Migraine headaches are a problem that have many roots. Headache itself is not yet a disease in and of itself, but it is the body’s signal that something is not working right. In Chinese Medicine we categorize headaches according to the different ways they present. Different scholars of Classical Chinese Medicine distinguish different numbers of causes for migraine headaches. Over all there are at least 13 patterns of differentiations that may cause headache (Liver Yang Rising, Liver Fire, Liver Wind, Liver Qi Stagnation, Cold in Liver Channel, Dampness, Phlegm, Food Retention, Blood Stasis, Heat in the Stomach organ). These patterns rarely occur alone and are often a combination of two, three or more patterns of disharmony. For example, when onset of migraines happens during peri-menopause, migraine is often a combination of Liver Yang Rising with upward surge of Liver Wind due to general Blood Deficiency and Liver Qi Stagnation. On the other hand, Retention of Food and accumulation of Dampness are often the reason for frontal headaches (felt only in the forehead) due to poor digestion.
This sophisticated outlook on the various causes of headaches and ability to address them on an individual basis renders acupuncture treatments very helpful in the treatment of this condition. The degree to which the patient is able to stop migraines with acupuncture varies from person to person. If the recovery is not 100 %, the relief is at least qualitatively appreciable. Patients are at least able to reduce intake of extremely expensive medications and reduce frequency and intensity of attacks and over time, as other side effects of acupuncture such as improved sleep and reduced stress occur, more improvement is realized.
Chinese Herbs, proper diet and life style adjustments play an important role in the patient’s long-term success and recovery.