’s. That passion, combined with continuous requests from patients and friends to provide nutritional advice and healthy recipes, led her to develop the Nourish Me ™ superfood supplement and write a book.

Nourish Me Superfood Supplement
Nourish Me is a nutrient-dense powder made from eight organic superfoods. Parents can mix the powder into creamy foods like yogurt, oatmeal and smoothies so that their kids get the essential nutrients they need for a strong immune system, a balanced digestive system, a strong brain and more. (Adults can use this dietary supplement, too!) Dr. Siegel said people can consume the supplement as often as they like. While some people eat it once a week, others eat it once a day. “If kids are getting enough veggies and variety in their diet, then they need less. If not, they need more,” Dr. Siegel said. “The best thing is that it’s all from food,” she said. “There’s nothing synthetic in there.”

Nourish Me Book
Dr. Siegel also is writing a book that will include tips on nutrition and kids’ health, home remedies, healing through food, and plenty of nutrient-dense, family-friendly recipes. Chapters include “The Dairy Dilemma,” which details why standard milk from the grocery store is not the healthy food many people think it is, and “Food as Medicine,” which explains how to use what’s in the refrigerator to achieve a medical benefit. She expects to complete the book by the end of 2012. Interested readers can sign up on the Nourish Me website to receive an alert when the book is available.

10 Healthy Eating Tips
Here are 10 tips from Dr. Siegel on how to get children to develop and maintain healthy eating habits.

1. Be a model of good eating habits. Parents can’t eat poorly and then expect their kids to eat well.

2. Before putting a meal on the table, put out chopped vegetables with a healthy dip or hummus so that kids can get some veggies down before the meal starts.

3. Eat dinner with other families to encourage a variety of foods. A child might notice that his good friend eats broccoli, for example. Plus, eating with company often takes the focus off what a child is or isn’t eating. Children get into the social space of eating together and often try new things.

4. Use the blender. Mash some cauliflower. Puree veggies into foods. You can easily add spinach into a smoothie without it being noticed – Try it!

5. Let kids put whatever condiment they want on their food. If mayonnaise, mustard or even dried fruit sells the dish, let them do it.

6. Don’t let a child’s blood sugar drop. Eating foods high in protein and healthy fats helps stabilize blood sugar. Once a child’s blood sugar drops the child is often too emotional to even talk about healthy food choices.

7. Chop veggies very small and put them into everything – put them in the Mac ’n Cheese, put them in the pasta, put them in everything. Make vegetables a part of every meal and don’t draw attention to it. Vegetables are just what everyone eats.

8. Remember that parents are in charge. “We’re often afraid to upset our kids,” Dr. Siegel said. “We put our foot down with other things, like making sure they put on a coat before they go outside, but often not with food. And remember, at the end of the day, it’s the parents who buy the food, right?”

9. Do not feed kids the food that is marketed to kids. Kids can and should eat adult food. Food marketed to kids is often loaded with sugar, artificial dyes and excess packaging. It’s actually easier to feed kids what the grown-ups eat once you get into the routine.

10. Relax. Try to look at the child’s nutrition for the whole day. If breakfast wasn’t a winner, there is always snack time, lunch and dinner. “When you teach good eating habits at home, you will feel ok with the times when your child is eating birthday cake and goldfish for dinner,” Dr. Siegel said. “Do what you can to make your best effort and then relax and enjoy your food. Teach kids to enjoy their food, too.”

For more information on healthy eating habits and the Nourish Me supplement and book, visit Dr. Siegel’s website at www.nourishme.com.

– By Jessica Braun
Jessica Braun is an editor and a writer at WholesomeOne. She can be reached at jessica.braun[at]wholesomeone[dot]com.

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Guided Meditation for Migraines

Migraine headaches can be debilitating and cause significant pain for hours and up to days. They are often brought on from stress.

Meditation is one of the best forms of relaxation and stress management that is easily approached and reliable.

The following video from Mind Space offers an 8-minute guided meditation to help relieve the pain a migraine causes.

[themedy_media type=”youtube” url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JURgpCsZyY”]

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Does Having a History of Migraines Increase the Risk of Stroke?

Migraine headaches and strokes have always been viewed by the medical profession as being two separate medical conditions. Until now, no direct association between the two had been established. Migraine headaches, specifically a history of migraine with auras, are now thought of as being a risk factor for the development of stroke along with diabetes, hypertension, and cigarette smoking.

