Acupuncture for headaches and migraines

Headaches/Migraines

Almost everyone has had a headache once in their life. After puberty, migraines are much more common in women than in men and are related to an imbalance in the hormone levels. Science shows that almost 60% of migraines in women are associated with the menstrual cycle. Also a recent study shows that painkillers are causing more headaches, when used on a long term basis.

Acupuncture is proven to be a safe and a very effective therapy in treating numerous types of headaches, and is also used to prevent recurrent headaches in case of chronic conditions. Although still considered complementary therapy, acupuncture is increasingly viewed as a mainstream treatment for certain conditions, such as chronic pain. The World Health Organisation endorses acupuncture for migraines headaches.

How does Acupuncture help?

Regardless of the type of the headache, the signs and symptoms you present with, the aim is to normalize the activity in the brain through regulating hormones and neurotransmitters. The pituitary gland sitting in the brain is producing endorphins, chemicals that primarily act as the body’s natural painkillers. They also are known to elevate our mood, therefore the name of “feel-good” hormone. Happy and energetic people are known to have high levels of endorphins. Another chemical involved in our moods, is serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter related to the brain and the nervous system. The latter is one the most significant factor determining whether we are depressed, feeling good or whether we are anxious.

Acupuncture research shows that the insertion of an acupuncture needle in certain points on the body triggers the release of endorphins. So acupuncture can have the same pain modulation effect as endorphins would, therefore people experience almost most times an immediate effect. And that’s why some people feel very energized as though they have been doing one hour of cardio exercise!

A classical Chinese medical text says “where there is pain, there is no flow; when there is flow, there is no pain”. The emphasis with acupuncture is on ensuring the free flow of energy and blood in the body, and therefore releasing physical and emotional blockages that cause pain.

A full case history will be taken and together we will decide on a treatment plan that may consist of acupuncture, acupuncture and herbal medicine, tuina massage, lifestyle and dietary advice. We have seen great results in treating stress/tension headaches, migraine headaches and PMS headaches and it is really rewarding to see positive effects in our patient’s lives.