Ayurveda for Headaches

Dr. David Simon, neurologist and co-founder, Chopra Center, La Jolla, California on the use of ayurveda as an alternative treatment for headaches:

Well, as a neurologist, I've seen a lot of headaches over my career. And actually for me one of the real convincing experiences that I had was applying ayurvedic and mind/body approaches to a woman that I had been treating with headaches for many years. This was when I still had a mainstream neurology practice. And this patient, whom I remember very well, despite every medication that I had tried, was still getting migraine headaches several times a week and invariably was showing up in the emergency room asking for a shot.

I remember out of total frustration, after taking an ayurvedic course, I came back and I recommended two simple things. I had this person start meditating and I recommended that she start drinking some ginger tea throughout the day. Normally, when I saw this person's name on my schedule, I would have a little stress response in my stomach. Because I knew that she would still have had many headaches and I wouldn't have any other options to try. But this time when I saw this person's name on my schedule, this was about a month after I made this recommendation, I still had a stress response. But the stress response was I hadn't heard from this woman all month and I thought that she had gone back to her primary doctor, had told him what I'd recommended and he'd said: "I never want you to see that neurologist again, I'll refer you to somebody else."

But she came back and she told me that she had had only a couple of headaches all month. And I didn't really believe her. I asked her if she left her husband. Did you quit your job? And she said no. The only real changes were the relaxation or meditation techniques a couple times a day and the ginger tea made her pay more attention to what she ate. Over the course of time, she was able to get off of all her medications.