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How Face Yoga Can Help to Alleviate Headaches and Migraines

Did you know that headaches and migraines can often stem from tension held in the muscles of the face and scalp?

Face Yoga is a great natural way to alleviate headaches and migraines

"People often confuse having a migraine or a headache as pain generated inside their brains........It is in fact our heads that hurt, not our brains. This happens when the muscles in the neck and shoulders (not in the brain) stay semi-contracted for a period of time, for example, after spending several hours in front of a computer. Such tension can also radiate to the muscles in the face and scalp, activating the body's pain sensors located there and signaling discomfort.......Next time you have a headache, take a good stretch."

Quote from Dr Lisa Mosconi @dr_mosconi in her book "Brain Food" p.9-10

This is also the case if we hold tension in the jaw. Clenching the jaw activates the masseter muscles (the muscle we can feel at the side of the jaw when we chew our food) and the temporalis muscle (the large fan-shaped muscle which covers the temples). And this can often occur when we feel stressed.

Other causes of headaches and migraines include illness, alcohol consumption, dehydration, hormonal imbalances and eyesight problems.

But let’s focus on that tension being held in the muscles of the face and scalp. We know how to stretch the muscles on our body, but how do we take a good stretch of our face and scalp? That's where Face Yoga comes in!

But how do we take a good stretch of our face and scalp? That's where Face Yoga comes in!

A good face workout always starts with a neck and shoulder stretch, and a focus on good head and neck posture. Without the correct alignment, the muscles of the neck, shoulders, face and scalp will not be at their correct resting length, leading to imbalances and muscle tension and/or weakness.

In the first two weeks of the 5-week Beginners Face Yoga Programme, your focus is on activating and lifting the largest, heaviest muscles of the face and scalp. You are stretching, releasing tension and strengthening the muscles; lifting them to create space for the smaller, deeper, more delicate muscles to lift and activate in the later weeks.

Face Yoga can therefore have the beneficial effect of reducing headaches and migraines, as well as boosting lymphatic drainage and circulation - see my earlier blog for more on this

Which Face Yoga exercises should you focus on to help alleviate headaches?

If you already have a migraine, then wait for it to pass before attempting any face exercises. However, if you feel the beginnings of a headache, a few of the Week One and Week Two exercises focusing on the upper part of the face may be just what you need to feel some relief!

The beginners programme is structured in such a way, that each week prepares the facial muscles for the next. You start by working the largest, heaviest muscles of the face, neck and skull; making room to activate the smaller, weaker muscles in the later weeks.

Once you have completed the programme, make sure you incorporate the following exercises regularly into your Face Yoga routine.

  • Cat Eyes

  • Total Facelift

  • Eye Opener

  • Forehead Lift Up

  • Boxer

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