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8 Natural Headache Remedies

Headaches…argh! From minor to debilitating, headaches are a pain – literally. As part of our journey to reduce and eliminate chemicals and toxins, we try to avoid many over the counter and prescription medications when possible. It’s not easy considering how quick we are as a culture to throw medication at a problem, even when unnecessary. In fact, as research shows, some medications actually cause the very issue they are supposed to be resolving, leading to this never-ending cycle and dependency on said medication. I personally fell-victim to this process with PPIs, before I discovered a more natural way of living and treating my body. Another example of this unfortunately is NSAIDs, or Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. According to these findings, NSAIDs not only damage the gut lining and create inflammation, but they also induce gluten sensitivity (eye opening information for those questioning the sudden rise in gluten sensitivities!). So while there are certainly times when medications may be necessary, I have made it a priority for my family to live as medication-free as possible. And I – like many of you – have found that most common health issues can be resolved through natural measures. That said, do your own research and decide what’s right for you and your family! In this post I’m sharing some information related to headaches and some natural remedies that work for me and my family.

Types of Headaches

There are numerous types of headaches that millions of people suffer from. The most common types of headaches are:

  • Sinus Headaches. Usually accompanied by other sinus symptoms such as runny nose, fever, pressure.
  • Tension Headaches. The most common type, these headaches are also known as “stress-headaches”, often occur daily, and are typically mild to moderate.
  • Migraines. These may last a few hours or even a few days, once or twice a month. Usually accompanied by other symptoms such as sensitivity to light, nausea or vomiting, and upset stomach or belly pain.
  • Cluster Headaches. These are severe, with shooting pain behind the eyes, that may occur several times over a couple of weeks or so. They usually go away for a period of time and then may return later.

8 Natural Headache Remedies

There are many possible causes of headaches, including stress, environmental toxins, dehydration, food allergies and sensitivities, leaky gut, eye strain, and vitamin and mineral imbalances. If you are someone who suffers from any of the above types of headaches, read through these 8 natural headache remedies before you reach for that bottle of aspirin:

  1. Hydrate. So simple, right? I can’t tell you the number of clients that have seen us complaining of headaches and as soon as we get them drinking more water the headaches vanish! How much water are you consuming daily? Try working up to half your body weight and notice the difference.
  2. Reduce Stress. Duh, right? Do things to reduce stress. No, don’t quit your job. But do try yoga, brief meditations, exercise, and deep breaths.
  3. Move and Stretch. Exercising and doing yoga are excellent ways of relieving tension and stress, and thus reducing head pain and the chance of headaches occurring. A regular fitness and yoga routine can be the best preventative medicine, for this and for numerous other things.
  4. Eat Real Foods. We have drilled this into you, I know, but food really is medicine.
  5. Sleep. Lack of good quality sleep can wreak havoc on a body, inside and out, so it’s no wonder that it’s often a culprit of head pain. Make sure you’re getting 7-9 hours of good quality sleep each night. Read this post to learn more about sleep and how to get enough!
  6. Peppermint Essential Oil. Backed by research, not to mention anecdotal support, peppermint essential oil is my go-to for headache relief. I run a little on my temples and immediately feel relief.
  7. Detox Baths. Detox baths rid your body of toxins, help prevent getting sick, and can prevent headaches. In addition, as they help relieve stress, they can be a good remedy for headaches too. Learn more about detox baths and how to take one here.
  8. Increase Magnesium. Magnesium deficiency is rampant among Americans, and is often the cause of headaches and even migraines. Learn more about magnesium deficiency and what to do about it here.

For more information on how to relieve or prevent headaches and other health issues, contact us for a free online or in-studio consult!

 

Sleep and Your Metabolism (Plus 9 Tips for Better Sleep)

beautiful girl sleeps in the bedroom

Sleep and Your Metabolism (Plus 9 Tips for Better Sleep)

