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Acupuncture: A Holistic Approach for Migraine Relief

If you suffer from headaches like I do, you may be searching for alternative treatments versus the prescription bottle. Migraines are severe, throbbing headaches that may or may not be accompanied by visual disturbances, nausea, dizziness and other symptoms. They are vascular in nature, involving excessive dilation or contraction of the brain’s blood vessels. Migraine headaches may occur anywhere from once a week to once or twice a year, and they often run in families. I tend to get migraines along with tension headaches that give me a double whammy of pain. Migraines have no age barriers, but the most common ages are between twenty and thirty-five. They usually decline with age, however children get migraines as well.

My experience with headaches —

With me, migraines come in a pattern, phases so to speak. Before the onset of pain, I feel changes of mood, sensory changes and even problems with memory. Just before the headache I tend to get an aura, consisting of patterns of light and a heighten sensitivity to sounds. From there the headache starts with severe, throbbing pain on one side of my head. Some people get them bilaterally and they sometimes move from side to side. Nausea sets in until the migraine dissipates. This entire ordeal makes me feel fatigued, lethargic and yearning for sleep. With my sensitivity to medicines, drugs are not an option and I prefer to find a natural method of pain relief. I have tried a plethora of nutritional supplements, hot and cold packs and the use of magnets with some success. In my research I have read about acupuncture as an adjunct therapy and although I have not tried it myself, it seems promising and something I plan to engage in the near future.

How acupuncture may help with migraines —

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice based on the belief that health is determined by qi (pronounced chee) that is energy that flows through every living being. This energy is thought to flow through the body along pathways called meridians, each linking to a specific organ. If something obstructs the flow, various problems including pain can set in. This alternative treatment must be performed by a practitioner who specializes in Oriental Medicine. In the United States, acupuncture is used widely to relieve pain, including backaches and migraines.

During treatment, hair-like needles are placed into the skin superficially on specific points along the meridian pathway. These needles are placed in many places, not just the head and face. Through the method of acupuncture, congestion is cleared via stimulation, allowing energy to flow freely into these meridian areas. This altering of biochemical and physiological changes can reduce pain and lets healing occur. The process of acupuncture can be used as an analgesic, a sedative and a muscle relaxant. Some patients feel relief with only one treatment where others may need a series of sessions.

The bottom line —“While not a cure-all, acupuncture is remarkably effective when used in conjunction with other therapies, such as diet, herbs and homeopathy,” states Gary Null, Ph.D. in his book, The Complete Encyclopedia of Natural Healing. Research claims that acupuncture stimulates the production of endorphins, which are the body’s own painkillers. Dr. Null also explains that the Chinese believe that a single symptom, like headache pain, is a result of wider problems, hence the entire body needs to be treated. Why not try this holistic approach to see if it can relieve and even prevent your migraines?