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Migraine Misery: Alternative Treatments for the Pain in Your Head

by Neha Puntambekar Dec 15, 2009
Getting through the day with a migraine can be quite a headache, but these simple remedies might just help.

Back in 2006, I was on a crowded Mumbai train, on my way to work, when my vision started to blur and my head hurt. I made my way out based solely on memory. You probably have your own migraine horror stories to tell, pounding head, distorted vision, fatigue and all. How do you deal with that kind of pain without resorting to painkillers? Maybe you’ll find an answer in the list below:


A temple massage is usually the first line of defense for a headache. A shoulder, neck and back massage works even better. But now it’s time to go a step further with acupressure. This is the manual application of pressure to specific points along the body in order to correct internal imbalances. In case of migraines, the points that assume importance are the top of your head (right at the middle), the base of your skull (behind both ears), the area between thumb and forefinger and between the big and second toe. Apply pressure to these points using your fingertips in 5-10 minute cycles to ease migraine symptoms.

(Note – If pregnant, avoid the hand pressure point.)

Migraine Packs

Sometimes it’s the simplest home remedies that works best – lemons for example. Extract and grind the lemon peel to a paste and apply to your forehead. Let the paste dry before rinsing off. The lemon oil present in the peel has multiple therapeutic properties – it has a cooling effect on the body; it lowers stress, fatigue and pain; it works as a muscle relaxant; it also boosts immunity and circulation. You can also use sandalwood powder for the same results.

Breathing exercises

Yoga generally has an answer for everything; here it’s deep breathing. If you feel a migraine coming, just sit down and Breathe. Inhale. Exhale. Big giant gasps of air. In case of mild migraines, gentle yoga exercises help with quick recovery.

(Note – Poor body alignment can cause migraines. Regular yoga helps improves posture.)

Stay hydrated

You’ve heard it before. I’m going to say it again – water is the simplest way to avoid migraines. Drink at least 8 glasses of water every day and throw in fresh fruit and vegetable juices to the mix to keep the pain at bay. Additionally, if you feel uneasy on the road, a cup of herbal tea (ginger or peppermint) will settle things down – it controls nausea, relieves pain, detoxifies and relaxes the body.

Essential Oils

Essential oils are packed with therapeutic properties; for starters they boost blood circulation and relax tense muscles. Dabbing a bit of lavender or primrose oil on your temples can help relieve pain. Another approach is to combine essential oils with hydrotherapy. Fill the basin with warm water, add a few drops of oil, and soak your hands into the solution.
[Note – Ensure the oil is authentic and not an artificial substitute.]


Look hard enough and you’ll find a herbal remedy for almost any malady. When it comes to migraines, herbs like feverfew, gingko biloba, ginger, poppy seed, willow and skull cap, do the trick. They help improve circulation, relax tensed muscles, and relieve inflammation and pain. Herbal treatments are available as ointments, tinctures, teas and capsules.


Homeopathy uses natural healing substances to address underlying health issues. In short, it treats the root problem, not just the symptom, making it a great migraine treatment. Homeopathy treatments are unique to every individual. So consult a certified physician to zero in on the treatment best suited for you.


How about you? Know any migraine therapies that work? Leave us a comment, and help out other travelers along the way.

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