Migraine Relief

Generating serotonin through guided imagery before a headache sets in can reduce pain in teens and adults alike

Q: My daughter is 12 and suffers daily from headaches and migraines. Recently, we used your imagery tape for pain, which was very helpful. The pain she has now is more than she is used to have. I was hoping you might give her a visualization or affirmation(s) to help her get through this. Most tapes available are not geared for children or teens.

A: Please tell your daughter that we're all rooting for her over here, and that when her hormones settle down, it's very likely that her headaches will too. But in the meantime, she will probably be needing those wonderful, self-regulatory, meditating skills she's been developing--and good for her!

At 12, most imagery tapes designed for adults, including mine, should work just fine for her. We've actually found that adolescents are a highly skilled group who respond well to guided imagery (bested only perhaps by pregnant women and jocks), thanks to those very same, trance-inducing hormone fluxes the poor puppies have to endure.

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And, yes, you're so right--in the middle of a migraine is not the time to try to counter the pain with a guided imagery tape. Better to establish some baseline skills and conditioning by listening to the tape and relaxing to it ahead of time, when she's feeling fine. She then has a decent shot at heading off or mitigating one when it does rear its ugly head. She can then play the tape and let her body respond to the messages automatically.

Using the same hand positioning each time she listens is another way to add a quick and effective conditioning cue.

I'd also recommend her trying some imagery designed to evoke strong feelings of love and gratitude. Anything that generates serotonin is going to reduce pain and make a dent on those headaches.

You might also want to try some simple acupuncture with a local medical expert. I know many people who've gotten excellent results from that.

And I'm sure you've already explored ways to adjust her diet. But I wouldn't be surprised if those hordes of hormones cavorting in her bloodstream weren't the main culprit.

Please give her my very best regards! And you too--I know how hard it is to helplessly watch one of your kids in pain. This too shall pass.

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Belleruth Naparstek
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