10 Amazing Breathing Exercises To Treat Headache June 20, 2016

A headache can be really debilitating! Popping pills to get rid of the pain may seem like an easy way out but for those of us who suffer from chronic, reoccurring headaches; pills are seldom the right answer. But living with a bad headache is a battle and painkiller pills may seem like a necessary evil. But there are other ways to find relief from headaches without those pills! Stress is a major cause of headaches and one of the best ways to manage stress is to breathe right.

Top 10 Breathing Exercises For Headache Relief:

One of the major causes behind headaches is stress. We all know that stress is bad for our health, but feel helpless against the wear and tear of everyday life. But here’s the thing—if you want to get rid of headaches, you need to manage your stress level.

Breathing exercises are a wonderful way to relax the body, mind, and soul. They are considered a safe way to get relief from headaches. Here are the top 10 breathing exercises you can try to be free of that all encompassing pain:

1. Kapalbhati:

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

A part of yoga, Kapalbhati is an excellent breathing exercise that can be practiced to cure any type of chronic pain, including headaches.

How To Do:

  1. Sit on the yoga mat in Padamasana, Sukhasana, or Vajrasana.
  2. Close the eyes and let your hands rest in Gyan mudra.
  3. With the focus narrowed on to the lower abs, quickly inhale and then indulge in powerfully swift exhalations [at least 8 per a breathing cycle for a second or two]. If you are new to this breathing technique, then you could place your palm on the tummy to keep focus.
  4. Increase the counts per cycles slowly.
  5. Complete the Kapalbhati breathing with a deep inhalation followed by a powerful exhalation.

[ Read: Breathing Exercises You Should Be Aware Of ]

2. Anulom Vilom:

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

This is one of the most effective breathing techniques for headaches that also cleanses up your nervous system and improves the circulation. It is an ideal de-stress mechanism.

How To Do:

  1. Sit on the mat in Sukhasana, Padmasana, or Vajrasana. Relax your hands by resting them on the thighs.
  2. Lift the right hand and shape your palm into Pranayama Mudra.
  3. With the right thumb, close your right nostril.
  4. Using the left nostril, take a deep and powerful inhalation.
  5. Now close the left nostril and exhale via the right nostril.
  6. Now, keeping the left nostril closed, inhale powerfully and deeply, via your right nostril.
  7. Close the right nostril and exhale via your left nostril.

3. Bumble Bee Breath:

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

This exercise is also used to calm the mind and can be done by covering the ears with your fingers and making humming sound like a bee.

How To Do:

  1. Sit in Padmasana on the yoga mat with spine kept erect.
  2. Stretch out both hands and allow them to rest on your thighs.
  3. Place the index fingers on the cartilages of the respective ears.
  4. Take a deep inhalation and as you exhale, apply mild pressure on the cartilages while humming, preferably high pitched, like a bee.
  5. Inhale and repeat the same 7 to 10 times.

[ Read: Breathing Techniques For Weight Loss ]

4. Sitakari-Hissing Breath:

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

This is a popular breathing exercise for headache that can be practiced.

How To Do:

  1. Sit quietly, allowing your upper and lower jaw to meet gently with the teeth touching each other.
  2. Next, open the mouth without moving the jaws. Now, breathe in through your teeth, allowing the cool air to reach your lungs.
  3. While breathing out, close your mouth, and exhale through the nose.

5. Ujjayi -Victory Breath:

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

This is a great breathing technique, a part of pranayama that can be used to beat a bad headache and also treat insomnia.

How To Do:

  1. Find a comfortable spot and sit down on the floor.
  2. Inhale slowly, filling your stomach and then ribcage with air.
  3. Do not allow your stomach to expand outwards. Rather, try and lift your upper body.
  4. Now, exhale all the air out of your lungs and stomach, flushing out all the tension with it.

5. Abdominal Breathing:

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

In this breathing therapy for headache, one needs to carry out deep breathing. This helps to relieve pain in the whole body. This can be done for 5-10 minutes to achieve relaxation.

How To Do:

  1. Sit in Padmasana on the yoga mat with spine kept erect.
  2. Stretch out both hands and allow them to rest them on your thighs.
  3. Imagine a spot near the naval and breathe into it, filling your abdomen with air.
  4. Next, exhale out all the air from your body.

7. Rhythmic Breathing:

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

When you have a headache, what you need is to relax somehow. Rhythmic breathing is a great way to relax your body and mind.

How To Do:

  1. Sit down on the yoga mat, or the floor.
  2. Inhale through the nose, while counting till 8 slowly.
  3. Hold your breath for a count of 4.
  4. Exhale through the nose, while counting 8 slowly.
  5. Pause for a few seconds.
  6. Continue as long as you need to find relief.

8. Bhashtrika-Stimulating Breath:

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

This yogic breathing technique increases alertness. One needs to exhale and inhale rapidly through their nose. It is little noisy, but this breathing technique is a great energy booster for the body. It kicks that headache right out!
How To Do:

  1. Sit in Padmasana on the yoga mat with spine kept erect.
  2. Stretch out both the hands and allow them to rest on your thighs.
  3. Lift your right hand and palms shaped into Pranayama Mudra.
  4. Close the right nostril with the thumb.
  5. Taking a deep inhalation, exhale quickly and with the maximum possible force via the left nostril for 10 times.
  6. Keep your left hand on your abdomen, if you are a beginner to ensure that your tummy walks are moving like bellows.
  7. With the 10th breath, inhale and then exhale deeply via the left nostril.
  8. Repeat the same with the right nostril.

9. Breathing And Visualization:

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

This is a great exercise for those who are spiritually inclined.

How To Do:

  1. Sit down on the floor.
  2. Close your eyes.
  3. Imagine pure and healing energy of the universe, entering your body as you breathe in.
  4. And as you breathe out, visualize all the negative thoughts, stress, painful emotions leaving your body.

[ Read: Breathing Exercises For Relaxation ]

10. Massage And Breathing:

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

This is a great way to find some relief from that killer headache. For this you’ll need to massage your acupressure points while breathing deeply. Some of the acupressure points you can massage are:

  • The space between the big toe and second toe.
  • The webbing between the thumb and forefinger.
  • Middle of the forehead.
  • Temples Base of the skull.

Headaches are common. All of us experience it once in a while. These are the best breathing exercises for headache relief without causing any harm to your body. Apart from these exercises, you can also try meditation and regular massages to deal with headaches. But, if you suffer from reoccurring headaches, it is better to see your doctor to rule out any underlying health condition.
So, stop spending money on all those painkiller pills. Try breathing instead!

Recommended Articles:

The following two tabs change content below.