Acupuncture Effective treatment for Migraines

Acupuncture can help treat migraines and it is a safe and effective way to get them under control. We have been treating migraines for years at the Acupuncture Lounge here in Denver with a great deal of success.  Headaches and migraines are one of the most common health concerns we treat at our community clinic. 

To understand how acupuncture helps migraine sufferers, you have to understand that in traditional Chinese medicine, it is believed that an imbalance in the flow of blood and energy causes this to happen.

Once of the core philosophies in Chinese medicine, is that there are 12 main organ systems in the body and each one has a particular function. The organs include: heart, liver, lungs, kidneys, small and large intestines, bladder, gall bladder, pericardium, San Jiao, spleen, stomach.

 Attached to these 12 organ systems are their corresponding meridians.  These meridians flow from the organ systems and are found throughout the body, including the arms and legs.  They also go up into the head. The run bilaterally.  I think to think of it as high way system. 

Qi, is what flows through the meridians, and qi is the vital force of life, that exists all around our body and in our meridians and is the principles tool we use when doing acupuncture. 

There are acupuncture points are found along the meridians.  There are hundreds of points throughout the whole body.  It is the acupuncture points that are stimulated to help heal the body.  This stimulation can be through the hands like used during tuina or acupuncture needles, estim, cupping, and tuning forks.  There are many ways to stimulate these points and there are certain ways to work with the points as well.

The direction of the insertion of the needle is important as well that the direction that you spin the needle once it is inserted effects the treatment. Your acupuncturist might place the needle going the same direction as the flow of qi in the meridian or it may go against the flow.

The needle can be twisted to right to help strengthen the function of the acupuncture point or counter clockwise to remove stagnation in the meridian. 

Any time there is pain in the body we think of it as stagnation along these meridians. So we use acupuncture points clear the stagnation and particular manipulation for the needles for optimal treatments. 

When we are treating headaches and migraines with acupuncture, we begin by asking the patient to describe the onset and location of the pain. This will help us identify what meridians and organs systems are involved. Then we will insert tiny needles it the appropriate points to help rebalance the energy of those channels.

Often times migraines start in the back of the head, and when this happens this is often associated as a stress headache and for this type of migraine it is important to treat the muscles of the neck and shoulders to loosen muscle tightness.

Another common migraine we see involves the temples or eyes, when this occurs the liver organ system is involved and we will use points along the liver meridian to treat this type of pain. 

When it is around the forehead the stomach organ system is involved and we will use the stomach meridian to treat this type of migraine. 

Migraines can also be caused by muscle tension, In order to treat it, the acupuncturist will insert needles into the muscles that are involved usually around the neck and shoulder area, to relax the muscles thus reducing the pain experienced during an attack.

When treating migraine takes time.  Please remember this when you get started with acupuncture, we recommend once a week for 6-8 weeks then monthly to keep the migraines in check.  You should feel a shift after the first few sessions you have. Your body will feel more relaxed and if it is associated with muscle tension, then your body should start to feel more relaxed after the first few sessions.

When you get acupuncture, it should feel comfortable. You should not feel a lot of pain.  You might feel the acupuncture needles when they go into the body, but afterwards you will should feel slight tingling sensation or nothing at all.  

If you ever feel uncomfortable during an acupuncture session let your practitioner know because it should be a please experience. 

Once your needles are in the appropriate acupuncture points, you will rest for 20-30 minutes to allow the acupuncture to remove the stagnation that has built up in the meridians and is causing your migraines. 

After your session, remember to drink lots of water and take it easy. 

The end result of undergoing acupuncture is amazing. We have seen incredible results using acupuncture to treat migraines and headaches. People who have had migraines for years are no migraine free. Others who have had migraines monthly for years don’t experience them any longer. 

 Acupuncture can help diminish the amount of episodes one has or the intensity. It can really reduce how long they last and how intense they feel. 

During your treatment plan you will begin to experience a reduction in the quantity and intensity of the migraines.  They will become less and less. 

The best part about acupuncture is that there are no side effects and it is painless. It is a natural way to help you feel better.  With some many people addicted to pain killers and the side effects of so many medication it is such a blessing to have an incredible alternative that works so well. 

Aside from acupuncture, it is helpful to understand some lifestyle changes that could triggers that have been known to cause migraines. Stress is number one on the list so you get enough rest and exercise as well as a balanced diet.

Know what are your personal triggers, chocolate? Stress? Staying up late?  Certain foods?  It is helpful to understand what makes them worse so you can avoid it.

Acupuncture can be a real helpful solution to a problem that effects so many people.  If you have any questions please reach out to us and we can help. 


Sylvia Salcedo