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Acupuncture for Migraines

Taking off work because of your migraines?

Well, here’s the deal, this article will help you understand how acupuncture can help you get back on track.

Acupuncture for migraines has been scientifically proven to help you in the following three ways:

  1. alleviate symptoms
  2. reduce medication use
  3. target specific areas for healing


Then keep reading…

Say what you will, Acupuncture for migraines is a natural, drug-free therapy that can relieve symptoms.

So, What are Migraines and How Can Acupuncture Help?

Migraines are a neurovascular headache disorder with symptoms including:

  • vision changes
  • face or hand tingling
  • throbbing headaches
  • nausea & vomiting
  • abnormal light/noise/smell sensitivity
  • skin sensitivity
  • muscle tenderness

And as you are aware, migraines can reduce the quality of life and restrict exercising, socialising, and hobbies.

Treatment options often include anti-inflammatories, triptans, antiemetics, and beta-blockers…

But, be aware

These medications have many side effects!

Why is this important?

Well, acupuncture is an effective and safe alternative to relieving headaches and migraine-related symptoms.

Without side effects!

Acupuncture for migraines works because of its effect on the neurovascular system.

So what’s the evidence you may ask?

The following sections will help nip it in the bud for you.

Acupuncture for Migraines

Traditional Chinese medicine views migraines as an imbalance in the body.

Each individual may experience migraines for various reasons:

  • different body imbalances
  • different lifestyles
  • and/or different constitutions

Thus, acupuncture for migraines can differ from patient to patient.

When all is said and done, treatments are personalised to achieve the most effective results.

Practitioners use acupuncture to send signals to the body to promote healing and regulate imbalances.

A healthier and happier you!

Now back to where we started off…

Acupuncture reduces the intensity and frequency of migraine episodes and accompanying symptoms

Acupuncture for migraines reduces medication use

Acupuncture reduces the need for migraine medication, thus lessening potential medication side effects

Acupuncture for migraines targets specific areas for healing

Acupuncture prevents excess inflammation through nerve and chemical mediator regulation

Are there pressure points to relieve headaches?

Acupuncture involves the insertion of needles into specific therapeutic points in the body by a licensed professional…

…whereas acupressure uses firm pressure to massage the same points to elicit a similar effect.

Acupressure, if performed correctly, can relieve headache tension.

So why do we recommend acupuncture over acupressure?


Acupuncture creates a stronger stimulation to activate the body’s innate healing process.

What about period migraines?

Period-related or PMS headaches can arise when there is an estrogen drop during the menstrual cycle.

That happens during days 14-28 of your cycle.

So, In this luteal phase, lower estrogen causes serotonin production to drop.

Certain nerves in the head then release peptides which are known to cause migraines!

Period-related headaches can be more intense due to the decrease in activity of the body’s natural opioids (the feel-good chemicals!).

Acupuncture decreases migraine peptide production and increases serotonin and natural opioid levels.

Acupuncture for migraines can prevent and reduce headaches that escalate during menstruation.

Want to explore the symptoms we treat further?

Let’s review the common symptoms and how Chinese medicine can assist.


Headaches can impact quality of life, causing both physical and emotional distress.

Anti-inflammatory and tryptamine medications are commonly recommended for migraine headaches.

Yet, they also produce side effects such as:

  • indigestion
  • abdominal discomfort
  • diarrhoea
  • chest/throat tightness
  • muscle aches, and fatigue

Photo and Phonophobia

Many migraine episodes are triggered by light or sound, interfering with daily activities and reducing quality of life.

Acupuncture for migraines works to regulate the neural system and pain mediators to prevent episodes brought on by light or noise from occurring.

Chinese Medicine assists by:

  • Regulating the chemicals that cause photophobia
  • Modulating the pain pathways
  • Settling the reflexes that surrounds the eyes
  • Regulating the by-products that circulate during a migraines to speed up feeling better

Nausea and Vomiting

Nausea and vomiting induced by migraine episodes can negatively impact quality of life.

Antiemetic medications are commonly recommended for migraine-induced nausea and vomiting.

But! they also produce side effects such as headaches, constipation and dry mouth.

Acupuncture for migraines provides an effective alternative with no side effects for the treatment of nausea and vomiting.

