Relieve Pain and Soothe Muscles with Flax!

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

Flax Relax on The Organic Beauty

Flaxseeds have definitely been having their time in the sun over the last few years, and with good reason.  Not only are they phenomenal for your health, with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, and benefits to the cardiovascular and digestive systems.  But, did you know that flaxseeds hearty nature makes them an awesome therapeutic tool for relieving aches and pains externally as well?

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Holistic Treatment of Migraines and Headaches

Headaches and migraines are among those pesky and debilitating health concerns that are more often than not a sign of an imbalance in the body. A healthy body may get an occasional headache from stress or dehydration, but when it’s a regular, frequent complaint, action needs to be taken.
If you’re getting headaches consistently once a week or more, the first step is to rule out anything neurological.  See your doctor for a CT Scan or MRI. Once these causes are ruled out, it’s important to identify your triggers and get to the bottom of your headaches.  Migraines are actually more often caused by gastrointestinal or environmental factors. Common causes and triggers of headaches and migraines are:

  • Alcohol, especially beer and red wine
  • Certain foods, such as dairy, chocolate, peanuts, some fruits, sugar, foods with monosodium glutamate (MSG), onions, meats, some cooking oils
  • Poor diet or nutritional deficiencies
  • Blood sugar imbalance (skipping meals)
  • Inflammation
  • Environmental toxins
  • Fluctuations in hormones — for example, during pregnancy, before and during your period, and menopause
  • Certain odors, such as perfume 
  • Stress, physical or emotional 
  • Too little or too much sleep
  • Caffeine
  • Smoking or exposure to tobacco smoke
  • Some medications
  • Heat, high humidity, and high altitude

  • Try identifying which of these factors play a role in your headaches, and eliminate them for at least two weeks.  Keep a symptom journal or tracker (I like Chart Myself) to help keep track of the factors that influence your headaches.  The specific holistic treatment approach you’ll take will be dependent on what your triggers are.  For example, if you primarily get headaches around your period, focusing on balancing your hormones through diet and supplementation will be key.  Or if your headaches come on when you are stressed or overworked, you’ll want to focus on stress management, relaxation, and, of course, a diet that supports your adrenals and immune system.

    That said, there is definitely a holistic headache treatment protocol that can help all sufferers…

    • DIET:
      • It’s important to balance blood sugar with regular, filling meals, particularly in the first part of the day.
      • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, fast food or processed food, artificial or chemical sweeteners, preservatives, additives like MSG and artificial flavors and colors, sugar (which headache sufferers will want to cut out completely), dairy, gluten, excessive animal products (particularly red meat and any meat containing nitrates) and hydrogenated oils
      • Opt for a clean, whole foods, mostly plant-based diet of vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats
      • Stress management is vital for headache sufferers.  A relaxation practice like yoga or meditation are HUGE and non-negotiable for living headache free.
      • Regular breathing exercises
      • A consistent exercise routine 
      • Quality sleep
      • Quit smoking and avoid being around cigarette smoke
      • Drink half your body weight in ounces of water a day
      • Rid your home of toxic chemicals
      • Naturalize your beauty regimen
      • Supplementing your diet is vital to filling in the nutritional blanks left by food.  Consult a my supplement guide for some great general supplements everyone (especially headache sufferers) can benefit from.  Of particular importance are:
        • Magnesium (200-600 mg a day) — a deficiency in this nutrient is a common cause of headaches
        • Vitamin B2 (400 mg a day) or B Complex — another supplement especially beneficial for reducing the frequency and duration of headaches
        • Omega-3 Fish oil (2 g a day) — the most vital supplement to combat inflammation
        • Chlorophyll (1 tbsp in water twice a day) — a cleansing, purifying and detoxifying supplement
        • Apple Cider Vinegar (2 tbsp in water twice a day, or at onset of headaches)
        • Feverfew (50-80 mg a day) and Butterbur (50-75 mg twice a day) and two herbs known for markedly decreasing intensity and frequency of headaches when taken regularly for up to 4 months.
      • Acupuncture
      • Reflexology
      • Massage
      • Chiropractic
      • Homeopathic treatment

    Feel free to contact me for a consultation to develop your own holistic headache treatment protocol and to get healthy!

    Natasha Uspensky, CHHC
    {Photo from My House Called MD}