||Acupuncture and migraine sufferers really
should get together more often! Acupuncture is good not only
for the headache, but for the various types of migraine auras,
AND for preventing migraines.
For information about the western medicine ideas about the cause
of migraine, stats on migraines, the symptoms of migraines, warning
signs of more serious problems, and preventing migraines, check
out this article.
Acupuncture and migraine treatment, like all acupuncture,
is based on the principles and theories of Chinese medicine. From
a Chinese Medicine perspective, the causes are emotional excesses
(stress, long-term emotional disturbance, even just long-term
frustration!), dietary imbalance (too much of the wrong foods
and too little of the right ones), and the deficiencies inherent
in the aging process can lead to the symptoms of migraine.
Acupuncture and migraine may be different for acute
attacks, and for prevention. There is acupuncture to treat, for
example, a one-sided headache, and then a slightly different acupuncture
to treat the susceptibility to stress that causes it.
Acupuncture and Migraine - The Pain "Reset Button"
A neurologist told us in a guest lecture at my
alma mater, the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, that acupuncture
is the best therapy for chronic pain. He said that chronic pain
signals can get 'grooved in' to the brain. That means that even
after the real problem has been totally eliminated, the brain
may still be "echoing" pain signals to us. This fits with Oliver
Sach's observation that migraine is like a neurological 'frame
of mind' or arrangement that the migraineur keeps falling into.
Acupuncture can act as a 'reset button' to end
these echoes of pain. The sooner you get acupuncture, the better,
because the longer the pain is there, the more difficult it is
In Chinese Medicine, we diagnose each patient according
to what is called a pattern of imbalance, a group of symptoms.
There are 5 basic patterns involved in migraines, but real people
are complex and may have several patterns going on at the same
Let's take a look at acupuncture and migraine in
terms of the 5 patterns mentioned by Bob Flaws and Philippe Sionneau
in their "Treatment of Modern Western Medical Diseases in TCM."
Acupuncture is much more effective than acupressure, but in case
you want to try out some of these points on yourself, you can
massage them. Check out this link for the locations
of these acupuncture and migraine points.
Acupuncture and Migraine pattern #1 - Liver depression,
qi and blood deficiency
This is basically stress and frustration with bodily
depletion. Common symptoms of this type of migraine include one
sided headache, blurred vision, numbness and tingling of the fingers,
emotional depression, stress, fatigue, and menstrual irregularities.
Acupuncture and migraine for this type might include points like
Liv3, LI4 or linggu, P6, GB20, GB39, and GB43.
Acupuncture and Migraine pattern #2 - Ascendant
This migraine includes dizziness, sudden anger,
light sensitivity, and ringing ears. Liver yang rises when the
liver yin is deficient - and that happens over time from kidney
yin deficiency, which can be due to overwork, too much sex, or
too many warm herbs like ginseng and other sexual tonics. Too
much coffee over a long period of time could contribute to this
pattern, too (many people insist that coffee helps their migraines,
and it can, but only temporarily. It may make underlying problems
worse at the same time). Acupuncture and migraine for this type
might include Liv2, K3, K6, GB39, and GB43.
Acupuncture and Migraine pattern #3 - Cold reversal
This migraine features pain at the top of the head,
feeling of chill during attack, vomiting clear liquids, and a
sensitivity to wind. This is a sudden attack of migraine only.
It happens when the influences of stress (liver) attack the digestion
(spleen). Acupuncture and migraine here might include moxa on
ST36, Ren6, Du20, K7, and needling P6 and Ren13.
Acupuncture and Migraine pattern #4 - Phlegm reversal
This headache comes with dizziness, heavy-headedness,
the feeling like there's a tight band wrapped around the head,
vomiting of phlegm, stuffiness in the chest, and a lack of appetite.
It's a severe complication of digestive deficiency. Phlegm comes
from dampness, which is a diseased fluid problem due to poor digestion.
Acupuncture and migraine to remedy this would be points like ST40,
Sp9, L5, and ST36.
Acupuncture and Migraine pattern #5 - Blood stasis
obstructing the network vessels
This is a stubborn, stabbing headache that doesn't
change locations. It may be due to injury to the head, or blood
may have stagnated due to qi stagnation. Points that fix this
one are LI4, Sp6, SP10, and Liv3.