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JULY 2014






Naturopathy for Headaches


Headaches are tricky. If you are one of the many people who suffer from them on a fairly routine basis you might not realize that you have more options for treating them then just what is offered over the counter.


From that last sentence you might think that the rest of this article is going to be a laundry list of natural supplements that you could use instead of reaching for the Advil or Tylenol, but that isn't the case. I want to focus on some of the things that can trigger headaches and together we can figure out the causes for your particular headaches and either get rid of them, change them or treat them.


You are what you eat

I know, it's an overused cliché, however, it is as valid as ever. Unless you suffer from a true food allergy (these are the ones like peanuts, or shellfish, or hives with strawberries) most of us think that we don't have a problem tolerating foods. But more often than not, foods are one of the biggest causes for headaches that I see on a day to day basis. Worse yet, the ones that cause problems are often ones that we eat on a routine basis. There isn't much life that we have absolute control of, but we do with food!



After we talk about what you eat, I like to hear about your overall well-being, and hormones influence this significantly. This applies to both men and women. Other than headaches, are there other symptoms that might relate? Energy level, focus and concentration, fatigue, recovery from exercise, moodiness, gastrointestinal problems, etc. are all clues.


Vitamins & minerals

Are you getting what you need from the foods you eat? Are you absorbing your nutrients? Are you low on anything that might be making your headaches more frequent or more severe. Are you missing anything? Do you have too much of something? Do we need to add, subtract or improve intake?


These are just three of the many avenues that a naturopathic work up can explore. Most of the time we get excellent results with making a few small changes that allow our bodies to run more effectively and efficiently. It's just a matter of figuring out what those small changes are and suddenly those tricky headaches are much more manageable.


Dr. T.

HCG Friendly: Light and Frosty Strawberry Limeade

Juice from 1/2 a lime (0.5oz)

2 large strawberries

1 cup water

6-8 ice cubes

Stevia to taste

Blend in a blender and enjoy!


Acupuncture for Headaches

All of us have suffered from headaches at one time or another in our lives.  Perhaps they occur rarely for you.  Or perhaps you’re one of the unfortunate millions who are plagued by chronic headaches or migraines.  Regardless of their frequency, we all know how debilitating headaches can be.  Western medicine often times has very little to offer headache sufferers beyond prescription pharmaceuticals.


During my years in practice, I’ve found that the cause of many of these headaches can be narrowed down to one of three factors:  1) Stress / Muscle tension 2) Dietary triggers and 3) Dehydration.   Of course these three factors are not the cause of ALL headaches, but I have found that they seem to be the cause of many of them. 


Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has a different perspective on headaches.  And it all depends on where the headache is located.  This is because there are several different acupuncture channels or meridians that stretch across different sections of your head and scalp.  And each channel is representative of a different organ in the body.  For example, headaches that are located in your forehead or behind your eyes are generally associated with the stomach channel and usually coincide with digestive problems.  Headaches located in the temples or on the side of the head above the ear are associated with the gall bladder and are associated with muscle and shoulder tension on the lateral sides of the body.  Headaches fixed at the top of the head are generally associated with the liver.


Acupuncture is exceptionally effective in the treatment of headaches.  By inserting acupuncture needles at various points along these effected channels, we help to release what are considered in TCM to be “blockages of Qi”.  When these blockages are released, the proper flow of Qi is reestablished and the symptomology of the headaches is reduced if not eliminated. 


From a physiological perspective, inserting acupuncture needles into these various points causes vasodilation in the nearby muscle tissue.  This increase in circulation causes these muscles to relax and thereby allowing for more blood-flow to the head and scalp.  This, coupled with added water intake and, if needed, relaxation techniques, is often a quick cure for headaches.


Regular acupuncture treatment for headaches is an extremely effective alternative to taking prescription medication – and has no side effects.  If you’re suffering with headaches of any sort and looking for an alternative to medication, and one that will provide long lasting relief, I strongly encourage you to consider the benefits of acupuncture. 


Jonathan Dodds, LAc



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