The research which was spearheaded by Dr Tobias Kurth, an epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health, followed the results of over 27,000 women who participated in the Women’s Health Study. These women had no documented history of heart disease. At the start of the study, approximately one-fifth of these women had reported a history of migraine headaches. Of these, one-third had a history of migraine with aura.

The study participants were followed over a fifteen-year period. Based on the data, the authors concluded that a history of migraines with aura doubled the chance of developing a stroke compared with those that did not have a history of migraine. Having this history confers a similar stroke risk to that of hypertension, and diabetes, which is approximately four out of every thousand individuals with a history of a migraine with aura. While this study’s focus was on women, it is likely that these results can be extrapolated to men as well.

What is the take home message from this study? Migraines, especially migraine with auras have a much greater significance than just “having a bad headache.” It means utilizing a holistic approach with the goal of stopping any further migraines and thereby decreasing your risk of stroke. Note that there is a significant overlap between the holistic approach to migraines and that of diabetes and hypertension. Consider including any or all of the following to your treatment regimen:

  • Magnesium: Not only can magnesium supplementation decrease the frequency and intensity of migraine headaches, it can also lower blood pressure and improve the health of the blood vessels. Magnesium can also decrease insulin resistance, which is the hallmark of Type 2 Diabetes.
  • Coenzyme Q10 (Ubiquinone): This can help in the treatment not only in the treatment of migraines, but also high blood pressure and diabetes. Those with diabetes can have low ubiquinone levels.
  • Alpha lipoic acid (ALA): Some research has demonstrated the efficacy of ALA in migraine prophylaxis. It has been well studied in diabetes not only in the treatment of the neuropathy associated with diabetes, but also in decreasing insulin resistance. It also has a blood pressure lowering effect.
  • Omega 3 fish oil: There are studies that treatment with Omega 3 fatty acids can decrease the recurrence of migraines in adolescents. It can also help in the treatment of oxidative stress associated with high blood pressure and diabetes.
  • Gingkolide B: Several studies have shown the efficacy of Gingkolide B, an herbal extract derived from Ginkgo biloba not only for migraine prophylaxis but also for the acute attack of migraines. In fact, the combination of Gingkolide B, Coenzyme Q 10 and Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) was shown to not only decrease the frequency of migraines with aura but also their duration.
  • Yoga: Not only has this activity been shown to decrease the intensity and frequency of migraine headaches, it has positive effects on blood pressure and can help in the treatment of diabetes as well.

By: Dr. Rich Snyder, DO

REFERENCES

  • AndersonP.http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/806983?nlid=31891_681&src=wnl_edit_medn_imed&uac=76526DV&spon=18
  • D’Andrea G, Bussone G et al. “Efficacy of Ginkgolide B in the prophylaxis of migraine with aura.” Neurological Sciences. 2009 May;30 Suppl 1:S121-4..
  • Gever, J. www.medpagetoday.com/MeetingCoveraeIHC/40188 3) Hagins M, States R et al. “Effectiveness of yoga for hypertension: systematic review and meta-analysis.” Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Published Electronically Ahead of Print on May 2013.
  • Harel Z, Gascon G et al. “Supplementation with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in the management of recurrent migraines in adolescents.” Journal of Adolescent Health. 2002 Aug; 31(2):154-61.
  • Hata A, Doi Y et al. “Magnesium intake decreases Type 2 diabetes risk through the improvement of insulin resistance and inflammation: the Hisayama Study.” Diabetic Medicine. 2013 Jun 12 (Published in Electronic Form Before Print Publication).
  • John PJ, Sharma N et al. “Effectiveness of yoga therapy in the treatment of migraine without aura: a randomized controlled trial.” Headache. 2007 May;47(5):654-61.
  • Magis D, Ambrosini A et al. “A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial of thioctic acid in migraine prophylaxis.” Headache. 2007 Jan;47(1):52-7.
  • Maholtra V, Singh S et al. “The beneficial effect of yoga in diabetes.” Nepal Medical College Journal. 2005 Dec;7(2):145-7.
  • Song Y, Manson JE et al. “Dietary magnesium intake in relation to plasma insulin levels and risk of type 2 diabetes in women.” Diabetes Care. 2004 Jan;27(1):59-65.
  • Usai S, Grazzi L et al. “An innovative approach for migraine prevention in young age: a preliminary study.” Neurological Sciences. 2010 Jun;31 Suppl 1:S181-3.

