For every 10 people who come to an acupuncturist with a migraine headache, there are most likely 10 different reasons behind this debilitating symptomology. Rather than treating all migraines in the same way, acupuncturists do a thorough diagnosis of each individual, and synthesize a treatment specific to that person's particular imbalance. This is one of the reasons that acupuncturists have such good results with migraine headaches.
Migraines in Five Element Acupuncture
Though there are a number of different imbalances that lead to migraines, most migraines involve a Wood element imbalance. On a physical level, the Wood element corresponds to the muscles and the eyes. One channel of the Wood element traverses the head, traveling up the neck to the occiput, then zigzagging across the sides of the skull to end at the temples. On the mental/emotional level, the Wood element deals with planning and decision making, which can be major factors in the onset of migraines. When a plan of ours is not going as we had envisioned, the Wood element will oftentimes be the element that bears the brunt of the stress, causing frustration and anger. If these emotions are allowed to grow within us, the stress that they cause rises to the head causing headaches, and sometimes migraines. Although there are many cause for migraines, this kind of Wood element imbalance is almost always one piece of the puzzle. Acupuncture serves to clear the stagnation in the channels of the Wood element, as well as balance any systemic imbalances that are at the root of the pain. After only a few treatments, most people notice a significant difference in the frequency and intensity of their migraines. With consistent treatment, it is not uncommon for people to find complete relief from their pain.
Along with acupuncture, there are also simple lifestyle shifts that can be used to supplement and support your treatments, and help to decrease the frequency and intensity of migraines. The simplest one is to drink enough water, as a major factor in many headaches and migraines is dehydration.
Learn the Symptom Progression
Another method is to observe your body, and learn the progression of symptoms that lead up to your migraines. For example, it could be that first you notice tension in your chest and neck, then mild nausea, then perhaps a mild headache, and then finally a full blown migraine. Symptom progressions are different for everyone, but the ability to know and acknowledge the first symptom in the progression can be useful in preventing the migraine from getting worse. For example, if the first symptom is a tightness in your chest, when you notice a tightness in your chest you might stop what you are doing, take a few deep breaths, and consciously try to relax your chest. You might alternately, if possible, take a walk, as movement can be an excellent way to release tension in your system. This method can also be extended to include emotional discomfort. For example, if you notice that you are beginning to get frustrated with your partner or a co-worker, the ability to notice this and take a few deep breaths or step outside for a walk can be excellent preventative care. As a buildup of stress is an intrinsic factor in many migraines, the ability to notice stress when it begins and know how to diffuse it immediately is invaluable in taking control of your symptoms. Progressive relaxation or meditation techniques are also great tools for this purpose.
Diet and Supplements
There are also some simple diet shifts that can help with decreasing the frequency and intensity of migraine symptoms. In his book, "Healing with Whole Foods", Paul Pitchford recommends reducing or entirely cutting out caffeine and white sugar, as well as adding a fish oil supplement to your diet. Magnesium and spirulina are also potentially helpful supplements. For dosage, follow the directions on the bottle. Diet shifts can take time to help, so it's recommended to try anything for at least one month before deciding whether the change is effective or not.
To learn more about how acupuncture can help in the treatment of migraine headaches, feel free to contact us using our Contact Form or take a look at the resources section below. For more information about acupuncture in general, take a look at About Acupuncture or How Acupuncture Works. You can also read About Eastern Medicine or Five Element Theory. To learn more about Wisdom Traditions Acupuncture, see About Us or take a look at Our Philosophy. You can now also Schedule an Appointment Online.