FRIDAY THE 13th….Is there a reason to fear it!

January 12th, 2012

Reading about superstitions and ancient beliefs can generate a range of emotions from hilarity, to disbelief, to utter shock.

Wikipedia reports that “The superstition surrounding Friday the 13th is referred to as friggatriskaidekaphobia (Frigga being the name of the Norse goddess for whom “Friday” is named and triskaidekaphobia meaning fear of the number thirteen).”

According to folklorists there is no written evidence for a “Friday the 13th” superstition before the 19th century. One theory states that it is a modern amalgamation of two older superstitions: that 13 is an unlucky number and that Friday is an unlucky day. Interestingly, any month that starts on a Sunday, will have its 13th day fall on Friday.

According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute, “an estimated 17 to 21 million people in the U.S. are affected by a fear of this day”. I was surprised to learn that Delta and Continental airlines say that their airlines do not suffer from any noticeable drop in travel on those Fridays.

There is also no consistent agreement that accidents increase on Fridays that occur on the 13th day of a month.  Nevertheless, the superstition surrounding Friday the 13th continues to survive.

Fortunately, other superstitions and ancient beliefs regarding migraine headaches have been forgotten and replaced with other less scary and less shocking options.

Hippocrates also attributed migraines to vapors making their way up to the head from the stomach and thought that the headache pain could be relieved by throwing up.

Ancient Egyptians would tie a strip of linen to tie a clay crocodile to the head of the migraine sufferer. On the linen were written the names of the Gods who they believed could cure their ailments.

Though their theory may have been questionable by modern medicine standards, the unintentional compressing of the scalp and blood vessels with the weight of the clay alligator may have helped and it was certainly better than their previous cure of rubbing a fried fish on the head of the migraine sufferer.

During medieval times a solution of opium and vinegar was applied to the skull. The thought being that the vinegar helped the opium to absorb better. This is not an unreasonable theory and one of the more scientifically based ancient concepts to treating migraines.

A much scarier ancient approach to migraines was called Trepanation. Holes were drilled into the skull to allow evil spirits or demons to escape. I wonder if that is where the expression “You must have a hole in your head” came from.

Here’s one that makes you shake your head.  It has nothing to do with migraines, but was so strange I just had to mention it.

Ancient Egyptians also shared the early Greek belief that hysteria in women, now known as Conversion Disorder, was caused by a “wandering uterus,” and so they would fumigate the vagina to lure the organ back into proper position.

Finally, getting back to migraines, witchcraft associates migraines with the full moon and says these migraines can be totally prevented by placing a blindfold over the 3rd eye, the pineal gland at the base of the skull on the neck.

Well what have we learned?

1.)    We may have very little reason to be afraid of Friday the 13th.

2.)    Compared to ancient options, MigreLief is looking more and more like your best option to preventing your migraines.

3.)   If you feel a bout of hysteria coming on, try to avoid treatment by any ancient Egyptian or Greek healthcare professional.

 

Curt Hendrix, M.S., C.C.N., C.N.S.

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