Are you feeling hot headed these days? If you’re like many of our patients at Lake Highlands Acupuncture, you may notice more headaches during these scorching Dallas summers.

Traditional Chinese Medicine has several explanations for summer headaches. (Remember, this ancient medicine is based entirely on nature!) First, heat causes symptoms that tend to flare upward (such as into the head). Think of a campfire flame. In your body, hot energy does the same thing. Heat rises and creates pressure in the head. Heat also exacerbates underlying temperature imbalances that may lead to headache. Furthermore, a variety of allergens are prevalent in the summer, which can irritate the respiratory system and lead to sinus-related headaches.

When these seasonal headaches arise, most people pop a pill. Aspirin, Tylenol, and Advil are so commonly used in our society that they’ve come to be considered absolutely safe. And, most of the time, used as directed, they are. However, over the last couple of years, more reasons to be careful have cropped up than ever before. For example, Tylenol is the nation’s leading cause of sudden liver failure, and the difference between an effective dosage amount and a dangerous dosage amount may be surprisingly small. In fact, acetaminophen (the generic name for Tylenol) overdose is one of the most common poisonings in the world! It may be time to try something different, something more natural and safer.

There are plenty of things you can do at home to relieve the symptoms of most headaches. First, for almost any headache, apply cold above and heat below. The easiest way to do so is to place an ice pack on the forehead or top of the head and a heating pad on the feet, and lie comfortably for 15 minutes. You can also do this in a hot bath with an ice pack on the head. Second, rubbing a few drops of lavender essential oil into the temples and on the bony spot behind the ears is pleasant and effective. If your headache symptoms coincide with weather changes or allergy symptoms, ginger tea is a good addition to the above suggestions.

Some foods and beverages can also assist in your relief. If you are dehydrated, watermelon with a sprinkling of sea salt is a wonderful summer treat. Also, tension in the muscles of your head can be aided by foods high in magnesium like cashews, avocados, and leafy greens like spinach. Upping your intake of fish like mackerel and salmon may also help by increasing your levels of coenzyme Q10.

And, because most headaches have a muscular tension component, simple self-massage can be very effective. Concentrate on the muscular areas at the jaws and temples with firm but supple circular strokes, as well as along the back of the neck at the base of the skull.

For your more stubborn or recurrent headaches, it may be time to take the next step, and acupuncture is a very good option. Studies show that acupuncture is effective for the treatment of tension type headaches, as well as migraines. Significant relief can often be achieved in as little as one treatment.

Based upon several factors, including location, quality, duration, and accompanying symptoms, a licensed Dallas acupuncturist like Bryan Ellett at Lake Highlands Acupuncture can determine which of several causes may underlie your headaches. Most of the time, improvement in a current headache can be seen in just one treatment. Still, for ongoing and recurrent headaches, several treatments may be required to achieve maximum efficacy.

Additionally, Chinese herbal medicine is a tremendous resource for relieving the symptoms of headache and preventing their return. As with acupuncture, a licensed acupuncturist can determine what the cause of the headache is and prescribe herbs that naturally treat the symptoms and promote the body’s ability to heal the underlying issues that are at the root of the problem. Chinese herbal formulas are combined in a way to achieve maximum results with minimal side effects. Both herbs and acupuncture have over a thousand years of case histories to draw from and overall histories going back several thousand years further.

Further, since acupuncturists are trained in nutrition, Bryan can give you personalized diet and lifestyle tips, like the ones above, that don’t require a trip to Lake Highlands Acupuncture. We want to teach you to manage your health with the common sense of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Many people have come to feel that their headaches are something that must be suffered and endured. Most often, the imbalances in the body that underlie the headaches can be addressed holistically, and acupuncture and herbal medicine have been shown effective in doing so. Come in to Lake Highlands Acupuncture, cool off, and experience life without the suffering.