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Taming the dark forces of your migraine; Inside Out.

Byline: Laura Davis

IT MAY start with an innocent tingling, as if your hand has fallen asleep, but within minutes there is a stabbing pain behind one eye and you've forgotten how to speak properly.

The symptoms of migraine change from person to person. For some it's just a painful headache, for others it includes loss of vision or speech, nausea and hallucinations.

But, whatever the intensity of the symptoms, every sufferer is stopped in his tracks when an attack begins.

Finding what triggers the migraines can help - factors such as bright lights, certain foods and your menstrual cycle - but they can't be avoided entirely.

Medication is the usual course of action but those suffering from frequent attacks may prefer not to take drugs on such a regular basis.

Hot baths and cold compresses are amongst the drug-free suggestions for relieving migraine.

Some people find the pain is eased by soaking their feet in hot water or warming their shoulders. But if none of these remedies work for you then it is worth trying an alternative therapy.

One of those recommended by The Migraine Trust is Feverfew. Taken regularly, the leaves of this plant can help to reduce the effect of a headache and aura (the additional symptoms like flashing lights and blurred vision).

However, in some people it may cause mouth ulcers and skin irritations and it should not be taken during pregnancy.

One large or three smaller leaves should be taken each day. They can be chopped and eaten in a sandwich or mixed with a little sugar to reduce the bitter taste. You can grow feverfew yourself, in sets of threes with one plant allowed to flower to produce seedlings. To ensure daily supplies, or to take them on holiday, you can keep the leaves fresh by picking them in advance and putting them in water.

Dried feverfew is as effective as the fresh leaves - spread them out in a single layer and turn regularly for several days before storing them in a tin. But the leaves should be kept whole to control the dosage and an infusion is not recommended.

If you prefer not to grow the plants you can buy feverfew tablets in chemists or health shops.

ANOTHER alternative technique is biofeedback, which involves directing the blood flow away from your head to your hand which stops the ache. Techniques to control involuntary bodily functions have been used for centuries in the Hindu practice of Yoga, where it is thought to help achieve tranquillity with the universe. They do it by chanting a series of mantras.

Patients taught the skill of biofeedback are given a combination of temperature and muscle tension training. They are then told to concentrate on a set of phrases focusing on warmth and relaxation and they practise holding a thermometer to see if their temperature increases. When they are able to do this quickly, they can use this skill when an attack begins to ease or even stop it.

For further details on alternative and complementary remedies contact The Migraine Trust on 020 7831 4818.

CUDDLING up to your furry friend as a child may help prevent you developing allergies and asthma in later life, it was revealed this week.

A study from the Lancet medical journal claims that children born into a pet-owning household grow up with an inbuilt protection against developing allergies to pets, dust mites and pollen as they grow older. Just like muscle, the human immune system needs to be exercised to remain in good shape.
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Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Oct 30, 2001
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