Migraines & Headaches
Bellabaci Cupping Therapy - A Highly Effective Treatment for Headaches and Migraines
from Bellabaci International
Medical statistics show that the most popular reason to visit a doctor is for the treatment of pain, and of all the types of pain that exist, headaches are the most common. Generally the treatment for a headache is a prescription for pain tablets. There are times when the headache is due to another potentially dangerous underlying condition and in those cases it's important to seek medical attention immediately. (See below).
As a headache sufferer you will know the burden that accompanies frequent headaches. Your quality of life is negatively affected, the pain is distressing and can be debilitating, and often a headache strikes at the most inconvenient time.
Migraines are sometimes called vascular headaches because they involve a restriction in blood flow to the brain. Stress, or some other trigger, causes muscle tension and spasm at the base of the skull, restricting the blood supply to the brain. In response, blood vessels in and around the brain dilate in order to compensate for the reduced oxygen. The pressure of these dilating arteries on cranial nerves causes the severe throbbing pain associated with migraine headaches.
Fortunately a simple, non-chemical and non-invasive treatment exists in the form of Cupping Therapy.
Cupping Therapy an as Alternative Headache Treatment
An emerging and highly effective alternative therapy treatment for migraine headaches is the Bellabaci massage, a form of massage cupping, which utilizes round silicone hand squeezed cups. The Bellabaci Cups are applied to the body surface by way of vacuum suction. By simply squeezing the pliable cup and applying to the skin, a vacuum is created once the cup is released against the skin. The local area of low pressure causes the blood to gather under the cup near the surface of the skin, creating an immediate improvement in circulation. In particular, cupping helps to reset or regulate the tension in the arteries… helping to relax overly tense arteries and tighten those that are too lax. Cupping therapy treatment on certain areas on the back can produce this regulating effect throughout the entire body.
Over the years many patients have been successfully treated with Cupping Therapy for their headaches. The treatment has proven to significantly reduce both the severity of pain and the frequency of the headaches. The types of headaches have ranged from unexplained chronic daily headaches to migraines, cluster headaches, tension headaches, sinus type headaches and headaches caused by muscular-skeletal or neck tension.
Using the Bellabaci cups at home, provides an alternative treatment, without reaching in to the medicine cabinet. Simply apply the cups to the base of the neck for 10 minutes, this allows a free flow of fresh oxygenated blood to the head, removing toxins and releasing muscular tension of the neck, which is very often the main cause of headaches. This action will leave a circular cup kiss or "bruise" which is associated with cupping.
In our body and image conscious Western society, the advent of Allopathic medicine, the introduction of suppressant pharmaceuticals and lack of understanding, people, upon observing this "bruising" after effect, shied from cupping therapy, making it unpopular and sadly, frowned upon, many mistaking the "cup kiss" as an actual bruise.
These "bruises' can be explained as follows:
- Wherever there is dead, static blood, lymph, cellular debris or toxins present in the body, cupping can leave marks which indicate that stagnation has been moved from the deeper tissue layers to the skin surface, allowing fresh oxygenated blood to nourish the underlying area.
- The color and pattern of the "bruising" depends on the level of stagnation in the area, and can range from a bright red to dark purple, usually lasting 3 – 7 days. If there is no stagnation present, there will be a light reddening or glow of the skin surface which disappears in a few minutes to a couple of hours. Sites where there is old trauma or injury may require multiple treatments to remove all stagnation.
- One will find in follow up treatments that the "bruising" will not be as severe as the pathogens and toxins are systemically removed from the body.
- Another alternative to avoiding the "bruising" is moving the cups, in the case of a headache, it might be difficult to do on one's own, but with a helping hand and the ease of use, anyone can glide the Bellabaci cup on the neck and shoulder blades.
- In many countries – the "bruising" is a non-issue; millions of people have experienced the amazing detoxifying effects that cupping therapy or "reverse deep tissue treatments" can provide. In countries where Allopathic Medicine has over shadowed the holistic more natural approach, these surface discolorations are misinterpreted as damage rather than the result of stagnation being drawn to the surface.