Photo Credit: flickr.com/photos/queenroly/322613892

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Sleep Deficit and Chronic Conditions in Children

Children require more sleep than any adult. It is when they grow, when they decompress, and when fuel up for another day of development. However, for some children sleep isn’t just vital for proper growth and function – it’s necessary to keep chronic childhood conditions from flaring up.

Many common conditions have multiple care plans to try to combat their symptoms. With children, however, it is always best to try to find the most organic form of therapy. An average child requires anywhere from 8 to 12 hours of sleep a night to function properly. For children with chronic conditions such as migraines or Fibromyalgia, they would most likely benefit with more sleep.

Sleep produces serotonin. Serotonin is a vital neurotransmitter for the brain. When there is a significant drop in serotonin, the blood vessels in the brain and other parts of the body swell as a reaction to the lack of hormone. As a result, migraine symptoms increase dramatically. Basically, the serotonin levels stop the brain from transmitting the signal to feel pain and subsequently the blood vessels do not respond by swelling.

Another issue with sleep deficit and chronic conditions is that it can create symptoms that are similar to other conditions. Many children are diagnosed with ADHD or ADD because of symptoms that are similar to Fibromyalgia. More specifically, Fibromyalgia has a common symptom known as brain fog. It is described as a lack of focus, inattentiveness, irritability, and overall fatigue. These are symptoms that are remarkably similar to those of ADHD and ADD. Having a sleep deficit can greatly aggravate Fibromyalgia brain fog and can be misdiagnosed as a psycho-neurological disorder. What this leads to is an inappropriate treatment plan and often times an unsuccessful treatment result. Imagine what treating a child with a Ritalin derivative would do when the accurate approach would have been to treat chronic fatigue syndrome that often presents itself with Fibromyalgia.

It may be difficult to incorporate a strong sleep pattern in some children, especially those that struggle with certain chronic disorders; however there are some natural approaches that can render success. Melatonin in small doses has shown to be very effective to help children fall asleep and sleep more soundly. Other children benefit from a strong bedtime routine that includes meditation and low stimulation. The bottom line is that all children need adequate sleep. Children that have underlying chronic conditions not only need more sleep to thrive, they need it to remain successful in their treatment plan for migraines and Fibromyalgia.

REFERENCES

  • uwconsult.netreturns.biz/LocalStories/Story.aspx?StoryID=d2460dee-150b-4fd7-9346-a10a0553d5d7#.UdGWR_nlbQg

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Butterbur in the Treatment of Migraines

Butterbur (Petasites) is an ancient plant that has been and continues to be used for medical and edible purposes. The mechanism by which butterbur may reduce migraine includes inhibiting the inflammatory effect of chemicals like leukotrienes and prostaglandin E2 in the pain pathway. Another mechanism of butterbur may be its ability to function as a natural beta blocker which results in the normal flow of blood to the brain. This helps control blood pressure and spasmodic capillary action, which can also contribute to the onset of migraine headaches.

One study of 245 patients over 4 months of treatment demonstrated that petasites extract 75 mg twice daily is more effective than placebo and is well tolerated as a preventive therapy for migraine.

From a pooling of data, the recommended adult dosage is 50-100 mg twice daily to reduce migraine headache symptoms and to prevent future migraine headaches. Three months is considered an adequate amount of time to observe the efficacy of butterbur.

When purchasing butterbur products, be sure to choose a brand labeled PA-Free. This means the product was processed to remove potentially harmful or toxic chemicals found in the butterbur plant known as pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PA). The special butterbur extract is prepared by having all liver-toxic alkaloids removed.

Please consult your healthcare practitioner to avoid interactions between other medications you may be taking. Avoid using butterbur if you are pregnant or breast-feeding or allergic to ragweed, daisies, chrysanthemums or marigolds. Adverse reactions can include mild stomach upset and commonly, belching.

By: Dr. Sandy Cho, MD

References

  • Agosti R, Duke RK, Chrubasik JE, Chrubasik S. Effectiveness of Petasites hybridus preparations in the prophylaxis of migraine: a systematic review. Phytomedicine 2006;13(9-10):743-6.
  • Aydın AA, Zerbes V, Parlar H, Letzel T. The medical plant butterbur (Petasites): analytical and physiological (re)view. J Pharm Biomed Anal 2013;75:220-9.
  • Diener HC, Rahlfs VW, Danesch U. The first placebo-controlled trial of a special butterbur root extract for the prevention of migraine: reanalysis of efficacy criteria. Eur Neurol 2004;51(2):89-97.
  • Lipton RB, Göbel H, Einhäupl KM, Wilks K, Mauskop A. Petasites hybridus root (butterbur) is an effective preventive treatment for migraine. Neurology 2004;63(12):2240-4.

