Each of these natural therapies is widely used by headache and pain clinics and, of course, each is also freely available for anyone to use. By using a holistic approach, that is, using therapies that function on several different mindbody levels simultaneously, we can practice Behavioral Medicine on our own. By using several different natural therapies—for example, one physical, one nutritional and one cognitive—we can often intervene in our own headache with far greater success than by using drugs.
Natural therapies are classified as either active or passive. Active therapies are the core of behavioral medicine. By forcing us to take an active role in our own recovery, active therapies promote taking control of our lives and taking responsibility for our own wellness.
Among active therapies are attitudinal and cognitive therapies, exercise, relaxation, biofeedback, creative imagery, nutrition, heat and cold therapy, self-massage, acupressure, stretching and breathing techniques, identifying nutritional and environmental headache triggers, and do-it-yourself homeopathy and herbal medicine. Each encourages us to take action in response to our pain and stress and so to help ourselves.
This book can’t exercise for you, relax for you, make images in your mind, or reprogram the beliefs that are causing your headaches. Behavioral medicine puts you in control and it’s up to you to take an active role.
Among passive therapies are acupuncture, massage, homeopathy and herbal medicine prescribed by others as well as all drug medications. In each, something is done to us by a substance or by a person. While passive therapies can provide useful short-term relief, a holistic array of more active therapies is usually required to reverse the underlying cause of chronic headache pain.