Encountering a wild headache is similar to Forrest Gump’s proverbial life–box of chocolates metaphor: “you never know what you’re going to get”—although you know it will contain chocolate. That’s what makes it so intriguing.
You might say I’m a headache whisperer. For forty-two years, I have been relieving people’s headaches and migraines with a body-mind therapy I developed in 1970. (In case you think I’m ancient, like Dick Clark and my fellow baby boomers, I’m an eternal teenager.) After twenty-one years of informal experimentation, I decided to offer my therapy professionally and became a certified: massage therapist, energy worker, body-centered and conscious relationship therapist, and somatic coach and body worker. Deconstructing what I had been feeling on the head and in my hands all those years, I created instructions for client self-application, and I began documenting the results.
I realized that each time I relieved a headache with my hands, rather than working anatomically, I was working with a cycle of sensations on the head. Some of the sensations characterized the headache or migraine itself while others signaled its release (which also signaled pain relief in the headache sufferer). The combined physical and bioelectrical quality of these sensations seems to correspond to the current scientific research on possible mechanisms at work during a migraine.
The Mundo Method is about being present in each moment. You don’t personally take on the pain, you track it down and conquer it. It is meditation, touch biofeedback, and volitional intention all rolled into one. You follow the subtleties of sensation, pulsation, tissue quality, energetic makeup, and bioelectrical current of the headache, the head, and involved structures, letting them guide and inform your touch. Each palpation and touch response produces an effect, which then informs the next move. You follow them wherever they take you, again and again. Are these transitory qualities: indicators of pain, the headache, the parasympathetic nervous system in action, the power of touch to shift all of the above?
People in the midst of a migraine feel horrible and are often disabled by the pain in their head and a host of other symptoms permeating their entire being. It’s difficult to move, see, or speak; they feel nauseated; common sights, sounds, and smells become magnified and distorted, making their pain worse. In addition, chronic headache and migraine sufferers have a pain history, a history of dealing with the pain—often with medications and other therapies—and their mood around all of it. Thus, during a session, you are also working with the client’s mood, posture, language, attention, and breath while you are promoting calmness and trying to bring everything to neutral.
As you see, or perhaps already know, when you touch a headache sufferer, especially a migraineur, you are touching a whole person with a life history often filled with chronic pain or illness, accidents, trauma(s), fear, anger, and sadness. For these clients, touch therapy administered by an open, empowered, touch-aware practitioner is their first step in breaking the pain cycle, finally feeling relief, and catching a glimpse of the light of hope.
Cross-posted at Getting Better Bodywork.