Ayurvedic Treatments for Migraine Disorder

As any migraineur knows, finding relief can be evasive. If you’ve tried every hack in the book and are still suffering, it may be time to think outside the proverbial box. Many migraine sufferers have had success through Ayurvedic medicine, an ancient whole-body healing system that translates to “knowledge of life.”

Ayurveda is rooted in a desire to harmonize the entire body – both internally and externally. When one or more systems is off-balance, it can be disruptive and manifest in different ways, such as migraine.

Mind-body imbalances are more common than many people realize. Often, they show up as digestive issues. As we know, there is a strong connection between our digestive system and migraine disorder. Ayurveda treats headaches based on the three doshas – Vita, Pitta, and Kapha (more on that later). 

Today, let’s look at the role of Ayurveda in treating migraines and how this holistic approach to healing may benefit migraineurs.

What is Ayurvedic Medicine?

Known as “The Science of Life,” Ayurvedic medicine originated in India more than 5,000 years ago. Ayurvedic medicine is considered one of the oldest forms of healing science. It emphasizes disease prevention by balancing the entire system.

Ayurveda is a non-allopathic type of medicine, or non-conventional, that treats imbalances between the mind and body. When treating migraines, for example, Ayurvedic practices aim to restore balance to the system based on a person’s dosha.

What the Doshas Tell Us

The doshas are a person’s “unique physical and mental constitutions,” which are essential to total wellness and health. These three life energies are:

●       Vata – Elements of space and air

●       Pitta – Elements of fire and water

●       Kapha – Elements of water and earth

The doshas govern all of your mental and physical experiences. Most people have stronger characteristics of one type over another. For example, Vata types are generally enthusiastic, creative, clever, and up for an adventure. Vata is also responsible for energy, movement, and nerve impulses, which leads us to migraine disorder. Vata types may experience migraine attacks more than others, as they are prone to skipping meals. Not getting enough sustenance throughout the day can affect the digestive system, lead to sleep disorders, and cause migraines.

Ayurvedic Treatments for Migraine with Aura

Although Vata types may be more likely to have migraines than others, both Pitta and Kapha-dominant people can also suffer from these debilitating headaches. Migraine is often caused by a Pitta-Vata imbalance, resulting in searing pain, visual sensations, and light sensitivity commonly seen with migraine with aura. Unfortunately, many chronic migraine patients don’t respond to conventional treatments, such as pain medications. This is especially the case for people who suffer migraines with aura, about 20% of cases. Some of the warning signs of migraine with aura include:

●       Blind spots

●       Zigzag lines that may float across your line of vision

●       Changes in vision

●       Flashes of light

●       Seeing spots or stars

The information on how Ayurvedic therapy may benefit migraineurs is limited, but the data that is out there is promising. As we know, food, sleep, and stress are the three primary migraine triggers. Ayurveda relies on herbs, acupuncture, massage, yoga, and dietary changes to balance the system.

An estimated 22 percent of migraineurs have digestive issues like GERD, and digestion is often the focus of Ayurvedic treatments. Like conventional therapies, Ayurvedic medicine aims to reduce a person’s pain. This is done by balancing the doshas and eliminating any digestive toxins that may wreak havoc on the system. 

If you are interested in learning more about treating migraine Ayurvedicly, start with the doshas and go from there.

Sources:

NCBI – Response to Ayurvedic therapy in the treatment of migraine without aura

Ayurvedic College – Ayurvedic approaches to the treatment of migraine headache

National Ayurvedic Medical Association – What is Ayurveda?

Eat, Taste, Heal – The Three Doshas: The Keys to Your Individual Nature