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Migraine is a neurological disorder which can cause intense throbbing or a pulsing sensation in one area of the head and is commonly accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. Migraine attacks can cause significant pain and last anywhere between 4 to 72 hours. The cause for migraine is not known but they have identified trigger factors which include lifestyle and hormonal changes.

Stress, irregular sleep cycles and digital eye strain are common triggers of migraine. Research has shown that yoga can be used as adjutant therapy for migraine. Yoga shows beneficiary effect on individuals with migraine by reducing frequency and intensity of attacks and medication score in chronic tension type headache and migraine.

This is achieved through regular practice which helps in balancing the autonomic nervous system through enhanced activation of the parasympathetic drive (rest and digest response). Hormonal balance is restored as stress hormones such as cortisol decrease and there is an increase in endorphins. The individual can sleep better with decreased levels of anxiety and tension thus further reducing the chances of migraine attacks. Sleep is also a pain relieving factor during an attack.

Tips and techniques

  • Identify the triggers.
  • Do not skip meals.
  • Get sufficient amount of sleep every night.
  • Practice yoga regularly. Include the specific postures listed in practice of the week.
  • Avoid eye strain. Listed below are two simple techniques to achieve the same at work or at the end of a tiring day.

Technique 1: Palming

Sit quietly and close the eyes. Rub the palms of the hands together vigorously until they become hot. Place the palms gently over the eyelids, without any undue pressure. Feel the warmth and energy being transmitted from the hands into the eyes and the eye muscles relaxing. The eyes are being bathed in a soothing darkness. Remain in this position until the heat from the hands has been absorbed by the eyes. Then lower the hands, keeping the eyes closed. Repeat this procedure at least 3 times. Make sure the palms and not the fingers cover the eyes.

In addition to relaxing and revitalizing the eye muscles, palming stimulates the circulation of the aqueous humour, the liquid that runs between the cornea and the lens of the eye, aiding the correction of defective vision.

Technique 2: Blinking

Sit with the eyes open. Blink the eyes 10 times quickly. Close the eyes and relax for 20 seconds. Repeat 5 times.

There remains state of habitual tension in the eyes with constant glaring at the screen. This exercise encourages the blinking reflex to become spontaneous, inducing relaxation of the eye muscles.

Another useful practice is to splash some cold water into the eyes at frequent intervals.

Begin practicing yoga under professional guidance. Include postures such as kandharasana, adho mukhasvanasana and ardha matyendrasana.