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Is Your Diet Causing Your Headache?

Chronic daily headache, a condition marked by recurrent migraines and severe pain, can be extremely difficult to treat with conventional prescription drugs. For those suffering with Chronic daily headache (CDH), day-to-day activities and interactions become increasingly difficult to navigate while experiencing excruciating pain. This debilitating condition markedly alters the sufferer’s ability to enjoy their life while suffering headaches 15 days or more a month.

A 2013 study, conducted by PAIN online journal, has revealed that the headache remedy you seek can be found in the aisles of your local grocery market. After introducing a dietary change that increased amounts of Omega-3 fatty acid and decreased amounts of Omega-6 fatty acid, the test population experienced a reduction in symptoms associated with CDH. The healing properties found in an appropriate balance between the Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids helps to reduce inflammation in the system, and in turn, extreme headache pain. In the study, participants experienced a significant reduction in headache hours and severe pain symptoms, as well as an improved quality of life.1

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for our health, but do not naturally occur in our systems. Because of this, we must intake our Omega-3 fatty acids through food or supplements. Wonderful Omega-3 rich foods include grass fed beef, eggs, walnuts, edamame, black beans, flaxseed, and fish. Omega-3 fatty acids are vital for brain functioning, normal growth and development, have an anti-inflammatory effect, and are powerful agents in lowering the risk of cancer and other diseases.2

Omega-6 fatty acids are also essential for our health, but must be consumed through food or supplements as they are not naturally occurring in our bodies. However, high levels of this fatty acid will have a reverse effect in treating disorders and will actually cause inflammation in the system. Unfortunately, our modern diet has overloaded us with Omega-6 through the influx of processed foods and various types of vegetable oils. Food sources that you want to regulate in your diet in order to reduce your intake of Omega-6 fatty acids include refined vegetable oils (those commonly found in processed foods, cookies, and sweets), avocados, pine nuts, and pumpkin seeds.3

An easy way to increase your intake of Omega-3 and decrease the levels of Omega-6 in your system is to eliminate heavily processed foods from your diet and begin to include Omega-3 rich foods and supplements. This simple dietary change, corroborated by the 2013 randomized trial in the treatment of chronic headaches, can transform the lives of an estimated 10 million adults in the United States who suffer from Chronic Daily Headache and other chronic pain conditions.4

Written by Kristin Accorsi

References

  • 1PAIN journal. Targeted alteration of dietary n-3 and n-6 fatty acids for the treatment of chronic headaches. ctsi-price.sites.medinfo.ufl.edu/files/2014/02/Ramsden-et-al-2013-Alteration-of-n-3-and-n-6-fatty-acids-for-Chronic-HA.pdf
  • 2 Omega-3 fatty acids. umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/omega3-fatty-acids
  • 3 Understanding the Omega Fatty Acids. www.webmd.com/diet/healthy-kitchen-11/omega-fatty-acids
  • 4 PAIN journal. Targeted alteration of dietary n-3 and n-6 fatty acids for the treatment of chronic headaches. ctsi-price.sites.medinfo.ufl.edu/files/2014/02/Ramsden-et-al-2013-Alteration-of-n-3-and-n-6-fatty-acids-for-Chronic-HA.pdf
  • photo credit: https://flic.kr/p/5r4S8J

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5 Supplements for Migraines

A migraine headache is frequently described as an intense throbbing or pulsing on one side of the head, and it is commonly accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. It often causes significant pain for hours or days at a time. Migraine headache triggers include food allergies, hormonal changes as a result of the menstrual cycle or stress, and chronic dehydration.

Below are 5 supplements that may help ease migraine pain:

Magnesium
A magnesium deficiency can cause migraine headaches and many people have been shown to have a deficiency in this mineral. The recommended dosage of magnesium is 600 to 800 milligrams (mg) a day, taken in divided doses throughout the day to maximize absorption. There are various forms of magnesium on the market, but the one that has been shown to be the most beneficial for migraines is Magnesium Threonate.

