~ Via Micah, LifeSpa Staff
For about 7 years now, I have suffered from cluster headaches.If you don’t know what a cluster headache is, let me explain:
It is sort of like a migraine.It starts with a foggy brain and hot-flash. I can’t cool off and begin sweating, while the intense, throbbing pain starts at one shoulder, radiates up the back of my neck, wraps around the top of my skull, down behind my eye and into one side of my jaw. Take the pain generally experienced from a migraine and multiply that by about 10. That is close to the level of pain I experience. While the excruciating pain is going on, I can’t sit still. Laying down makes it worse. Being in a dark room and adding cold packs to my neck does not help at all. I feel like I need to literally smash my head into a wall to stop the pain. Then, finally, after anywhere from 10 minutes to 12+ hours (you never can tell how long the headache will last), the pain subsides.I can see again and function, at least somewhat normally, but am left feeling completely exhausted.
With clusters, this happens at least once or twice a day, every day, for weeks or months at a time, at least once or twice a year.
I’ve tried at least 7 or 8 prescription migraine medications – none of them work for me. Once I started seeing a neurologist, I was prescribed a steroid to make the episodes shorter – a few weeks at a time instead of several months, and a calcium-channel blocker in an effort to prevent the headaches from starting altogether. I was also prescribed high flow oxygen. Just 10-20 minutes of breathing 100% oxygen at about 10 Liters/minute would actually stop a headache for a few hours! This helped initially, but over time, I seemed to start getting the headaches more and more often. Three or four times a year instead of just one or two times, with a shorter time period between each episode. The steroid became less and less effective with each episode too.
Finally, when another episode of cluster headaches started, I decided to talk to Dr. Douillard about this. He explained to me that I seemed to have a congested liver and that the steroids, while helping my symptoms at first, were exacerbating the problem with my liver over time. He suggested I do a Bile Flush for my liver and receive a few Shirodhara treatments in the LifeSpa Ayurvedic DaySpa to subdue my overactive mind (which also tends to contribute to headaches). Dr. Douillard also suggested I do the One-Minute Meditation at least several times a day.
I took his advice and followed the protocol for the Bile Flush the next weekend. It appeared to be successful in achieving what the Bile Flush is meant to achieve (decongesting my liver), but I wasn’t sure it would help my headaches – after all, how could a healthy, 27 year old girl actually have a congested liver to the extent that it could cause this kind of problem?
I made sure to do the One-Minute Meditation throughout my work days – even when I thought someone might see me and I’d be embarrassed.
The day after I finished the first Bile Flush, I went into LifeSpa for a Shirodhara/Abhyanga treatment. Before the treatment I was completely unconvinced; how was pouring oil over my forehead for 20 minutes going to do anything? During the treatment I was calmed in a way that I have never felt before. My mind would be incredibly busy with thoughts, then suddenly just go blank and feel completely quiet for awhile. This happened 5 or 6 times throughout the treatment. I left the clinic in a calm and blissful state.
I didn’t have another headache for 3 or 4 days. This was after having headaches several times a day, every day, for about 3 weeks, with no end in sight – to me, it was a miracle.
I scheduled two more Shirodhara/Abhyanga treatments for the next two weeks and ended up doing the Bile Flush several more times over the next two months.I stopped the steroid and calcium-channel blocker that was prescribed by the neurologist as soon as I could.After each treatment and Bile Flush, I felt more calm, but more energized as well.The headaches waned remarkably fast and, after the third treatment, were completely gone.
It has been almost a year now since I last had a cluster headache episode. I am totally convinced that it was the Bile Flushes, One-Minute Meditations, and Shirodhara treatments that have helped me to have continuous relief from this unbearable condition for the past year.
Micah, LifeSpa Staff