Nearly 50% of the adult population experiences headache at least once a year
A person may have headache as a result of many factors – diet, environment, work and even physical activity. Study shows that yoga, a mild form of exercise, can help manage recurrent headaches and migraine.
Essentially speaking, yoga relieves headache by reducing tension. It is like a natural pill that lightens pressure, calms mind and increases blood flow to the brain. According to L. Anderson, Ph.D, a yoga instructor, the physical activity, meditation and breathing techniques in yoga aid the person with headache to cool down, relax and alleviate pain.
Yoga Poses for Relieving Headaches
The following are some of the headache-busting yoga poses:
This yoga pose boosts blood circulation towards the upper body. In a tabletop position, gently raise spine up then return to a neutral spine position. Repeat this several times.
Seated Forward Bend
This is done by putting the legs straight forward while on the floor. This mainly benefits the heart by creating pressure on the organ which in turn pumps blood to the brain, thus providing oxygen. Special precaution is observed when the person has herniated disk.
One of the easiest yoga postures, child’s pose helps relieves tension of the upper body.
Modified Eagle Pose
In a sitting position, make “eagle arms” by twisting the arms. This yoga pose not only calms the upper body but also helps relieves the tension in the shoulder.
A form of restorative inversion posture, leg-up-the-whole pose reverses the flow of gravity by putting the legs up, hence this increases blood flow (oxygen) to the brain.
This is the final pose of many yoga exercises. This pose relaxes the body and calms the mind. When doing corpse pose, close eyes, meditate and breathe while discharging the tension.
The Effectiveness of Yoga in Treating Headaches
In a randomized controlled study in India, researchers aimed to find out how yoga therapy works in treating migraine. The clinical trial involved 72 subjects diagnosed with migraine. They attended yoga sessions for a 3-month period and several factors, such as headache frequency, level of pain and anxiety were measured regularly. At the end of the study, the subjects verbalized significant decrease of headache episodes (1)
Good Perks of Yoga
Yoga exercise focuses on inward self. It helps the individual to understand his whole person by careful rumination and meditation. The exercise is mild and safe to nearly all health conditions including headache and migraine. Yoga drives away stress, a headache trigger. Moreover, yoga fixes bad posture and misalignment of spine which can contribute to brain and neck tension. The breathing techniques in yoga are cooling inhalation.
A mental aspect of yoga is how it helps mind to project a positive image to suspend feelings of anxiety and depression. Notwithstanding the many benefits of yoga exercises, it should be cleared that yoga per se cannot cure headaches. It only helps in controlling it.