A migraine is a debilitating illness suffered by 23 million Americans a year. Typical migraine attacks are one-sided, pulsating or throbbing and are moderate to severe in intensity. Migraines are often associated with nausea and/or vomiting as well as sensitivity to light and sound. The National Center for Health Statistics reports that migraine headaches result in a loss of 30 million work days costing the economy $4.5 billion per year.
There are many factors that can trigger migraine headaches:
- abnormal levels of fat-lipids and fatty acids in the blood
- emotional upset
- inadequate sleep
- certain types of foods and drugs
- hormone replacement therapy
Acupuncture treatments are successful in alleviating symptoms of migraines. The patient is treated by stimulating sensory nerve endings that send impulses through the spinal cord to different areas of the brain, causing both local and central-acting effects. By stimulating specific acupoints, acupuncturists seek to normalize hormonal levels, induce endorphin production for pain relief, promote better sleep quality and stimulate the body to return to homeostasis. As a result, migraines gradually lessen or disappear.
The Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) sees the human body as an integrated being. It works with vital energies inherent within all living things to promote the body’s ability to heal itself. Qi (bioelectric energy) is a vital energy that flows through meridians, pathways that run throughout the entire body. Qi protects the body from illness and provides nourishment to cells, tissues, muscles and organs. During acupuncture treatments, fine, sterile needles are inserted at specific acupoints along these meridians to normalize blood circulation, decrease stress hormones (cortisol) production, promote mind and body relaxation, unblock obstructions and correct imbalance.
According to Eastern holistic medicine, treatment of migraines also requires lifestyle changes:
- Smoke cessation
- Limit caffeine intake
- Massage therapy to relax the body and quiet the mind.