My daughter is suffering from tension headaches and I would like information on which of your exercises might be most beneficial.
Matthew's reply: Hello, thanks for asking about exercises for tension headaches. If by tension you mean emotional stress then there are certainly some exercises and self-help techniques on the site that may help.
For tension headaches related to stress I recommend breathing exercises and self-massage. Take a look at the Stress section of the site. There are individual techniques and also a program on video. Individual techniques may help but the program is more comprehensive and therefore far more likely to stop her headaches if they are stress-related. Also, for your information, there is another program for headaches related to things like fatigue, colds, PMT and other factors. More details here.
Tension headaches may also result from upper back and neck problems so look in the Back section of the site. Some exercises that may help are the Back Twist, Back Arch and Forward Backward Bend. These exercises gently loosen, twist and stretch the spine in different directions, which can help to relieve stress and tension held in not just the upper back and neck but the entire back.
Diet and lifestyle factors should also be considered when dealing with tension headaches. If stress-related then it is likely that her liver is affected. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the liver is the organ most often related to and affected by emotional stress. Foods and drinks that usually harm the liver, over time, include anything fried, oily or greasy; heavy and hard to digest foods like over-cooked meats; alcohol and coffee. Long-term use of medications and drugs also can impair the function of the liver.
Lifestyle-wise she needs to look for and eliminate, or at least reduce, anything that may be causing stress in her life - her job, a relationship, any unfulfilled desires, etc.
The exercises and techniques on the website and in the programs may indeed help her tension headaches BUT if the underlying causes, e.g. stress, diet, lifestyle factors, are not dealt with then the problem cannot be properly resolved.
Finally, if after trying some of the above suggestions she still has not obtained relief I recommend seeing a professional TCM practitioner such as an acupuncturist or Chinese herbalist. I recommend seeing an acupuncturist who uses Acugraph diagnostic equipment, which can quickly detect underlying internal imbalances in the body that may be causing her tension headaches. To find an Acugraph practitioner see www.miridiatech.com (Community/Find a Practitioner). I do not receive any type of benefit for referring you to the site – I just happen to use Acugraph myself here in China and it has revolutionized the way I diagnose and treat a wide range of health problems.
If you have any questions about anything above in relation to tension headaches let me know.