Acupuncture and Headaches

The pain that headache and migraine sufferers endure can impact every aspect of their lives – but you knew that. What you may not have considered is that acupuncture can offer powerful relief without the side effects that prescription and over-the-counter drugs can cause. Acupuncture has been used to relieve headaches, as well as their underlying causes, for thousands of years and is a widely accepted form of treatment for headaches in our society. The World Health Organization has listed headaches and migraines as neurological conditions that acupuncture therapy can effectively treat.

Diagnosis with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

TCM does not recognize migraines and recurring headaches as one particular syndrome. Instead, it aims to treat the specific symptoms that are unique to each individual using a variety of techniques such as acupuncture, Chinese herbs and tuina massage to restore imbalances found in the body. Your diagnosis and treatment will depend on a number of variables:

  • Is the headache behind your eyes and temples, or is it located more on the tip of the head?
  • When do your headaches occur (i.e. night, morning, after eating)?
  • Do you find that a cold compress or a dark room can alleviate some of the pain?
  • Do you describe the pain as dull and throbbing, or sharp and piercing?

These questions will help create a clear picture on which your practitioner can create a treatment plan specifically for you. The basic foundation for TCM is that there is a live energy flowing through the body which is termed Qi (pronounced chee). This energy flows through the body on channels known as meridians that connect all of our major organs. According to Chinese medical theory, illness arises when the cyclical flow of Qi in the meridians becomes unbalanced. Acupuncture is the stimulation of specific points which have the ability to alter various biochemical and physiological conditions in order to achieve the desired effect – in this case pain relief.