Have you tried acupuncture for headaches?
If not, you’re about to meet a drug-free treatment option that could reduce the stress and discomfort of tension type headaches, cluster headaches, chronic migraines and more.
Approximately three quarters of adults aged 18–65 worldwide have experienced a headache in the last year, with 30% or more enduring a migraine. Unfortunately, Australian researchers estimate that 87% of Aussies may have experienced headaches in the last year.
If you’re all too familiar with headaches yourself, let’s look at how acupuncture can naturally assist with headache symptoms, pain relief, and bringing your body back into balance.
Acupuncture For Treating Headaches
Acupuncture is a 3,000 year old therapy that helps restore the harmonious flow of energy around the body.
It works by stimulating acupuncture points along meridians (energetic highways) and involves the insertion of skinny needles into special pressure points. This triggers the release of therapeutic chemicals, via the central nervous system, into the muscles, brain and spinal cord.
Pain, from an acupuncturist’s perspective, is the result of blocked energy; therefore, restoring the positive energy flow along meridians helps to reduce pain signals and encourage wellbeing. It’s interesting to note that acupuncture has been endorsed by the World Health Organization as a promising therapy for pain relief since 1979.
Acupuncture Benefits For Headaches
Acupuncture can benefit headaches and migraines, with studies regularly showing a positive correlation between the condition and therapy. In fact, one research paper stated the following when discussing headaches:
“It [acupuncture] is at least as effective as prophylactic drug therapy, has longer lasting effects, is safe, seems to be cost-effective and reduces drug intake with possibly severe unwanted effects.”
The benefits of acupuncture include reducing the pain associated with:
- tension headaches
- sinus headaches
- cluster headaches
- medication-overuse headaches
- headaches that result from head injuries, and more.
Regular acupuncture for headache treatments could result in:
- fewer headaches and migraine attacks
- comparable efficacy to several drug therapies for the treatment and prevention of migraines
- less reliance on pain medications, including steroidal anti inflammatory drugs
- enhanced wellbeing in structures located in the head, such as the blood vessels, nerves and muscles
- improved quality of life.
Whether you use acupuncture for tension headaches, or a less common type of headache, it’s clear the benefits of this allied health service can result in a greater sense of comfort and contentment.
How Can Acupuncture Treat Headaches?
When acupuncture needles are inserted into certain meridian points, they instigate the release of feel-good hormones and other chemicals that benefit the immune and circulatory systems.
Depending on the type of headache you experience, a different set of acupuncture meridian points may be used. This results in a personalised treatment that incorporates Traditional Chinese Medicine principles, which form the basis of acupuncture theory. It’s a little complicated, but let’s look at a few types of headache patterns from an acupuncturist’s perspective.
Originate from outside the body and are usually related to pathogens. These types of headaches are often accompanied by fever, chills, sweating and muscle aches.
Originate from imbalances within the body’s organs and internal energies, such as:
→ Liver Qi Stasis: This type of headache gives one sided pain that is dull, comes and goes, and is exacerbated by stress.
→ Liver Yang: This occurs when your yin (soft, cool, moist) and yang (hard, warm, dry) energies are imbalanced. These headaches are often quite painful, and may present with pressing pain, dizziness and vertigo. Migraines often fit into this category.
→ Blood Stasis: This headache results in a prolonged, fixed, stabbing pain. Patients often require medical assistance when this type of headache occurs.
Acupuncture For Headaches Treatment Outcomes
As you can see, acupuncture can bring positive outcomes for different types of headaches. While the treatment protocol may look different for each person, the principle of using acupuncture to improve energy flow and reduce the pain associated with headaches is constant.
The best treatment outcomes usually involve other dietary and lifestyle modifications, such as:
- Stress reduction practices, such as yoga and meditation
- Decreasing caffeine intake
- Reviewing the ergonomics of your environment
- Treating pre-existing health conditions.
Combining these factors with your acupuncture sessions is the best way to feel happier, healthier and free from the pain of headaches.If you’re keen to try acupuncture as a remedy for your headaches, Avaana can help you find a trusted Acupuncturist near you.