If you’re wondering about acupuncture being a good headache treatment option, then look no further…
Acupuncture for migraines has been scientifically proven to help you in the following three ways:
- alleviate symptoms
- reduce medication use
- target specific areas for healing
More on this in a minute…
Is acupuncture good for headaches?
Yes, of course!
Evidence shows acupuncture for headaches is a safe and effective alternative to medications.
You want to stop taking painkillers for annoying headaches, right!
And for good reason…
Medications can cause long-term impairing side effects.
So, we want to prevent future complications and can do that with acupuncture.
Acupuncture for headaches works to regulate the imbalances in your body which are provoking headaches.
By balancing the body, acupuncture can not only prevent future issues but also affect other symptoms.
What kind of headache does acupuncture help with?
Symptoms may include:
- constant dull pain around the eye
- or intense pain 1-3 months of the year, commonly at night,
- red eye, runny or blocked nose, and/or a drooping eyelid
Symptoms may include:
- pressure or tightness in a band around the head
- possibly going into or from the neck,
- cervical or muscular issues
Headaches possibly accompanied by:
- behind the eye pain
- light sensitivity – see migraines
Emotional imbalance can cause Tension Headaches.
Symptoms may include:
- the feeling of intense pressure or heaviness in the head
- a tight band around the head
Headaches behind Eyes
Headaches behind the eyes can indicate migraine headaches, which can last for hours!
Symptoms may include:
- hormonal and blood volume changes
- lack of sleep
And don’t forget, caffeine withdrawal can cause headaches during pregnancy.
What do the researchers say?
Acupuncture alleviates pain by reducing the intensity and frequency of headaches… and any accompanying symptoms.
Acupuncture reduces medication use and the need for painkillers… thus lessening potential medication side effects
Acupuncture also targets specific areas for healing.
This targeting prevents excess inflammation through nerve and chemical mediator regulation.
Want proof? Check out what the researchers say in the references at the end of this article.
How often should you get acupuncture for headaches?
The number of treatments necessary for alleviation depends on each individual and their body.
For example, people suffering from chronic headaches may need more treatments.
Everyone is different!
Therefore treatment times will be catered to each person.
What pressure point relieves a headache?
Acupuncture involves the insertion of needles into specific points in the body.
Whereas, acupressure uses firm pressure to massage the same points.
Acupressure, if performed correctly, can relieve headache tension.
However, acupuncture for headaches can achieve a stronger stimulation to activate the body’s innate healing process…
…this stimulation outweighs that of acupressure.
Explore the symptoms we treat further
As you may be aware, headaches can impact quality of life, causing both physical and emotional distress.
Western medicine usually prescribes anti-inflammatory and tryptamine medications for migraine headaches.
However, they also produce side effects such as:
- abdominal discomfort,
- chest/throat tightness,
- muscle aches and fatigue
And of course long-term use can also impact the gastrointestinal tract, kidneys, and liver.
The good news is acupuncture provides an effective alternative with no side effects for the treatment of headaches.
Chinese Medicine assists by
- Priming the gastrointestinal tract to better tolerate the effects of medication
- Regulating elevated levels of peptides present during the headache stage of migraines… associated with symptom improvement
- Stimulating the secretion of natural endorphins at inflammatory sites through nerve signalling.
- Mediating vagal stimulation and dopamine levels through both parasympathetic and sympathetic pathways.
”Acupuncture added to usual care or treatment of migraine resulted in people having the frequency of headaches at least halved… the effect of true acupuncture was still present after six months”– Linde, et al., 2016
Neck pain and tightness
Neck pain and tightness can be a cause of stress, and even the result of it.
It affects work, socialising, hobbies, and other daily activities.
Painkillers and muscle relaxants are commonly used for neck pain.
However, they can produce side effects, especially in the long run.
Acupuncture for headaches provides an effective alternative with no side effects.