Chinese Medicine assists by:

  • Counterbalancing the upward motion caused by migraines
  • Calming down the signals that initiate nausea and vomiting
  • Strengthening the digestive system

Facial and neck pain

Facial and neck pain from migraine attacks can be a detriment to daily activities.

Painkillers can damage the gastrointestinal tract and long-term can affect the liver.

Acupuncture for migraines provides an effective alternative with no side effects for the treatment of facial and neck pain.

Chinese Medicine assists by:

  • Stimulates the release of endorphins (feel good chemicals) at inflammatory areas
  • Promoting the release of the body’s natural painkillers
  • Signalling the brain to focus healing on the area


Dizziness can be an aspect of migraines and can impact the quality of life, causing both physical and emotional distress.

Acupuncture for migraines aims to reduce the frequency and intensity of dizziness to improve daily functioning.

Chinese Medicine assists by:

  • Balancing nervous system activity
  • Improving circulation to the neck and head
  • Improving blood supply to the brain
  • Regulating the pressure of blood vessels


Fatigue can arise alongside migraines and slow the recovery process.

Acupuncture for migraines aims to reduce fatigue to provide more energy for both healing and daily activities.

Chinese Medicine assists by:

  • Reducing inflammation to free up bodily resources for other functions
  • Reducing stress and consumption of the body
  • Balancing our nervous systems and hormones

Feel stronger physically & emotionally

Acupuncture for migraines can help with headache-related symptoms and the physical side effects of medication, allowing for an easier movement through daily activities

Your first visit is a 60 minute initial consultation, acupuncture treatment, & personalised herbal formula.

  1. 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 
  2. Moy G, Gupta V. Menstrual Related Headache. [Updated 2021 Feb 6]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from:
  3. Stimulating the secretion of natural endorphins at inflammatory sites through nerve signalling (Zhang et al, 2014)
  4. Mediating vagal stimulation and dopamine levels through both parasympathetic and sympathetic pathways (McDonald, 2015)
  5. Digre, K. B., & Brennan, K. C. (2012). Shedding light on photophobia. Journal of neuro-ophthalmology : the official journal of the North American Neuro-Ophthalmology Society, 32(1), 68–81.
  6. Liu, Hao MD, PhDa,b; Li, Xin-Wei MD, PhDa,b; Du, Jia MMa,b,∗ Acupuncture treatment on idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia, Medicine: January 2019 – Volume 98 – Issue 4. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000014239
  7. Burstein, R., Noseda, R., & Borsook, D. (2015). Migraine: multiple processes, complex pathophysiology. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 35(17), 6619–6629.
  8. Liu, Hao MD, PhDa,b; Li, Xin-Wei MD, PhDa,b; Du, Jia MMa,b,∗ Acupuncture treatment on idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia, Medicine: January 2019 – Volume 98 – Issue 4. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000014239
  9. Chiu, C. W., Lee, T. C., Hsu, P. C., Chen, C. Y., Chang, S. C., Chiang, J. Y., & Lo, L. C. (2015). Efficacy and safety of acupuncture for dizziness and vertigo in emergency department: a pilot cohort study. BMC complementary and alternative medicine, 15, 173.
  10. Hou, Z., Xu, S., Li, Q., Cai, L., Wu, W., Yu, H., & Chen, H. (2017). The Efficacy of Acupuncture for the Treatment of Cervical Vertigo: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2017, 7597363.
  11. Kim, J. E., Seo, B. K., Choi, J. B., Kim, H. J., Kim, T. H., Lee, M. H., Kang, K. W., Kim, J. H., Shin, K. M., Lee, S., Jung, S. Y., Kim, A. R., Shin, M. S., Jung, H. J., Park, H. J., Kim, S. P., Baek, Y. H., Hong, K. E., & Choi, S. M. (2015). Acupuncture for chronic fatigue syndrome and idiopathic chronic fatigue: a multicenter, nonblinded, randomized controlled trial. Trials, 16, 314.

Written by

Sustain Health
Sustain Health is a multidisciplinary, wellness clinic located in South Melbourne, Australia. We believe good medicine is about looking at the whole being, treating the person and keeping them well. We view each patient as an individual affected by their unique lifestyle, diet, environment, emotions and attitude. Every individual’s health needs a tailored approach to achieve better and sustainable medical solutions. Sustain Health currently offers its clients: * Fertility * IVF Support * Acupuncture * Chinese Medicine * Chiropractic

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