Migraine is a French word derived from the Latin word hemicrania, which means "pain in half of the head." Ayurveda have unique dosha principles to understand migraines. Unlike a tension headache this type of headache does usually affect only one side of the head, bringing severe throbbing pain. Migraines consist of two phases. In phase one the blood vessels constrict and the brain receives less blood, leading to an early warning sign called an aura. Most often the aura consists of visual disturbances such as visions of light, bright or geometric shapes and lines, and tunnel vision.Other auras include sensations of a strange taste or odor, tingling, dizziness, slurred speech, ringing in the ears, and weakness in a part of the body. This phase may also include nausea, vomiting, chills, and extreme fatigue. As the next phase occurs, the blood vessels open abnormally wide, which stimulates the nerves in the blood vessel walls. The pain begins and is usually accompanied by extreme fatigue. A migraine may last for hours or days and most often affects women.
Such headaches tend to run in families. Ayurveda teaches migraine may be triggered by hypersensitivity or allergic reactions to foods; if you have persistent migraine headaches, allergies are an important consideration. Also at play may be alcohol, bright lights, loud noises, hormonal fluctuations such as occur with the menstrual cycle, and some drugs. As is the case with tension headaches, Ayurveda teaches migraines and their treatment differ from dosha to dosha:
- Ayurveda Vata migraine headache: This headache starts on the left side and is associated with other common vata disorders, such as insomnia, constipation, and flatulence. It occurs during the vata time of day (two to six PM and two to six AM) and is aggravated by vata-aggravating foods: bitter, pungent, astringent, thy, hot, and spicy.
- Ayurveda Pitta migraine headache: This type starts on the right side and is associated with pitta disorders such as heartburn, sensitivity to light, and digestive upset. It usually occurs in the middle of the night, worsens during the pitta time of day (ten AM to two PM and ten PM to two AM) and improves at night.
- Ayurveda Kapha migraine headache: This headache is usually caused by ama in the form of mucus and is therefore described as sinus headache. Your migraine is of this type if, when you bend over from the waist, the headache feels worse.
Migraine headache can be so severe that home care measures (and most conventional medicines) do not offer much help. Ayurvedic remedies prescribed by a professional are the best source of relief and prevention. However, following the Daily Lifestyle Regimen to balance your doshas may help minimize migraines.
- Biofeedback teaches you how to warm your hands by increasing the blood flow to them. This appears to be effective in relieving migraine headaches for some people.
- Try to discover what foods might trigger your migraine-several foods have been implicated, including chocolate, nuts, coffee, cheese, citrus fruits, and alcohol. Vata headache is frequently caused by indigestible food combinations, in particular combining milk with yogurt, bananas, or fish.
- Understand A Very Unique Ayurveda Principle. Repression of natural urges and emotions is one of the most common causes of toxic accumulation and disease. This is especially relevant for migraine because a type of nervous tissue called majja produces tears as a waste product. It is extremely important therefore that you explore any emotions you feel may be trapped inside you.
HERBAL REMEDIES Start with the tri-doshic remedy (for all doshas), and if that is not effective, use one of the remedies for specific doshas.
- For all doshas: Combine 2 parts brahmi (gotu kola) with 4 parts of either ashwaghanda (Withania somnifera) or shatavari (Asparagus racemosus); take 1/8 teaspoon of this mixture in 1/2 cup boiled milk or water. You may also combine 1 teaspoon vacha (calamus) with enough warm water to make a thick paste and apply to the forehead until the headache is relieved. You may also cut onions to stimulate crying; tears release toxic accumulations in your eyes, sinuses, and brain.
- For Ayurveda vata and kapha: Combine 1 teaspoon cinnamon with enough ghee to make a paste and apply to forehead until the headache is relieved.
- For Ayurveda vata and pitta: At onset of symptoms, take one ripe banana blended with 2 cardamom seeds and 1 teaspoon ghee. Repeat, if necessary, every 8 hours.
- Taste: Vata and pitta types should emphasize sweet and bitter tastes, while kapha types benefit from pungent taste at this time.
- Smell: Use the aromatherapy tailored to your dosha; for example vata types do well with sweet, warm aromas; pittas with sweet, cool aromas; and kaphas are helped by spicy, warm aromas.
- Sight: Use yellow-green color therapy for vata; blue for pitta; and red for kapha.
- Hearing: Listen to ragas during the appropriate hours of the day, depending on your dosha: Vata should listen to the noon or late-afternoon ragas; pitta to the midmorning raga; and kapha to the sunset raga.
- Touch: massage the head, scalp, ears with sesame oil.