Chinese Medicine assists by:
- Stimulating the secretion of natural endorphins at inflammatory sites through nerve signalling
- Mediating vagal stimulation and dopamine levels through both parasympathetic and sympathetic pathways
- Transmits signals to the brain to create a site-specific response
How does Traditional Chinese medicine view headaches?
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) sees headaches as a symptom arising from an internal imbalance.
There are multiple ways in which a headache can surface… these include both external and internal influences.
Acupuncture for headaches addresses both internal and external causes to regulate imbalances.
Wind can carry the cold weather straight into your body!
It likes to creep in at the neck, causing neck stiffness and tightness. This can lead to headaches.
Blunt force trauma can cause an internal buildup of fluid and healing agents.
This causes a blood and Qi flow blockage in the channel, and resulting in undernourished muscles.
Dehydrated tight muscles can cause headaches.
Even a repetitive strain injury (RSI) can be considered a trauma to the body and impede blood flow to the head.
Movements like hairstyling, lifting boxes, chopping vegetables can fall under this category.
Contracted pathogen (virus)
The molecules necessary to fight off pathogens can cause inflammation.
Inflammation produces blockages or weakens the channel, generating headaches.
Stress, frustration, anger, and repressed emotions block smooth energy (Qi) flow in the body… inhibiting optimal systemic functioning.
Headaches arise from hormonal, neuro/cardiovascular nervous systems.
Poor diet and lack of exercise
Poor diet and irregular eating habits damage the TCM organs responsible for digestion.
A lack of nutrients and movement of the body can create sluggishness, unwanted fluids, and fat. This movement then causes internal imbalances and therefore headaches.
Environmental cold or a diet of raw, cold, icy foods and drinks can generate cold inside the body.
Cold’s nature contracts blood vessels, slowing down Qi and Blood flow, and tightens muscles. Cold can hinder normal flow of Blood to the head.
Environmental heat or a diet of spicy, energetically hot foods can generate Heat inside the body.
Stress, frustration, anger, and repressed emotions also produce Heat in the body.
Heat has the quality of rising, and can cause headaches.
Any deficiency in the body can lead to headaches, including:
- Yin (nutrients and fluids),
- Yang (functioning and movement),
- and organ deficiencies
… all creating a lack of nourishment of the head and neck muscles.
Feel stronger physically & emotionally
Get relief from the physical side effects of medication through acupuncture for headaches.
Your first 60 minute visit includes: initial consultation, acupuncture treatment, & personalised herbal formula.
- Chen, Y.-W., & Wang, H.-H. (2014). The Effectiveness of Acupressure on Relieving Pain: A Systematic Review. Pain Management Nursing, 15(2), 539–550. doi:10.1016/j.pmn.2012.12.005
- Goadsby P. J. (2012). Pathophysiology of migraine. Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology, 15(Suppl 1), S15–S22. https://doi.org/10.4103/0972-2327.99993
- Mcdonald, J. L., Cripps, A. W., & Smith, P. K. (2015). Mediators, Receptors, and Signalling Pathways in the Anti-Inflammatory and Antihyperalgesic Effects of Acupuncture. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2015, 1-10. doi:10.1155/2015/975632
- Zhang, R., Lao, L., Ren, K., & Berman, B. M. (2014). Mechanisms of Acupuncture–Electroacupuncture on Persistent Pain. Anesthesiology, 120(2), 482-503. doi:10.1097/aln.0000000000000101
- Linde, K, Allais, G, Brinkhaus, B, Fei, Y, Mehring, M, Vertosick, EA., Vickers, & A, White, AR. Acupuncture for the prevention of episodic migraine. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2016, Issue 6. Art. No.: CD001218. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001218.pub3
- Maciocia, G. (2015). The foundations of Chinese medicine: A comprehensive text. Edinburgh: Elsevier
- Yang, J. (2017). Meridian qigong exercises – combining qigong, yoga, & acupressure. Ymaa Publication Center.