- Once people understand the cause of the "bruising" and experience the amazing healing results – their concerns disappear.
A holistic approach to treatment is necessary as this will address the underlying cause of your headaches. For example, if the headache is as a result of muscular tension, then posture correction, specific exercises, stress management and self-massage may be recommended. The cupping itself will help to ease muscle spasms and tension in the neck area. If the sinuses are blocked, then diet and environment will need to be addressed, and possibly some medication prescribed to treat an underlying infection. In this case the cupping will help to eliminate congestion. Each patient has a different cause for their headache and needs to be treated accordingly.
For those of you or your loved ones who suffer from frequent headaches and have "tried everything" I'd encourage you to try this simple technique, the treatment will provide you with that long overdue relief from your pain. In addition to cupping, dietary and lifestyle changes can often help to reduce the frequency and severity of headaches. In this regard, the following suggestions may be helpful.
Common Headache Triggers
Experiment avoiding foods that are known to trigger migraines for some people. The most common problem foods, in order of importance, are:
- tannins and sulfites in tea, red wine and apple cider, chocolate, and other foods
- aged cheese
- other dairy products
- poultry, including eggs
- caffeine in coffee, tea and cola drinks
- sulfates in processed meats and seafood
- food additives such as MSG, artificial sweeteners (Aspartame)
- food colorings
- heavily processed or packaged foods
To find out if any of these foods are a trigger for you, experiment by eliminating one at a time for a couple of weeks and observe any change in the frequency or severity of your headaches. In addition, a number of prescription medications can cause migraine headaches in some people. Read the information sheet which comes with your medication and if headaches are a possible side effect, consult with your Health Practitioner to see if an alternative medication can be suggested.
Seek medical attention if your headache is accompanied by:
- Blurred vision, weak limbs, paralysis, seizures, numbness, and difficulty speaking or personality changes.
- Fever, rash, shortness of breath or neck pain.
- A sudden onset with severe pain.
- Pain pattern is different to your usual type of headache.
- Starts suddenly or is aggravated by exertion, bending over, coughing or sexual activity.
- Severe nausea and / or vomiting.
- Impacts negatively on your quality of life.
- As the result of a head injury
A Note on MOH (Medication Overuse Headaches):
MOH or Rebound headaches are very common but difficult to self-diagnose. Overuse of medication worsens the headache. If you've been taking over the counter or prescription medication for severe headaches more than twice a week for more than 3 months, you could be at risk for MOH. It is essential to be under the supervision of a health care professional if you suspect that you are suffering from MOH. Some medications can be stopped abruptly, others need weaning. You will need the support of a doctor to guide you through the medication withdrawal process.
Self Help for Headaches
- Dehydration is a leading cause of headaches. Ensure that you're drinking at least 1.5L of water daily. This excludes other liquids.
- Try to track the triggers of your headaches which could include flickering lights (TV, PC screens, fluorescent bulbs), stress, something in your diet (ice cream headache, cheese, wine, dried fruit, processed and junk foods, foods high in fat and sugar), weather conditions, strong odors, tight hair accessories, excessive exercise, neck tension, poor posture, blood sugar dips and spikes from skipping meals, stimulants (caffeine, cigarette smoke, sugar), PMS. Once you've identified a trigger take steps to eliminate or reduce exposure to it.
- Learn stress management and relaxation techniques that you enjoy to help you during the inevitable ups and downs of life.
- Nourish your body with healthy food and fresh fruit and vegetables daily.
- Take regular exercise.
- If your headache is the result of another condition (e.g. hypertension) ensure that you address and treat the underlying cause.
Dr Maroula Lambis,
BSc(CHS) BCM(Unani Tibb)
Doctor of Natural Medicine
Dr. Lambis is a leading practitioner of holistic cupping therapy in South Africa.