Healing the chronic degenerative condition of migraine involves a holistic approach. Simply put, this means that migraine is a symptom of an imbalanced body – and the solution to healing is to address the body as a whole.

The Herdell Migraine Institute has discovered two holistic approaches to heal migraine that are complementary to one another – The Gerson Therapy & Functional Medicine. The Gerson Therapy (GT) was originally developed by Dr. Max Gerson in the 1930s to heal his own debilitating migraines and is now being used to heal many degenerative diseases. A functional medicine (FM) approach is “the opposite of dysfunctional medicine”, as explained by Dr. Mark Hyman, Chairman of the Institute of Functional Medicine. GT& FM address underlying imbalances causing dis-ease, including nutrition, genetics, toxicity, hormonal imbalances, exercise and movement, stress, relationships, sleep and relaxation, spiritual, mental, and emotional factors contributing to a state of degenerative health.

Healing is unique to each person, therefore your biochemistry, genetics, medical history, lifestyle, diet, emotional and spiritual well-being, and much more must be taken into consideration when developing a healing therapy. The complex symptoms of migraine can be triggered from a variety of primary conditions such as Lymes, autoimmune diseases, hormonal imbalances, food allergies, or a sympathetic dominant nervous system, for example. Functional medicine seeks to explore the root causes contributing to a condition such as migraine and in turn effectively reverse and prevent chronic illness. In general, healing migraines may involve the following, with specific modifications made on an individual basis.


  • Addressing dietary food triggers causing inflammation and other imbalances is of utmost importance for migraine prevention and management. This may involve the removal of gluten, processed sugar, dairy, preservatives such as histamines, sulfites, MSG, and other foods identified via allergy testing or the elimination diet.
  • An organic whole foods, plant-based diet, mostly vegetarian – high in potassium, with avoidance of added salt allows a sick body to heal. Food is cooked and eaten via specific methods to ensure delivery and preservation of highest possible nutrients, as well as for easy digestion. An emphasis on colorful vegetables and fruits is essential.
  • Juices: Organic, fresh-pressed juices and smoothies daily to provide the sick body with easily absorbed hyper-nutrition.

“Dietary intervention based on knowledge of nutritional requirement, nutritional status, and genotype (i.e., ‘individualized nutrition’) can be used to prevent, mitigate, or cure chronic disease,” (Kaput & Rodriguez, 2004).


  • The liver is often impaired in chronic disease, and medication use adds further strain on the body’s ability to detoxify properly. Coffee enemas may be used daily to help flush the body of toxins, as well as to help manage chronic pain and inflammation. You can read more about coffee enemas below.
  • Coffee Enema Scientific Basis – courtesy of The Gerson Institute
  • Coffee Enema Biological Basis – courtesy of The Gerson Institute


  • Basic supplements are important for migraineurs. A sick body with migraines is often nutritionally starving and requires a higher dose of nutrients to maintain health.
  • Common supplements may include magnesium, digestive enzymes, probiotics, pancreatin, B vitamins, Vitamins C & D, dessicated liver,  melatonin, acidoll, niacin, CoQ10, selenium, and hormonal support as necessitated by laboratory testing.


  • The gastrointestinal ecosystem plays a significant role in the development of disease and the maintenance of health.
  • Food and chemical sensitivities experienced by migraineurs may be a result of genetics or gastroinestinal imbalances. Various genetic polymorphisms (genetic variations) may cause hyper-sensitivity to histamine and sulfite-containing foods, as well as detoxification problems that can contribute to a build up of toxic metabolites and a deficiency in other nutrients.
  • Intestinal permeability (“leaky gut”) also contributes to food allergies and sensitivities – including brain fog, depression, inflammation, bloating, IBS, and autoimmune conditions, for example. Therefore, addressing the gastrointestinal ecosystem is an integral element in migraine prevention and healing.


  • It is important to consider and address the psychological components of chronic pain and explore any history of trauma or other life events that may have contributed to the development of migraine – via professional counseling, stress-reduction techniques such as meditation, hypnosis, biofeedback, EFT tapping, qi gong, etc.
  • Recent research shows that stress can override the benefits of a healthy diet, therefore managing stress is an equally important part of holistic healing.
  • An excellent resource to get you started on this is The Gerson Therapy Mind, Body, Spirit Guide.


  • Start by placing one hand on your belly and one hand on your heart. Take a deep breath through your nose and feel your belly soften – slowly exhale through your mouth with a sigh of relief.  Allow yourself a moment to smile and the freedom to dream about being migraine-free.
  • The concept of whole-body healing requires you to become your own educated health advocate.
  • This is an opportunity as well as a challenge for you to better understand what’s going on with your body that is causing migraines and the power you possess to heal and renew your body naturally.
  • You are not alone on this journey, please contact us so that we can help guide you to our network of healing practitioners all over the world. There is hope to heal!

Visit HMI’s Healing Paths page
to learn more about the Gerson Therapy & Functional Medicine options for your healing journey.

Kaput J., Rodriguez, R.L. Nutritional genomics: the next frontier in the post genomic era. Physiological Genomics. 2004; 16:166-77.


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