Is acupuncture an effective treatment for migraines and other types of headaches? If you were to ask acupuncture practitioners around the world you would hear a resounding “Yes!” In the United States, headaches and migraines plague an immense percentage of the population. The goal of both conventional Western medicine and traditional Chinese medicine is to relieve pain and enable individuals to function well in their lives. While the ultimate goal is the same, the diagnostic paradigm and treatment modalities of these two types of medicine are fundamentally different. While pain killers are commonly prescribed to individuals to help numb the pain, many of these drugs have side effects and do not provide a long-term sustainable solution.

In traditional Chinese medicine, headaches are caused by a number of conditions, patterns or dysfunctions- common cases include a deficiency of blood so that the meridians aren’t properly nourished; a deficiency of Chi, which prevents Chi and Yang from circulating properly; and a blockage of the meridians by external pathogenic factors. Research and studies show that acupuncture can bring about many biochemical changes in the body:

  • Serotonin: Scientists have found that low serotonin levels make people more vulnerable to headaches. The release of serotonin is achieved with acupuncture to help benefit patients
  • Endorphin: Endorphins are natural pain killers in the body. Dr. Jisheng Han, a world-renowned professor, discovered endorphin-type neuropeptides. Stimulation from acupuncture needles have shown to release endorphins in the central nervous system
  • Acetylcholinesterase (Ach) Serum Magnesium and Endogenous Opioid System changes are also a result of acupuncture stimulation

At TCM Health Center we see patients who suffer from migraine headaches, tension beaches, cluster headaches, post-traumatic headaches, and disease-related headaches (associated with sinus problems, TMJ, stroke, high blood pressure, or sleeping disorders). Acupuncture, often times paired with Chinese herbs, have shown to produce long-term sustainable effects for patients who seek treatment.

If you have any further questions about acupuncture treatment for headaches and migraines, please feel free to give any one of our locations a call to schedule an initial consultation. We look forward to hearing from you!

I’ve had migraines for 17 years. It got so bad that there would be days when I would have to lock myself in my room and sit in the dark. I couldn’t keep my job anymore. My day was a mix between a migraine and a headache. I tried medications of all sorts to and multitudes of them. It got to a point where my doctor told me that I had rebound headaches caused by my excessive consumption of medication. She recommended I seek acupuncture to help me taper down the medication. With treatment, I began having good days. And slowly the good days increased and the bad days decreased. Two months after my first treatment I decided I could handle returning to my full time jobs. I told the doctor I wanted to stay with her for the rest of my life. But she explained how acupuncture wasn’t like a pain pill- there were long term effects. With this in mind, I slowly decreasing my treatment times from three treatments a week cut down to twice a week to once a week to once every other week. I head back once every few months if I feel a little extra stressed or worried- but it’s been amazing.
— Jim F.