Migraine & Headaches: How To Treat Them Holistically…

Migraine & Headaches: How To Treat Them Holistically

Migraine. Headache. Overwhelming pain, dizziness, nausea, blurry vision…wasting a day or more lying in a darkened room, unable to do all those things you need to do or care for people you need to care for. Taking multiple pain killers but finding that nothing helps and all you can do is wait out the migraine monster. Then to add insult to injury, you’ll probably have a migraine ‘hangover’ for several days afterward where you feel wrung out, fragile, and exhausted.

SEE ALSO: How I Changed The Paradigm That Imprisoned My Mind And My Life

Why do you get migraines and headaches?

Perhaps when you have a headache or migraine, you use medication or some other therapy and find that it does give you temporary relief from the pain and discomfort. That’s great at the time but if you are not exploring and treating the underlying cause of the problem then it will keep returning. Pain killers or analgesics can only ever treat the symptom of pain, not the underlying causes.

Your body is designed to heal itself and you are being sent this pain sensation for a reason – your body is sending you a message. By simply treating the symptom you are ignoring that message – in a well-being sense, you are shooting the messenger!! The problem with just treating the symptoms of migraine and headache and not addressing their underlying causes is that they can keep coming back and become a chronic problem. When you have a headache, especially a migraine headache, your brain is literally not functioning optimally due to changes in blood flow and the chemicals that the brain uses to send and receive information from everywhere else in the body.

Unfortunately, if this is a chronic problem, you inevitably have to continue on with your normal life, at least to some extent. You are therefore living with suboptimal brain function and potentially making poor or even dangerous decisions as you go along. You may complete a work project to a lower standard than normal and therefore risk losing a client, a promotion, or a bonus. The choices you have to make with a headache may seem much more insignificant such as buying the family several nights of takeaway food for dinner because you just don’t feel up to cooking. But, what long term impact is this having on the overall well-being of everyone you love, as well as yourself?

One of the worst mistakes people make when they are dealing with a chronic health condition is to let their diet become one of fast-and-easy meals that are composed of food-like substances, that do not provide appropriate nutrition for a body that is already under stress from illness. Additionally poor quality, low-nutrition-food overloads the body with toxic substances that it’s not designed to process.

What are the underlying causes of your migraine or headache?

How can you determine the underlying cause of your migraine or headache? In most cases, you would readily say, ‘I’m stressed’ or ‘I’m under a lot of pressure’ and you would usually attribute that cause to something external. In many cases though, there may not be an immediate cause and effect apparent and you may be struck by a migraine seemingly out of the blue while watching your kid play soccer or driving to the supermarket.

No matter how much you might like to attribute your headache or migraine to something or someone external, metaphysically speaking you have given yourself the headache through putting YOURSELF under too much pressure. Headache is a physical manifestation of self-criticism. On a conscious or unconscious level you have perceived yourself as wrong or invalid – can you identify where this has occurred?

Migraine goes a step further and comes about when you expect yourself to be PERFECT and actually become angry with yourself for not meeting that expectation.

Feeling into your emotions

Our bodies store traumas that we experience, even when our minds cannot identify or recall those traumas. This will occur especially when we don’t let ourselves sit with the emotion that we experience during a trauma. The word trauma can be misleading – it makes us all think of big things like car accidents and natural disasters – but your body can store any difficult situation as a trauma: your siblings laughing at your 5-year-old self when you mispronounced a word, or your boss yelling at you across the office. We become very good at ignoring and burying our emotions in these ‘traumatic’ situations.

However we actually only experience our emotions for 60 to 90 seconds. Next time you are experiencing a difficult emotion – shame, fear, anger, disappointment, resentment, jealousy – rather than immediately covering over the discomfort by blaming someone else, turning it into a positive, checking Facebook, actually let yourself – your whole body – experience the discomfort. Bring attention to what it is you’re really feeling and let yourself truly feel it. It might not be pleasant but it will last less than 2 minutes and your body then won’t need to store it because you’ve processed it at the moment.


Energy healing is a wonderful tool for dealing with migraine and headache because it works on all levels – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. In this way, as well as dealing with the physical pain of the ache in your head, Reiki or any energy healing modality will also work on the emotional and unconscious ways in which you put pressure and expect perfection from yourself.


