Acupuncture and Chinese medicine have a long and successful history treating a wide variety of headache patterns. Migraine headaches currently affect as many as 1 in 7 of the UK population. The cause of Migraines is not always clear to many of its sufferers. Certain foods have been identified as triggers. Stress, anxiety, and hormonal imbalances have also been found to play a role and more recently a genetic abnormality has been cited. Many with Migraine feel hopeless, as they have tried conventional medication without good effect.
In Chinese medicine, migraines have a few different causes. The number one pattern underlying migraine is Liver Qi Stagnation. This means that the functional energy of the liver becomes stuck and hyperactive. This is usually due to pent up anger, or a chronic ability to express emotions. Liver related headaches tend to appear at the temples, the gall bladder channel (closely related to the liver) runs through this path.
Another cause of migraine is Kidney Deficiency which is linked to adrenal fatigue. This pattern is due to overwork, perhaps excessive driven ambition and will power. (Perhaps perfectionism and being overly self-critical.) When this pattern is dominant it may occur when resting. Working hard all week and running on adrenalin then collapsing at the week end and – there’s the migraine. The Bladder channel, which is closely associated with the Kidney Channel runs up through the nape of the neck and is the primary origin of headaches due to this pattern.
Acupuncture is certainly worth pursuing as a powerful treatment option for migraines. A typical course of treatment is once a week for 6-8 visits at which time we will assess where to go from there. Sometimes ongoing monthly visits may be necessary. Usually the severity and frequency are diminished greatly. Acupuncture is usually a deeply relaxing experience that optimizes one’s overall level of health and wellbeing and has no negative side effects.
Additions to Treatment
- For most migraine sufferers, reducing stress plays a crucial role in healing this condition. Yoga and Meditation can be incredibly helpful practices in this regard, helping to restore circulation through movement, awareness and deep breathing. Many people with chronic pain have been able to heal their symptoms using these techniques alone.
- Basic Dietary Considerations
- Give up caffeine and alcohol for 2 months and look for an improvement in symptoms.
- Eliminate high trigger foods such as chocolate, avocado, coffee and peanuts for a period of time.
- Drink 8 glasses of water a day. Dehydration plays an integral role in many headache patterns.
- Avoid inflammatory foods: Sugar, Refined Carbohydrates – keeping blood sugar levels stable can play an important role.
- Eat plenty of organic fruit and vegetables.
With the right combination of treatments and a strong commitment to improved health, most patients respond well to Acupuncture. This is a link to The Migraine Action Website.