In the 21st century, Ayurveda, naturopathic and holistic approaches for the treatment of chronic pain are emerging as positive alternatives to migraine medications. At the University of Washington, for example, integrative physicians are incorporating acupuncture and natural anti-inflammatory recipes of turmeric and coconut paste to treat chronic headache conditions.
Pain specialists who recommend holistic treatments for migraine conditions are not the type of physicians who believe in silver bullet approaches. The underlying causes of migraines are still being discovered, and there is no consensus on whether a cure will ever be found for this condition. What has become certain over the years, however, is that migraines are caused by a combination of vascular, neurological and brain chemistry factors.
Studies on how chronic migraine patients experience headache episodes show that there is a cranial sacral (craniosacral) aspect to the pain they feel. The craniosacral system is composed of the membranes and fluid that engulf the spinal cord as well as the brains. Craniosacral therapy is a set of massage and light-touch techniques that aim to establish a healthy rhythm in the flow of cerebrospinal fluid from the lowest lumbar vertebrae to the brain.
What Craniosacral Therapy (CST) Can Do for Migraine PatientsA CST session lasts about an hour and is performed on a fully-clothed patient. A massage therapist trained on the CST technique will use a very light touch to assess the rhythm of the cerebrospinal fluid as it travels from the sacrum to the cranium.
The application of CST addresses the vascular factor of the migraine condition, which means that it assumes that blood vessels in the scalp and brain play a major role in the development of chronic headaches. To this effect, CST involves light manipulation of the dura mater membrane and the bone structures of the skull.
There is no question that the healthy functioning of the cranial vascular system is essential in the prevention of headaches. This is evident insofar as dehydration and blood loss leading to headaches. Some migraine patients who have undergone CST have reported a reduction of the intensity of their headaches.
Can CST Help Chronic Migraine Patients?Holistic and natural treatments for patients who suffer from chronic migraines are often recommended due to their stress-relieving benefits. Chronic migraine patients are those who:
- Experience more than two headache episodes per month
- Experience visual auras
- Suffer debilitating headache episodes accompanied by nausea
Chronic migraine patients are often resigned to planning their lives so that they avoid factors that may trigger migraine episodes. These migraine triggers include certain foods, beverages, scents and situations. The number one trigger of migraines is stress, which is easy to understand with regard to brain chemistry. Stress causes certain neurotransmitters to become more active, which in turn may trigger a migraine episode. When taking this into consideration, CST and other treatments that promote relaxation can certainly relieve stress and thus help reduce the incidence of migraines.
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