Acupuncture Migraine and Headache

Migraines and other types of headache; such as tension headache and sinus headache – affect millions of people all over the world. They are painful and debilitating and often reduce the sufferer’s quality of life. Acupuncture has been used to relieve Headaches and Migraines, as well as their underlying causes, for thousands of years and is a widely accepted form of treatment for headaches.

According to Chinese medical theory there is a life energy flowing through the body which is termed Qi (pronounced chee). This energy flows through the body on channels known as meridians. Illness arises when the cyclical flow of Qi in the meridians becomes unbalanced, sluggish or even stuck. An acupuncturist uses special sterile needles to stimulate points along those meridians in order to restore optimal energy flow and resolve pain. Your diagnosis and treatment will depend on your individual signs and symptoms, and treatment will be tailored specifically for your individual needs. Acupuncture points to treat headaches are located all over the body; along your legs, arms, shoulders, or head.

The western view is that stimulation of those specific points has the ability to alter various biochemical and physiological conditions in order to achieve the desired effect. For example:

Menstrual migraines or hormone related headaches – Acupuncture can assist in regulating many of women’s monthly cycle related conditions through its ability to influence levels of FSH and LH and to regulate the communication between the brain and ovaries, to adjust the thyroid glands functions, and to balance the estrogen and progesterone levels.

Sleep Deficiency and Stress Migraines – Acupuncture is believed to stimulate the nervous system to release endorphins (pain inhibitors) and serotonin (mood enhancer) which reduce stress including stress induced by sleep deficiency. In addition acupuncture is known to regulate the sleep cycles. Most people report that once overcome the initial anxiety from needle insertion they experience deep relaxation. Moreover, about half fall asleep during the treatment.

Migraines Triggered by Food and drinks – In addition to the dietary recommendation given by your physician, the acupuncturist can recommend foods which could support your healing according to your personal conditions and constitution, and as seen from the prospective of oriental medicine.

In a study published in the November 1999 issue of Cephalalgia, scientists evaluated the effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of migraines and recurrent headaches by systematically reviewing 22 randomized controlled trials. A total of 1,042 patients were examined. It was found that headache and migraine sufferers experienced significantly more relief from acupuncture than patients who were administered “sham” acupuncture.

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