Do Headaches Get You Down?

Dear Readers: Welcome to a new feature of the Ask Vicki blog: Five Element Fixes. Over the years, in addition to questions regarding relationships, as a naturopathic physician I’ve been asked about a variety of other issues. Questions regarding physical concerns, certainly, but also emotional, mental, and even spiritual issues, as well. And in truth, they are all relationships questions because they address how we relate to ourselves and our environment.

The answers to these questions are usually short and sweet, but also rational and logical. And of course, they are grounded in the Five Elements model! The information seems more important now than ever before, so I’d like to share some of these with you here. 

Question: I’ve always had a tendency to get headaches when stressed. Not surprisingly, I’m pretty stressed these days so am having more headaches. I’ve even found myself rather short-tempered when things take too long to happen or don’t turn out the way I want them to. Any tips on managing the headaches?

Answer: When headaches flair up, try the following: Rub a menthol-based balm on your temples, then sit quietly for several minutes taking slow, steady breaths until you feel yourself relax.

Why: Menthol helps balance the Wood element, and out of balance Wood energy is often a significant cause of headaches. That’s because one of the major channels of energy running through the head (the Gallbladder meridian) is governed by the Wood element. So when this energy is out of balance or gets stuck, it can create headaches (and temper tantrums). And by the way, anger and frustration are also symptoms of an imbalance in the Wood element.

Not only does menthol help balance Wood energy, its scent can act as a vasodilator, relaxing and opening blood vessels (especially in the head). This, in turn, facilitates blood flow which helps decrease headaches and create an enhanced sense of calm.

It’s also important to note that the need for accomplishment sits in the Wood element. The lack of accomplishment (or an inability to do certain things) can also create an imbalance in Wood energy. That means it might be a good idea these days to be reasonable regarding your expectations for yourself, and others. And of course, it goes without saying that if your headaches become severe, you should seek medical attention.

Stay safe and well,


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