Cayenne Pepper
The cayenne pepper herb has been shown to help prevent migraines, largely because it is an excellent source of magnesium. Plus, its active ingredient is capsaicin, which is an anti-inflammatory agent that could help ease migraine pain. Cayenne also might reduce the likelihood of a migraine by stimulating digestion, easing muscle pain and increasing the body’s metabolic rate.

Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
Riboflavin is a vitamin required for energy metabolism, such as for the breakdown of carbohydrates for energy, and studies have shown that a deficit of mitochondrial energy metabolism could lead to a migraine. According to studies, a daily dose of 400 mg of riboflavin has helped reduce headache frequency. The vitamin also has been used for migraine prevention. Riboflavin is a water soluble vitamin, which means that the vitamin isn’t stored in the body and that it needs to be replenished every day.

Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
Ginger may help reduce the severity of migraine headaches because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Also, ginger may help reduce the inflammation in the stomach and liver that can lead to headaches related to digestive problems. About 500 to 600 mg of ginger is recommended at the onset of a migraine attack and then two more times during the day, with four hours between each dose. Ginger also can be chewed or used in cooking.

Feverfew
Feverfew has been shown to reduce the production of prostaglandins, an inflammatory agent that contributes to the onset of migraines. In one study, 70% of 270 migraine patients reported that a daily dose of feverfew decreased the frequency and intensity of migraines.

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Kids and Migraines: What You and Your Family Need to Know

Few things are harder for parents than seeing their kids in pain—and no one needs to tell this to the 10 percent of families that have school-age children with migraines.

Unlike in adults, migraine pain in children isn’t always as pronounced and can lead to difficulty in diagnosis. Dizziness, nausea, vomiting and/or abdominal pain are common symptoms in kids for example but not necessarily typically associated with migraines. Other tip offs can include everything from irritability and mood swings to food cravings or loss of appetite to fatigue and yawning.

While migraines can sometimes be hard to determine as the culprit in a child’s discomfort, there are some clues that can help point the finger. Specifically, a child with one parent who experiences migraines has a 40 percent chance of having migraines also. That percentage increases to 90 if both parents suffer from them. Motion sickness and certain sleep issues such as night terrors, sleep walking and sleep talking may also be indicators of a tendency to experience migraines.

The first step to getting help is finding the correct diagnosis. If migraines are suspected it’s important to see a healthcare professional for a complete patient (and family) history. This can include everything from description of the pain and how bad it is to how often it’s experienced and for how long. Other symptoms should also be discussed along with the possibility of any patterns or triggers. Medical tests may also be undertaken including an EEG, a blood test and neuroimaging among others.

Once a diagnosis of migraine is reached, successful treatment becomes the next goal. This can be achieved on several levels.

Kids & Migraines: Prevention

Obviously the most preferable, this method prevents the migraines from even starting. Discerning a child’s trigger(s) is important for this to work. Triggers in children can be similar to those found in adults such as not getting enough sleep, not eating at regular intervals, stress, environmental issues (loud noises, bright lights or strong odors), changes in the weather, eating certain foods and in the case of girls hormonal fluctuations. While a few of these cannot be controlled, many can be by careful habits.

Herbs and supplements such as magnesium, riboflavin and feverfew among others may also be helpful for kids who suffer from many migraines. (Always consult with a healthcare professional before giving supplements or herbs to a child.)

Finally, some families find they are able to ward off migraines using means such as biofeedback, hypnosis, imagery and other relaxation techniques. Exercise, acupuncture and cognitive behavioral therapy are other possibilities to explore.

Kids & Migraines: The Future

To the extent possible it’s important to try to get childhood migraines under control. Not only do they cause pain and other debilitating symptoms but even just the anxiety and fear kids experience thinking they might have a migraine can wreak havoc on their enjoyment of school and social activities.

In some cases children can look forward to growing out of their migraines but others may suffer with them for decades with 60 percent of kids who started having them in adolescence still experiencing them decades later.

By Kristen Stewart
Kristen is a freelance writer specializing in health, nutrition, parenting and lifestyle topics. To learn more, visit her website at www.kristenestewart.com.

References

  • my.clevelandclinic.org/disorders/headaches/hic_migraines_in_children_and_adolescents.aspx
  • www.migraineresearchfoundation.org/Migraine%20in%20Children.html

 


 

Holistic Resources for Migraines

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Bodywork for Migraines

When treating migraines from a holistic approach, sufferers may wish to consider bodywork and physical treatments to alleviate symptoms and frequency of attacks. Several techniques are available from practitioners and specialists to relieve migraine pain, control physiological responses and eliminate nerve inflammation.

