As much as we love these long summer days, studies show that any time the temperature rises 9 degrees, our chances for getting a headache increase by 8%. On average, women get more headaches than men, so it’s important to take good care of yourself and modify your lifestyle if you’re prone to headaches this time of year.
Work, travel, and staying out too late are all seasonal stressors that can cause headaches. The root of headaches usually stem from a variety of conditions often remedied with simple lifestyle adjustments and natural treatments. Instead of reaching for the aspirin (which just masks the pain symptoms), pay closer attention to what is triggering the headache. When we take time to slow down, center ourselves and get perspective on the situation, the answers often surface.
When it comes to headache relief, when we read the word ‘natural’ what tends to come to mind is, ‘that won’t work’. While it’s true that natural remedies might take longer to “kick in”, over the long haul your body won’t come to rely on pills every time something hurts. It’s important that we learn to listen to our bodies and recognize that a headache is a sign that something is off.
Peppermint Essential Oil
Essential oils are effective and safe home remedies that have been used for ages. Peppermint is very cooling in nature and is great to use during the summer. Peppermint essential oil helps relax muscles, calm the mind and soothe pain. Apply a few drops to your hairline, temples, jaw or neck and massage into your skin. Drink some cool water and take time to relax with your eyes closed.
This may sound obvious, but most of us aren’t drinking enough water every day. The general rule is to drink half of your body weight in ounces daily. And if you’re out in the heat or exercising, you need to drink more. In reality, when you feel thirsty you are already partially dehydrated. Coffee, alcohol and drinks loaded with sugar dehydrate the body as you might have experienced from a caffeine headache or hangover. To get yourself on track, start the morning with 8-16 ounces of water at least 20 minutes before breakfast. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon to your water to help wake you up and support digestion. Be sure to carry water with you everywhere so it becomes a habit to drink before you get thirsty.
Feverfew is a medicinal herb that has been shown to be an effective remedy for migraine headaches. Doctors believe that during a migraine the vessels in our head expand and press on the nerves. Feverfew is a powerful anti-inflammatory which relaxes the vessels, reducing pressure on the nerves. It also works well as a preventative treatment. Feverfew can be consumed as an herbal tea or in supplement form. As with any supplement, be sure to follow directions on the package.
Ginger has been used for headache relief for ages. The volatile oils in ginger, (there are over 200 of them!) block prostaglandins which encourage muscle contraction. On top of easing muscle tension ginger is a potent anti-inflammatory which works on relieving pain. When a headache comes on sip ginger tea or even try chewing a slice of raw, peeled ginger and allow those medicinal oils to ease your pain.
In Eastern traditions hands-on healing like acupressure has been used for centuries to relieve pain and balance energy. Acupressure is an effective technique where pressure is applied to specific points on the body that correspond to different organs and systems. This increase in energy releases endorphins which allows our body to naturally relieve pain.
Here are three acupressure points to get you started:
- Forehead: Take your index finger and place it right between your eyebrows. Apply medium pressure there, breathe deeply and hold for one minute. Release and repeat for as many minutes as you wish.
- Hands: Apply pressure to the webbing of your index finger and thumb with the opposite hand. Breathe deeply and hold the pressure for one minute. Switch hands. Release and repeat for as many minutes as you wish.
- Foot: Apply pressure to the space between the big toe and second toe on top of the foot. Hold, and breathe for one minute. Switch feet. Release and repeat for as many minutes as you wish.
Do you get summer headaches? What are your favorite remedies? Please share, we would love to know.