Living with pain has the uncanny effect of opening a person’s willingness to try just about anything if it stands a chance of ending the misery. Alternative medicine specialties like body manipulation, Ayurveda and naturopathy all offer some drug free migraine therapies that attract fans and foes alike. Some say these ancient practices are effective and natural ways of engaging the body to heal itself. On the other hand, western medical practitioners and skeptics have stressed the lack of scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of these practices, going as far as calling them quackery in some instances. So how can Ayurveda or naturopathy be applied to treating migraine pain?
Naturopathic medicine first seeks to identify the underlying cause of your ailment, and then engage your body’s capacity for self-healing by removing obstacles to and enhancing this process, thereby treating the cause rather than the symptoms. The philosophy is to treat the whole person with a variety of methods including nutritional, botanical, pharmaceutical and manipulative touch therapies. It includes modern and traditional medical practices (even minor surgery). The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians website provides a sample typical migraine treatment. It includes avoiding migraine triggers by keeping a diary and taking the following daily supplements: CoQ10, Magnesium citrate, Butterbur, Feverfew, Riboflavin and hormone balancing substances (minerals, vitamins, herbs and hormonal supplements).
The Ayurvedic healing system, with its 5000-year-old history based in India, is another practice that emphasizes (conventional) drug free migraine therapies. According to the Chopra Center, we are driven by three forms of life energies; wind, earth and fire. Each of us has a predominant energy that determines our outer and inner environment, and when it is imbalanced we experience internal distress or inflammation. The goal then becomes to restore balance through meditation, massage therapy, aromatherapy, herbs, music and diet. Ayurvedic treatment includes special medicines that may contain herb, mineral, metal and animal products. According to Wikipedia, safety and health issues have been the subject of concern for critics of Ayurvedic medicine. A single study, published in the International Journal of Ayurvedic Research, found that ayurvedic medicines, lifestyle modifications, 8 hours of nightly sleep, daily exercise and a special diet were an effective migraine treatment.
While alternative medicine certainly has deep spiritual roots, some of its practices have yet to be well supported by scientific evidence. Before trying any new therapies, such as taking supplements or manipulative mind body treatments, it is very important that you discuss your decision with your physician. Just because something is considered ‘natural’ doesn’t mean it isn’t toxic, or harmful in some other way. Drug free migraine treatment must be sure to do no harm, before it is worth exploring the possibility for good.