Archive for March 23rd, 2009

GOING DEEPER INTO RELAXION

By now, your breathing should have slowed and you should be taking slow, relaxed breaths. You can now deepen your relaxation like this.

Picture yourself in a beautiful garden facing a deep, transparent spring. So clear is the water that you can plainly he white sandy bottom a hundred feet below.

In your imagination, tots a shiny new dime into the spring. Then, from a distance of about two feet, watch the dime as it darts and rolls and flashes and twists on its slow, silent way to the bottom. Continue to watch the dime closely as it goes down and down, deeper and deeper. After about a minute, it comes to rest on the white sandy bottom. Here in the depths of the spring, far from freeways and telephones, deadlines and pressures, ail is completely calm, peaceful, relaxed and still.

Tell yourself once more, “My mind and body are deeply relaxed. I am completely at peace and in harmony with the world. In my mind, I feel only peace, love and joy. I am thoroughly content and completely at ease.”

At this point, your mind should feel wonderfully clear and receptive and you should be awake and aware of everything that is going on. Although you may doze off, try to remain awake if possible. Let go of the future and the past, keep your awareness in the here and now, and continue to enjoy every moment.

You can continue to rest and enjoy your deeply relaxed state, or you can continue straight on into Technique #15, Biofeedback, or #16, Creative imagery.

Whenever you wish to return to normal consciousness, remain lying down for a few moments while you open your eyes and move them around, wrinkle and unwrinkled the face, and move each muscle of the body in turn. Then sit up and move around some more. It’s best to avoid getting up suddenly.

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THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAYS TO USE TEMPERATURE THERAPY FOR HEADACHE RELIEF.

• Shower Away Your Headache Pain. Another speedy way to relieve a tension headache is this. Stand under a warm-to-hot shower and allow the water to flow down over your neck, shoulders and back for at least five minutes. When you feel completely soothed and relaxed, switch to several minutes of cool-to-brisk water. Try and run the water as cool as possible without provoking shock or discomfort, and do not run it for more than four minutes at most.

This technique should release pent-up tension in cramped neck and shoulder muscles. By the time you have towelled yourself dry, your tension headache may have completely disappeared. The method is even more effective if you can massage your neck and shoulder muscles while under the shower—or have someone else massage them for you.

Some migraineurs report using this technique to abort an impending migraine attack. For this to succeed, you must begin to shower at the first hint of an aura, or of an approaching common migraine. Play the warm water on your scalp, forehead and neck. For migraine, it is not necessary to cool off with a brisk cold water shower afterwards. Should migraine headache pain appear while showering, stop at once and towel yourself dry.

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ANTI-HEADACHE TECHNIQUE #6: HERBAL RELIEF FOR MIGRAINE PAIN

Feverfew is the only herb to have been scientifically validated as an effective headache remedy. Two studies conducted at the City of London Migraine Clinic in England have suggested that feverfew is effective in reducing severity and frequency of migraine.

In the first study, researchers analyzed questionnaires from 300 migraine sufferers who had been taking feverfew daily for an average period of two and a half years. Since taking feverfew, 30 percent reported complete cessation of all headaches, 70 percent reported that attacks were less frequent and less painful, and 40 percent reported less muscular pain and better sleep. Most respondents were consuming feverfew in its natural leaf form, eating three small leaves or one large leaf daily.

In the second study, 17 people were selected from 270 chronic migraine sufferers, each of whom had been taking feverfew daily in the form of fresh leaves for at least three months.

Eight of the selected patients continued to take freeze-dried feverfew in capsule form while the remaining 9 patients received a placebo. Six months later, patients receiving the placebo were suffering an average of 3.4 migraines per month, and those receiving feverfew only 1.5 per month.

After the study, all 17 patients were given placebos and within a few weeks, all were experiencing ah average 3.43 headaches per month. Still later, all returned to taking feverfew and their headache average dropped back to only 1.5 per month.

In reporting the study in the British Medical Journal (August 31, 1985), the authors concluded that feverfew taken prophylactically can undoubtedly prevent migraine attack. But, they added, it is not known with certainty that feverfew is safe for long-term use. Nor does feverfew help everyone.

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THE BODY’S OWN NATURAL NARCOTICS DEADEN PAIN

From the gate, pain impulses travel on to the midbrain. At work in both locations are two types of opiatelike brain chemicals, the smaller, shorter-acting enkephalins, and the longer-lasting endorphins. Acting like morphine, these substances can deactivate Substance P, stalling and blocking pain impulses.

These painkilling chemicals are also controlled by the delicate balance of norepinephrine and serotonin. A sufficiency of serotonin enhances the ability of endorphins to lock into anti-pain morphine receptors in the brain, thus effectively blocking pain impulses.

While norepinephrine and serotonin are released by the adrenal glands in response to stress, they are also produced in the brain. One way to ensure having sufficient serotonin is to eat enough foods containing tryptophan, serotonin’s precursor.

In this way, enkephalins and endorphins effectively control an individual’s pain threshold. In chronic headache victims, endorphin levels are invariably low. This is because repeated stress totally consumes the endorphin supply, leaving one defenseless against pain. Abnormally low endorphin levels have also been found in other painful disorders known to develop from chronic stress.

Scientists have thus discovered the mechanism through which negative emotions such as anger, hostility, bitterness, or hopelessness, deplete the body’s store of endorphins, seriously reducing a person’s ability to tolerate pain.

The good news is that two natural therapies can swiftly replenish the endorphin supply. They are rhythmic exercise and thinking positively, so mat we experience only positive emotions. Endorphin supplies can be boosted significantly by an hour of brisk exercise. As soon as it is released in the brain, endorphin begins to block pain receptors, creating a delicious pain-free high with upbeat feelings of sharpness and alertness. Positive thinking creates a similar upbeat state of pain-free consciousness.

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ALMOST ALL HEADACHES ARE BENIGN

Every year, tens of thousands of Americans mistakenly believe that their headache is due to a brain tumor or other serious disease. Records show that when this possibility is ruled out, almost every patient shows a significant and immediate improvement.

Anxiety worsens all headaches. By obtaining medical assurance that your headache is benign, you can work wonders in lessening anxiety. The relief that this news brings is often the biggest single step toward headache recovery. Furthermore, those who visit a headache or pain clink are often delighted to learn that they can improve their condition while, at the same time, being weaned from drugs.

If you have symptoms of any disease-related headache, you should consult a physician or headache clinic. Only after you have been assured that your headache is benign should you practice any of the therapies. And for that also, you are advised to consult a doctor first.

The symptoms for disease-related headaches apply to fewer than two percent of all headaches. Which means that more than 98 percent of all headaches are benign. Although painful and, at times, even debilitating, a benign headache is not due to any underlying disease or disorder. Nor will it directly pose all threat to your health.

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