The Chinese Medicine Practice of Acupuncture has shown much promise for the treatment of migraines. Acupuncture involves the insertion of fine needles through the skin at reflex points to stimulate nerves, muscles and connective tissue for the relief of migraine symptoms. Clinical trials have shown acupuncture to help reduce headache pain by targeting the health of blood vessels involved in migraine attacks.

[themedy_media type=”youtube” url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqSKVn-Syx0″]

Similarly, the practice of Acupressure is also effective in treating migraines. Acupressure uses the same reflex points as acupuncture, but the areas are stimulated with gentle pressure using fingers, hands or small seeds instead of needles. Points can be held, rubbed or tapped during an acute attack to relieve migraine pain. Acupressure can self-administered or migraine sufferers can attend sessions by a certified acupresure specialist to prevent migraine frequency.

The alternative medicine technique called Biofeedback is another option for the treatment of migraines. Biofeedback aims to condition the body’s response to the onset of imbalances. Biofeedback focuses on connecting your mind to physical reactions from the body and helps train it to control bodily functions such as muscle tightening and heart rate. During a treatment session, an individual has electronic sensors that measure biological feedback, including migraine stress triggers. Learning to control your body’s response to stress can help prevent or stop a migraine attack.

Lastly, treating migraines with Chiropractic therapy can significantly help migraine sufferers. Chiropractic therapy offers spinal alignment to help keep the body balanced and functioning optimally. When used for migraine treatment, chiropractors align the vertebrae in an attempt to alleviate nerve irritation. Chiropractors believe that nerve irritation along the spine can create chemical imbalances in the brain, which are perhaps the number one cause of migraines. When specific attention is given to posture and restoring spinal alignment, the nerves function freely and without interruption.

Visiting a chiropractor migraine headaches can include a single or multiple visits to correct spinal misalignment. Most sessions provide immediate relief from symptoms associated with migraines but proper posture, consistent stretching, and good spine health are required for more permanent relief.

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Natural Health News and Articles

5 Ways to Avoid (or Banish) Pregnancy Migraines

Most pregnant women expect common symptoms like morning sickness and back pain. Pregnancy migraines, on the other hand, catch many by surprise. This is especially true because they can be unpredictable.

Some women who had migraines before pregnancy, for example, experience them more often when with child while others are stricken less frequently. Still other women who have never had a migraine suddenly have one for the first time during pregnancy.

Experts are not entirely sure why this is nor can they guess which camp a particular woman will fall into. Hormones are an obvious culprit but they are not the only one with experts also pointing fingers at chemicals in the brain which can affect blood vessels. Outside forces can be at work too including stress and fatigue, sensory stimulation like heat, cold, bright lights and loud noises, tobacco smoke and some foods and food ingredients.

Regardless of the cause, pregnancy migraines can be miserable with throbbing pain on one or both sides of the head. In addition, either before or during a migraine some women may experience an aura that can include light flashes, blurry vision, blind spots and/or tingling or numbness in arms or legs. Dizziness, nausea, vomiting and fatigue can also accompany the migraine.

Fortunately there are things women can do to try to help. For example:

  1. Keep a headache journal. Note when and where a pregnancy migraine strikes along with what has been eaten and any activities that were being undertaken in order to look for a trigger pattern.
  2. Avoid any known triggers. Watch out for chocolate, caffeine, nitrates and artificial sweeteners in the diet which are known to cause issues for some people along with anything else that has been personally determined. Staying away from smokers is a healthy practice anyway but especially important for women prone to pregnancy migraines.
  3. Take care of yourself. Sometimes easier said than done but try to find the time to get enough sleep and decompress as both fatigue and stress can contribute to migraines. Exercise may help lessen their numbers and severity. Drink enough water to stay fully hydrated and eat at regular intervals.
  4. If a migraine does strike, try to lay down as soon as possible in a dark quiet room with a cold compress. Sometimes taking a nap can decrease the pain or even stop it.
  5. Be sure to discuss pregnancy migraines with a healthcare provider. It is possible the headache could be caused by preeclampsia which is a serious pregnancy complication. If preeclampsia is ruled out, the doctor may be able to recommend relatively safe medications to take to ease the pain (always check before taking any medicines, herbs or supplements during pregnancy).

Written by Kristen Stewart
She is a freelance writer specializing in health, nutrition, parenting and lifestyle topics. To learn more, visit her website at www.kristenestewart.com.