• James Bartlett

Migraines, Headaches & Acupuncture

Monday 27th July 2020

Acupuncture and Headaches

When a headache or migraine strikes, what do you do? Do you reach for the pills? Find a dark room? Or put up with it until the pain subsides? The problem with reaching for the pills, although giving a brief respite from the pain, is that they don’t deal with the root cause of the problem. And how many of us have time to go lie in a dark room for days on end? Sometimes a pill and moving in may seem like the only option. I’m here to tell you that acupuncture can help!

I used to suffer from migraines from the age of around 9 to 14. I remember sitting in class at school, and the familiar throb would begin on the left side of my head. I knew, and dreaded, what was coming. Over the rest of the day, the pain would radiate through my head and behind my eyes. I’d take myself off to the ‘sick bay’ and wait for my mother to come to collect me to take me to my darkened bedroom. These migraines would cripple me for days, leaving me feeling physically sick, angry, seeing flashing lights and hallucinating. The pain was unbearable. I would spend days locked in a cold, dark room, and I remember just wanting to take my brain and eyes out and wash them under cold water. Doctors I saw couldn’t tell me what was causing them. According to them, it could be anything from stress, caffeine, sugar, fluorescent lightbulbs, not enough water etc. They seemed to subside from the age of 14 onwards, and luckily, they’ve been few and far between since then. There isn’t much explanation of what to root cause of migraines are. Western medicine hasn’t been able to figure out what the exact cause of them is. I do know first-hand that they are horrendous and that I wouldn’t wish them on anyone.

According to Chinese medicine, symptoms like headaches and migraine can arise from absolutely anywhere. If you were to look at an acupuncture point chart, you would see a few lines zig-zagging their way across the head and face. These lines are the meridians of chi energy that flow around our bodies. The meridians on the face and head correspond to the organs of the bladder and gall bladder. It’s very easy for someone to assume that the problem lies in one of these channels and that by maybe popping a needle into a few of these points that the headache could be cured. If only it were that simple!

The beauty of Five Element acupuncture is that it works to find the root cause of imbalance within a person. Once this imbalance has been diagnosed, a practitioner of this system will get to work bringing the meridians back to a relative state of balance. It’s highly likely that if you see an acupuncturist about headaches or migraines, they may not even go near your head with a needle! There are around 350 points around the human body. Some of the most important and powerful points lie on the lower arms, lower legs, chest and back, and sometimes just using a few of these points is enough for an acupuncturist to bring a person into a better state of balance. Being in a better state of balance means that symptoms such as headaches and migraines have a better chance of reducing or even disappearing completely!

There have been numerous successful studies of the efficacy of acupuncture and headaches. The NHS reports that acupuncture treatment was found to reduce the frequency of headaches compared to taking no preventative measures.

Don’t suffer in silence! If headaches or migraines are running your day, ditch the pills and get in touch with an acupuncturist to help.

Nb. If persistent headaches or migraines are causing you a real concern and you’re worried that something is wrong, always consult your GP. While there is little explanation for the root cause of migraines, there could be a reason that needs to be examined by a doctor.

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