Using your breath is a super simple, easily accessible and effective way to manage any pain. Be still and take your attention to your breath, breathing into the pain. Slow and deepen your breath. There will be many helpful guided meditations on apps such as Insight Timer. For a specific guided visualization for headache contact me directly and I will send you something just for you.


Essential Oils for Migraine and Headache

Some of my favorite well-being tools are essential oils and I would strongly recommend two oils for headache and migraine. Peppermint oil is amazingly effective for dealing with everyday headaches as a powerful analgesic. If you put one drop under your tongue and another on the soft palate (the rear of the roof of your mouth) your headache will most likely disappear within a few minutes. Essential oils also work on all energetic levels of the body and can have direct and powerful effects on your emotions as well as physical symptoms.

Of course, if you are using an essential oil in your mouth you must only use certified pure therapeutic grade oils, DoTerra is my favorite brand. DoTerra also makes an oil blend that is specifically designed to assist with headache and migraine, which is called Past Tense. This gorgeous blend is cooling, calming and soothing and is recommended to be applied to the neck shoulders and behind the ears directly from its convenient roll on bottle.

If you are reading this blog when it was first published you have the chance to win a bottle of Past Tense by signing up to my monthly update before 31st March 2019. When you sign up you also receive my Chakra Balancing Ebook for FREE.


Using crystals to help manage migraine and headache is another type of energy healing that you can do all for yourself! Understanding the reason for your underlying anger and disappointment with yourself will be useful in determining which is the best crystal to use. In general, though, these ones are said to be good ones to try:

  • Migraine – Fire agate, amber, pyrite
  • Headache – labradorite, magnetite, jasper

Toxic surroundings

Many toxins can cause headache symptoms so take this as a prompt to remove synthetic fragrances from your home, office, and body; take steps to check for the build-up of mold in places you spend a lot of time; open windows and doors to increase fresh air flow; use salt lamps to help balance the ions around you; use the earth to ground you – get your bare feet in contact with grass, sand, dirt, get into nature.


From the perspective of the chakras (energy centers), headache and migraine sit within the 3rd eye (6th chakra) and the crown (7th chakra) and these are good things to think about in terms of food energy:

  • Anti-inflammatory and white foods: garlic, onion, turmeric, ginger
  • Modulate your consumption of mental stimulants such as caffeine and chocolate and mood alterants such as alcohol
  • Consume 3 to 5 servings of blue-purple foods each week, including blueberries, blackberries, figs, plums, grapes, purple cabbage, purple kale, purple potatoes
  • Use herbs and spices daily in meals
  • Ensure you are getting enough omega-3 fats (the brain is 60% fat!) through things such as flaxseed, fatty fish, leafy greens, nuts and seeds
  • Avoid food-like substances that are difficult for the body to process and create build-ups of toxic waste in the body: avoid artificial additives of all types
  • Organic foods: where possible eat organic foods, especially those that are highly susceptible to chemical residues. If cost is a barrier consider changing the top 3 food items that you consume to the organic version. Check out my Blog on clean eating for further information
  • Mindfully express gratitude for your food before you begin eating
  • Fasting: using intermittent fasting can be a great way to give the body time to cleanse and detoxify itself, leave a minimum of 12 hours of food-free time overnight. Do not attempt this when you have a migraine, just listen to your intuition about what energy your body wants in the form of food in these acute times.


A walk in fresh air and natural surroundings can be a wonderful way to deal with a headache – breathe deeply as you move gently and mindfully in a park, by a river or at the beach. Yoga helps our bodies to process trauma and build resilience to stress so is a great way to prevent headache and migraine


Sleep is probably the easiest cure for headache and migraine! Take yourself for a lie down – that will really send a message to your body that you are letting the pressure off yourself.

In general, getting enough good quality sleep is essential for your brain to function at its optimal level because your brain cells need to clean themselves every night and they cannot perform this activity if you’re not asleep for long enough or deep enough. Search my other articles on Sivana for a number of blogs on this topic!


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Arwen Bardsley


Arwen Bardsley is a holistic health professional who delves into the broader and deeper levels of health and wellbeing. She…

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