Lets face it – headaches are no fun. Nobody enjoys having a throbbing pain in their head that stops them or slows them down in their lives. However, it just so happens there are a number of exercises that can both prevent and reduce headache pain from occurring if done on a regular basis. Many people who do these exercises daily have experienced a great reduction in the frequency of headaches appearing, while some have even completely cut off the pain.
Before we get into the exercises, let’s talk about what a headache means from a Qigong/Daoist perspective. A headache is seen the same way as other pain found in the body; that is, an energy imbalance that needs to be untangled and smoothened out. Energy imbalances may come from changes in the weather, over stimulation of thoughts and emotions (probably the most common one for headaches in people due to thinking too much), muscle soreness (for example, a sore neck and shoulders in modern society) and possibly a lack of nutrition. If one of these is out of tune it could very well trigger a reaction in the body, which often leads to soreness experienced in the head area. To “re-tune” this energy, it needs to be stimulated and redirected differently so that it does not produce negative affects/feelings for the person. This tune-up is much like a masseuse working on sore muscles to alleviate pain, only you are the healer and yourself can do the exercises in a simple manner.
The exercises below are meant to achieve this and are related to acupressure points used in Qigong practice. These acupressure points are safe to stimulate and are by no means only limited to the field of Qigong, as martial arts practitioners, Chinese doctors and many other fields used them for maintaining health.
Exercise 1 – Cupping the top of the head
Cup your hand and pat the top of your head similar to the exercise where you pat your head with one hand moving up and down while the other hand is rubbing your stomach in a circular motion. While you are cupping, see golden light shooting into the top of your head reaching the middle. At the same time, tell yourself in your mind or out loud that you are completely headed.
The top of the head is where all the yang energy points converge in an energy point called “Baihui.” Cupping this point stimulates and helps disperse the yang energy back into the rest of the body, releasing pressure in the head and thus alleviating head pain.
Exercise 2 – Tapping the base of the head
Cupping the base of the head is important because the area has many energy channels connected to the sinuses and brain. This exercise helps open the sinuses (a potential reason for headaches), and helps balance yang energy in the brain. It also helps reduce dizziness and motion sickness.
Exercise 3 – Massaging the forehead area
Located between the two eyes at about eyebrow level, massage this area with your middle finger for about 2 minutes at a time or more if needed. This area connects to various parts of the brain and can help it relax, especially if you feel your thoughts, emotions or overall brain activity has been overactive.
Exercise 4 – Massage the temples
The temples are an area that if you have ever had massaged before know that it is one of most obvious places for helping reduce headache pain and bringing about overall relaxation and comfort. Place your thumbs on your temples and gently massage them in one circular direction 36 times and then do the same thing the other direction. These points connect directly to your brain, allowing for enhanced circulation and reduced stress.
Exercise 5 – Massage your face
Rub your hands together until they are warm and then massage your face by rubbing the hands starting from the nose area up to the forehead and then swiping them across and back down the face in a gentle manner. Massaging this area, especially with warm hands, is similar to putting a heat pad on a sore muscle. The face also happens to have many energy points connecting to your brain and helps restores balance in many nerves. Qigong practitioners and many Chinese doctors believe that other problems associated with the body can be found on different areas on the face such as where there are increased acne and wrinkles, so massaging the face can also help heal and restore energy in other parts of the body, including many internal organs.
Exercise 6 – Turning your neck back and forth
Now that we have worked on the head, we need to take it a step further and work on other connecting areas. Next is the neck, which for many people is tense due to looking down at a computer or mobile device for too long among other reasons. To relieve tension in this area and help release stress there as well as in the shoulders, turn your neck from side to side in a gentle manner. Start off by doing this slow and as far as you can. When you feel you have reached your limit, tell yourself you can go further and then aim to match that distance in the other direction. Slowly your neck will loosen. Many muscles in the neck are connected to the heart and lung systems, so you can also experience reduced lung congestion and improved heart conditions from this exercise.