Migraine headaches can be major impediments in everyday life for the people who suffer from them. Fortunately, there are Acupuncturists who specialize in headache and migraine treatment and can help manage the pain using a treatment program including, but not limited to, Acupuncture and Chinese herbal products, which have been used for that very reason for thousands of years are are widely accepted forms of treatment in this area, even in Western society.
Diagnosis with Japanese Acupuncture
When addressing patients who are suffering from headaches or migraines, traditional Chinese medicine attempts to treat the specific symptoms as they appear case by case, rather than trying to formulate one single umbrella treatment to take care of every case. Although each case is unique, treatment plans typically involve combinations of Acupuncture, herbal products, tui-na massage, and exercises to restore energetic balance in the body. Diagnosis and treatment depends on several variables including location of the pain, time of day at which the headache tends to occur, the effect of cold compresses and dark rooms on the pain, and type of pain (dull and throbbing, sharp and piercing, etc).
Acupuncture for Headaches and Migraines
Because Qi roads connect every part of the body, Acupuncture points can be applied to areas far from the head; needles may be placed in the legs, arms, shoulders, or anywhere else!
Because acupuncture needles are so thin (several times smaller than a hypodermic needle), they do not tend to cause significant pain when stuck in the skin. Although minor discomfort may occur, patients are often able to sleep through much of the treatment. As with other types of acupuncture treatment, treatment for headaches can last for 5 to 30 minutes, and sessions typically occur once or twice a week, with minor symptoms being relieved quickly, and more severe symptoms requiring further sessions.
Studies on Acupuncture and Headaches
Studies all over the world, from the early seventies to the present day, have suggested that acupuncture is an exceedingly effective treatment for migraines and headaches. In fact, one study conducted in 2003 showed that acupuncture can have a significant effect on the frequency and severity of cluster headaches. Because the pain is reduced, patients also reported a decrease or complete discontinuation in the use of pain medications, which can be associated with bothersome side-effects.
Acupuncture can help with the frequency and severity of headaches, not only directly after treatment, but for long periods of time afterward as well. A study conducted in 2002, involving 50 patients, revealed that about 98% of people treated with scalp acupuncture experienced a significantly decreased frequency of headaches even six months after the treatments.
In 1999, yet another extensive study was carried out, involving 22 trials and 1,042 patients in total. Many of the patients were given “imitation” acupuncture treatments, while the rest were given real acupuncture. It was found that those who received the legitimate treatment experienced significantly more relief than those who did not.