My Journey as a Headache Healer
I think that headaches chose me forty-five years ago, and they have kept my attention ever since.
In 1970, quite by accident, I discovered I could stop a headache or migraine with my hands. I got lots of practice because, it seemed, wherever I went, someone would exclaim they had a headache. Eager to try my method, I’d offer to help and succeeded at relieving the surprised sufferer’s headache on-the-spot. I also learned to stop my own (what I later learned were) migraines.
In 1992, I decided to formalize my method and get credentialed in hands-on work, so I’d have a license to touch. I made a 180 degree career turn, going from media advertising sales manager to certified massage therapist. I decoded into step-by-step instructions what I’d been experiencing for twenty-one years on the head and in my hands and realized that: 1) I could feel (and was working with) the sensations of the headache itself, and 2) those sensations had a cycle, which when complete signaled a shift in the pain and other accompanying symptoms.
I tested the instructions on a few longtime migraineurs and learned that they worked, and my method was teachable. My informal subjects were able to back down a migraine from escalating into full-blown or keep an impending one from starting. I began collecting research and hired a UCLA bio medical statistics grad student to help refine my questionnaires.
After doing an extensive headache and migraine review of the consumer, professional, and research literature, I was surprised to find the huge toll they take on individuals, families, companies, and in the workplace. I learned that people suffer for years, ending up in a miasma of medications, living miserable, painful lives, with no end in sight. Yet, isn’t it interesting, I thought, that I can stop one with my hands? This propelled me on.
At the same time, personally, I had been going through a stressful time and my migraines were increasing in frequency and intensity. I was a perimenopausal, divorced mom of three kids. I had just begun my career at age thirty-eight after moving back from The Farm to Santa Monica, CA. (See my journey in the documentary film feature American Commune.)
Yet, as my path and curiosity led me to train in energy work, breath work, and body-centered therapies and coaching (for clients’ and for my own development), and my diet, sleep, and exercise patterns improved, my stress was reduced, and my migraines decreased and rarely appeared. Voila! Thus was born the Mundo Program for prevention, which focuses on creating life balance with body-mind, self-care practices that address the whole person.
Over the next thirteen years, I trained extensively in energy work, intuitive development, and body-centered therapies and coaching. I was certified as a Body-Centered and Conscious Relationship Therapist (Hendricks Institute) and Master Somatic Coach and Bodyworker (Strozzi Institute). I attended post-grad seminars and a year-long training in Somatics and Trauma (Generation5). Somatic coaching and bodywork help people transform body, mind, spirit, and emotions by exploring and unwinding their embodied history. It has been extremely useful in unwinding difficult headache mysteries.
I began teaching the Mundo Program to patients through wellness programs at medical centers and universities (for faculty and staff), including Kaiser Permanente, Hill Physicians, Stanford University, and UC Berkeley, and corporations, including Hewlett Packard and Lockheed Martin. I continue to offer both private and group sessions as well as training courses for wellness professionals. My curriculum vitae has a detailed profile of my professional experience and training.
In 2001, a retrospective study of seventy-eight migraine patients, who took my class through health education programs, was published in the peer-reviewed international medical journal Cephalalgia (May 2001, Abstracts) and presented in poster session at the International Headache Congress.
As a result of my journey in helping others overcome lifetimes of headaches, migraines, and suffering, my healing philosophy is based in self-empowerment and each individual’s capacity to build and claim resilience. Everything—that you do, think, and are—contributes to the state of your health. Shockingly, it is absolutely possible to overcome a lifetime of pain, without medication and side effects, by doing things differently—and doing different things.
I hope you enjoy this blog and my various writings as a source of information and inspiration for your health, healing, and well being. Thanks for visiting!