The idea for this post, like so many others, was born from one of the most common challenges that our clients face: sleep. The ever-elusive sleep. Personally, I suffered from sleep challenges for years, and dismissed them as “normal” or “I’m just a light sleeper”. It wasn’t until a few years ago, as I began my journey into the health and wellness field, that I realized that not only were my sleep patterns not “normal”, but they were actually detrimental to my health. I was in bed for 8-9 hours a night, but the actual amount of time that I spent sleeping, or sleeping well, was minimal. Interestingly, many of our clients can relate. For many of them, sleep interferes with their ability to reach their health and weight loss goals. Whether having difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep, its important to understand the effects of sleep and sleeplessness, and to make the changes necessary to improve it.
According to The American Sleep Apnea Association, most adults spend about three-fifths of the night in light non-REM sleep, one-fifth in deep non-REM sleep, and one-fifth in REM sleep, cycling through the different phases throughout the night. Adults need between eight and eight and a half hours of sleep a night, with a minimum of seven hours. Still, inadequate sleep is an epidemic in our country, with the average adult sleeping less than six hours a night, and a high prevalence of sleep disorders. (Sleepapnea.org)
So what’s the big deal? Lack of sleep impacts your overall health. Sleep deficit can lead to poor cognition and drowsiness, a safety hazard for many. If prolonged, sleep deprivation can lead to illness, such as cardiovascular disease or even cancer. Research also suggests that inadequate sleep can cause weight gain, and is considered a factor in the national obesity epidemic. According to this 2010 study, adequate sleep may cause metabolic dysregulation. There is growing evidence indicating that sleep loss has a significant impact on metabolism and weight. They note that “sleep deprivation can alter the glucose metabolism and hormones involved in regulating metabolism…studies have suggested that chronic partial sleep deprivation is associated with an increased risk of obesity and diabetes.” Additionally, lack of sleep interferes with insulin levels and can cause cravings for sugars and processed carbs, leading to…yep, weight gain.
Ok, so now you have the information, but what do you do about it? There are actually several interventions you can try in your own bedroom. (If still having difficulty after trying these things, please contact us or a professional sleep expert top help resolve your sleep challenges.)
  1. Darkness. Even if getting enough sleep, light in the room can be detrimental by lowering melatonin levels. Cover windows with blankets or blackout curtains and create total darkness.
  2. Limit or eliminate blue light for at least an hour before bedtime. Yep, that means no phone, TV, iPad, computer…you get it.
  3. Limit EMFs (Electro-magnetic fields). Radiation-emitting devices such as a cellphone, computer, and wifi, can be affecting your sleep! Try turning these devices off completely before heading to dreamland.
  4. Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening.
  5. Use Essential Oils. Diffuse or apply oils such as lavender, cedar wood or orange for a more restful night’s sleep.
  6. Deep breaths. This works without fail when I’m having difficulty falling to going back to sleep. Deep, slow inhales and exhales.
  7. Yoga. Try this 5 minute Yoga Sequence for Better Sleep before bed.
  8. Drink chamomile tea. Chamomile actually has sedative effects and helps induce sleep.
  9. Stick to a bedtime routine. Just like children, adults sleep better when in a routine. Try to go to bed at the same time each night, and stick as closely as you can to your bedtime rituals.
Let us help you get on the path to better sleep and improved metabolic functioning! 215-360-3083
Happy Sleeping!

Yoga Sequence for Better Sleep

Young people do yoga indoors

Yoga Sequence for Better Sleep

Do you sometimes have trouble falling asleep? Find it difficult to quiet the mind and calm the body following a busy, stress-filled day? You are not alone. Sleep challenges are extremely common among adults, and the majority of Americans get less sleep than they actually need for optimal health.

Next time you have trouble unwinding, try yoga. Slow, deep breaths will relax the body, engaging the “rest and digest” response, and moving away from “fight or flight”. Visualizations can be helpful, guided meditations, and gentle asanas are all great ways to calm and relax. Here is a 5-minute asana sequence to do prior to bedtime each night. Sweet dreams!

1. Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide Legged Forward Bend): Stand with your legs about 3 to 4 feet apart, toes pointing straight ahead. Hands on your hips, stand tall lengthening through the spine. Press into the outer edges of the feet, soften the knees and activate your quads. Staying long in the torso, hinge at the hips to fold, with flat back. Release your hands to the ground or grab the backs of your legs and keep extended through the spine as you breathe into the backs of your legs. Hold for 5-10 breaths and gently release by slowly returning to standing.

2. Janusirsasana (Head to Knee Pose): From seated, extend both legs in front of you, to Staff Pose. Root your sitz bones into the mat and lengthen through the spine. Activate the legs by flexing the feet, toes reaching toward ceiling. To begin janusirsasana, bring your right heel toward your perineum, placing it on your inner left thigh. Inhale and twist slightly to the left, lining rib cage with left thigh, and extending spine. On the exhale gold forward over the left leg, reaching hands for your foot or the back of your leg (a modification for tight hamstrings). Take 5-10 deep breaths before gently returning to Staff Pose and switching to the other leg.

3. Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana): begging on Staff Pose with legs extended in front of you. Inhale ground down into your sitz bones, and lengthen up through the spine. On the exhale, keep the torso long as you fold forward from the hip joints. Inhale find more length in the upper body; exhale fold a little deeper. Hands reach for backs of legs or for the feet. *For tight hamstrings bend the knees slightly and grab the backs of the legs, activating the arms to pull yourself forward from the hips. Avoid rounding the back, but rather continue extended through the spine with each breath. Take 5-10 breaths and gently return to Staff Pose.

4. Balasana (Child’s Pose): Beginnon your hands and knees in Tabletop Pose, with hands lined up underneath the shoulders and knees lined up under the hips. Take the knees wide and sink the hips back to the heels. Extend arms out in from of the body and relax the torso between the upper thighs, forehead on the mat or a block. If it feels more relaxing, take the hands back to the heels and relax the shoulders. Take 10 deep breaths here, before gently returning to Tabletop.

5. Jathara Parivartaranasana (Reclining Twist): Begin by lying on your back, hugging knees into the chest, giving yourself a hug. Roll a little from side to side, massaging the lower spine. Release the knees slightly, forming a 90 degree bend. Rotate the knees to the left, toward

the ground, and allow them to release to the mat. Arms reach out into a “T”, right shoulder reaching toward the mat. Take 5-10 deep breaths here and feel both the belly and the back expanding on each inhale. Gently draw the knees back to center and twist to the other side.

View our video of this sequence here, and keep those deep breaths going and get yourself to bed. After this yoga sequence for better sleep, you’re now ready for a restful night’s sleep!