Natural Treatments for Dizziness
By Dr. Mao Shing Ni
Dizziness is often described as feeling light-headed, losing your balance, or having the sensation that your head is spinning. There are many causes for dizziness, including central nervous system dysfunction, inner ear infection, sinus problems, Meniere’s disease, anemia, low or high blood pressure, low blood sugar, and fatigue. 
In some cases, because of a brief lack of blood flow to the brain, dizziness results from a sudden movement of the head or a sudden rise from a sitting position. This is normal, and no treatment is necessary.
In Chinese medicine, dizziness is often seen in patients with anemia, dampness accumulation, or internal wind, which blocks the clear energy from rising to the head. Once the cause is determined, I use acupuncture for symptomatic relief and herbal therapy to nourish the blood, remove dampness, channel wind, and balance inner ear pressure and blood pressure. Dizziness can also be a warning sign of a more severe problem.
I once treated a young woman who suffered from intermittent dizziness. She nearly passed out a couple of times in my office. I observed that her pupils weren’t adapting to changing light conditions, and I also saw purple spots on her tongue, a possible sign of a tumor. I sent her to a neurologist for a brain scan. It turned out that she had a tumor in her brain that was causing the dizziness and fainting. I treated her during the time of surgery through her recovery, managing her energy and symptoms successfully. When the pathology came back nonmalignant we all breathed a sigh of relief.
The following are dietary, herbal, and exercise recommendations for dizziness I have given to my patients. If dizziness is accompanied by vomiting or lingers without relief, work with your physician to rule out serious neurological or vascular disease.
Related conditions: tinnitus, hearing loss, high blood pressure
HOME REMEDIES FOR DIZZINESS
- For anemia-induced dizziness eat iron-rich foods, including raisins, prunes, figs, spinach, beets, chard, and calfs liver at least 3 times a week.
- Make a tea by steeping 3 slices fresh ginger root, 1 tablespoon mint leaves, and 1 teaspoon dried licorice in 1 cup boiling water for 5 to 10 minutes. Strain, and drink 3 cups a day.
- Use 4 drops each of lavender and sandalwood essential oils as an aromatherapy treatment in an infuser, or fill a large bowl with boiling water, add the oils, cover your head and the bowl with a towel, and breathe deeply.
HOW TO TREAT DIZZINESS WITH DIET AND NUTRITION
- Eating nutritious meals helps build abundant energy and blood, and it is crucial to avoid foods that create dampness and stagnation.
- Eat frequently and in smaller amounts.
- Eat foods rich in essential nutrients, including whole grains, green leafy vegetables, mint, green tea, onions, ginger, pearl barley, apples, oranges, tangerines, peach kernels, and almonds. 
- Drink plenty of water at room-temperature; dizziness can often be caused by dehydration.
- If you suffer from iron deficiency or blood deficiency, consume more spinach, beets, dandelion greens, and organic red meat. Vegetarians should take vitamin B12 supplements or shots because B12 deficiency often leads to anemia, a cause of dizziness.
- Avoid spicy foods, lettuce, and heavy starchy foods. Moderate your dairy intake.
- Avoid salt, caffeine, and alcohol.
- Avoid foods that form mucus, such as dairy, sugar, and wheat, as they block the clear energy from rising to the head.
DAILY VITAMIN SUPPLEMENTS FOR DIZZINESS
- The B complex vitamins help with proper nervous system functioning and improve blood circulation to the brain.
- Vitamins C (1,000 milligrams) and E (800 IU) also improve circulation and are good antioxidants.
- Calcium (1,000 milligrams), magnesium (500 milligrams), and zinc (50 milligrams) play key roles in maintaining healthy nerve impulses.
- Omega-3 fatty acids (1,000 milligrams EPA; 800 milligrams DHA), found in fish and flaxseed oils, can improve blood circulation and reduce inflammation.
HERBAL THERAPY FOR DIZZINESS
Herbs can be found in health food or vitamin stores, online, and at the offices of Chinese medicine practitioners. Herbs should be used according to individual needs; consult with a licensed practitioner for a customized formulation.
- Traditional Chinese herbs including pinellia, atractylodis, and gastrodia are used to provide symptomatic relief for dizziness.
- For anemia-induced dizziness, herbs like dong quai, ligusticum, white peony, rehmannia, and licorice are often used.
- Remember, however, to consult your physician, professional herbalist, or doctor of Chinese medicine to address the underlying cause of your dizziness.
QIGONG MOVEMENTS FOR DIZZINESS
During an episode of dizziness, rigorous exercise should be avoided. Gentle walking is a good exercise to stimulate blood flow. As soon as you feel a dizzy spell coming on, step out into fresh air. Sit quietly or take a gentle walk, breathing deeply. Drink plenty of liquids. A regular regimen of moderate cardiovascular and stretching exercises can help maintain good health and proper circulation.
Here is a simple Dao In Qi Gong exercise called The Immortal Awakening from Napping that helps treat dizziness.
- Lie on your back with your legs straight and feet apart. Keep your arms resting naturally next to your body, with the palms up.
- Bring your feet together.
- Inhale, and slowly raise your head and shoulders until your shoulder blades clear the floor. At the same time, bring your palms alongside your legs and touch the outside of your thighs.
- Bring your chin down toward your chest and gaze at your toes. This will connect the body’s energy in a circle from head to toe.
- Exhale, reverse the movement, and return to the beginning posture.
Repeat 12 to 20 times twice a day.
SELF-ACUPRESSURE FOR DIZZINESS
- Locate the acupoint Hundred Meeting (DU-20), at the top of your head, midway between your ears. Apply gentle pressure with your index finger for 5 minutes. This point is used for improving brain and spirit functions.
- Find the acupoint Greater Yang (Taiyang), in the indentation in the temples. With either the knuckles of your thumbs or the tips of your index fingers, massage in a circular motion for 5 minutes. This point is used to help clear the head of any stagnation.
DIZZINESS: WHAT TO AVOID
- Prescription and over-the-counter drugs that can cause dizziness. Be sure to check drug labels. Consult your physician to determine whether drug interactions play a role in your condition.
- Spironolactone and other antagonists of aldosterone (used for chronic heart failure, it inhibits sodium resorption in the kidneys) can react with alcohol or barbiturates and cause severe dizziness.
- Caffeine, recreational drugs, alcohol, stress, and environmental conditions such as noise and high places, as they can all cause dizziness.
- High cholesterol, low blood sugar levels, and hypertension; they should be treated properly to reduce the risk of complications, which include dizziness.
- Cameron, M. Lifetime Encyclopedia of Natural Remedies. Paramus, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1993.
- Chen, J. K. Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology. Los Angeles: Art of Medicine Press, 2003.
- Ni, M. Self Healing Qi Gong Video. Los Angeles: Seven Star, 1992.
- Ni, M., and C. McNease. The Tao of Nutrition. Los Angeles: Seven Star, 1987.
- Yardley, L. Vertigo and Dizziness. New York: Routledge, 1994.
©2015 Dr. Mao Shing Ni
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