Headaches and Hugs…

Headaches and Hugs…

I woke up today with a migraine…its been a few years since I’ve had one…I immediately realized it was from a combination of a late night up studying, the MSG in a meal I had eaten at a restaurant the day before, a stuffy dry nose and the mental gymnastics I was doing trying to sort out a disagreement I was having with a peer…all the typical stressors that one deals with on a day to day basis…I had a cup of green tea and drank a few glasses of warm water with lemon hoping that maybe some caffeine and hydration would do the trick. An hour later the throbbing was worse. My old pattern would have been to reach for a quick fix like 400 mg of Advil. But instead I decided to apply some of the integrative medicine I had been up studying so late… physician, heal thyself…I did a saline sinus rinse with my netipot, applied this soothing peppermint oil balm ( there’s a reason it’s called Peace of Mind by Origins) and did some deep breathing…I visualized the pain leaving my head in golden bubbles and floating away into the sky far, far away..it is amazing how powerful guided visualization can be…Kaiser Permanante and Health Journeys have some wonderful free podcasts on the website  www.kaiserpermante.org, Living Healthy, Podcasts…designed for specific diseases and symptoms.

I could feel the pain receding and getting tolerable but it was still there, a sort of dull ache…that is when I remembered the healing power of hugs…especially from animals and kids. At the 12th International Conference of Human-Animal Interactions in 2010, research from Sweden was presented showing that when we hug each other and hug our pets, we release the hormone oxytocin.  Oxytocin does more than make us feel good.  It lowers the levels of stress hormones in the body, reducing blood pressure, improving mood and increasing tolerance for pain. It is the hormone that is released during childbirth which is probably why women go back again and yet again to endure labor 🙂 http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/made-each-other/201005/dog-good

I have always been inspired by the Indian spiritual leader Amma…throughout her life, Amma has embraced and comforted more than 32 million people. She inspires, uplifts, and transforms through her physical embrace, her spiritual wisdom and through her global charities, known as Embracing the World. Her mission of love is to bring back a sense of connection through the simple yet powerful healing tool..the hug…www.amma.org

So I decided to give it a try.. I read somewhere that it takes 8 hugs a day to give us our needed boost of oxytocin. So my daughters piled on top of me to smother me with hugs…it did not take much to get our sweet dog Violet to join in the fun…and as I sit down to write this I can say that I am completely headache free…feeling grateful that I did not reach for those 2 Advil tablets this morning….

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Anu French

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