Expert Opinions

Expert Opinions Archive
Is yoga effective against migraines?

S.G., Boston

Marian Garfinkel, Ed.D., MCP-Hahnemann University, Philadelphia, and senior Iyengar yoga instructor, comments:

"I suffer from migraines and find yoga helpful for relieving pain. Here's a modified yoga intervention that anyone can do. When one feels the headache coming on, close your eyes. Starting at the back of the head, wrap an Ace bandage around your forehead, across the temples and eyebrows. The bandage should bring the forehead skin down and back over the temples, toward the hairline. This quiets the eyes and lessens eye pressure. Move your eyeballs away from the eyelids, so that they drop back and down in their sockets. Keep the bandage on for at least 10 minutes.

"If you feel a migraine coming on at work, for example, and are seated at a desk, rest your forehead on a thick book or other hard surface. Putting the head down softens the skin at the back of the neck. There should be a straight line between the back of the neck and the shoulders. Bend your arms and support elbows on the desk. Inhale and exhale softly and quietly through your nose, with the emphasis on exhalation. Take care not to hold your breath. Keep shoulders down, with shoulder blades spreading and moving down and away from each other. Relax the tongue and the throat. Hold for five minutes."

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