by Catherine Spinley



There's a massage for that:I wear my sunglasses at work headache regime


Not to be outdone by my history of puffiness or bloat, my battle with headaches is one of epic proportions. Beginning in 2000, they were triggered by stress and nearly 20 years later the headaches are just as feral and debilitating. Still triggered by stress, alcohol, sun and general dehydration are also major culprits. I’m forever on high alert and armed with a full water bottle like this one. I’ve had brain scans (“It’s nahhhht ahhhhh tuuuuuuumorrrrrrrre.”) and have medication but I prefer to try and prevent the blinding pain in my skull before it even begins. For me, avoiding alcohol and drinking 10 to 12 glasses of water a day helps immensely.

Should a headache strike, I get myself to a dark quiet room ASAP, rub my temples and wrists with lavender oil (we recommend this one) and do this life-altering regimen, which I found on You Tube during one frantic search for relief. Yoga by Adriene’s 20-minute technique is a combination of mediation, stretches, massage and pranayama (breath) and the effects are nothing short of miraculous. Watch the video for the exact steps but here are some tips from the video to help you the next time you’re in the throws of a severe headache:        

- Dim or turn off all lights and put away your laptop, phone and/or iPad. Blue light from the screen is a headache accelerant.

- Drink water and drape a hand towel spritzed with lavender or peppermint oil over your eyes. I also like to rub lavender oil on my arms, legs and feet.

- Massaging the face, temple and neck helps release pressure from the crown of head and face. This regimen utilizes all three massages.

- Deep-breathing helps calm your system. I learned about alternate nostril breathing when I found this video and it works wonders. I’m so focused on doing it correctly, I’m distracted from the pain.

- Select yoga poses help with headaches. This massage features Bunny Pose, Child’s Pose and Seated Forward Folds (along with a few other stretches) to loosen muscles and tension in your body.

FULL DISCLOSURE: For the very last time (don’t make me turn this post around, kids!), I want to remind you these are the recommendations of a blogger and shouldn’t replace a doctor’s opinion or diagnosis. I’ve seen a doctor for all of the issues I have (and even the ones I don’t), and confirmed it’s safe for me to treat these things holistically.  Make sure you see your health care professional, as well. Science is not to be ignored (ahem).

Catherine Spinley is a sometimes-writer and photographer based in New York. When not stalking other people’s dogs or yelling at people who refuse to walk up the left side of the escalator, she works in the beauty industry and practices yoga. You can read more from her at Worepaint.com.