How Acupuncture Can Help with Migraines and Headaches


Around 12% of the world’s population suffer from migraines. Many more experience frequent headaches that range from mild to severe. There are various factors, symptoms, and indications that differentiate headaches from migraines. Migraines typically occur at least five times in a given month and last for hours or for days. They can also involve a “trigger,” which sufferers can recognize and feel on localized parts of the head. Headaches, meanwhile, have a frequency and intensity that can be just as terrible as or sometimes even worse than migraines. There is usually no perceivable pattern to when they occur or why.


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How acupuncture could help relieve migraines and headaches

The medical community hasn’t yet arrived at a consensus on what truly causes frequent headaches and migraine attacks. Its opinion is divided as well on whether or not sufferers should seek alternative treatments like traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture, which might better serve their situations. On the other hand, there are organizations made up of people dealing with migraine on a monthly basis who advocate acupuncture. The Migraine Trust and the American Migraine Foundation in particular recommend that members and non-members alike should try acupuncture for their migraines and headaches. These treatments can be an alternative or complement to conventional treatments.


Research results back this up. There had been many clinical trials conducted over the years on whether acupuncture for migraines and headaches could be made an option for sufferers. Several researchers conducted a systematic review of these separate studies. What they found was that making acupuncture an integral part of treatment could significantly reduce the attacks’ frequency per month. As a bonus, there are also fewer side effects, and acupuncture’s overall impact is at least as effective as conventional medications.



The mechanics of acupuncture

It is thought that stimulating the body’s immune and circulatory systems could help root out the main cause of migraines and headaches. Acupuncture can help the body find the source of the pain and could eventually enable it to release natural painkillers. There’s a theory that one of the reasons people suffer chronic pain is that it is unable to perform that painkilling function properly, perhaps because of blocked signals in the brain and body’s pathways.


traditional Chinese medicine
How can acupuncture help restore the balance in your body? Photo via PxHere


You can choose to subscribe to the “meridians” and “energy” concept of acupuncture popularized in the West. You can also subscribe to the more medical Ancient Chinese understanding that these energy pathways are actually the blood vessels, and that this energy is the chemicals being transported through the blood. Whichever one you believe, it doesn’t affect the bottom line. Stimulating specific and individually relevant points along these pathways could have major effects on the human body as a whole.


Pain is the brain’s signal that something is wrong somewhere in your body. While it may manifest as headaches or migraines, the root cause could be another thing altogether. Because of this, holistic healing through acupuncture can prove crucial. It can reduce the pain felt during an attack as well as shorten its duration. It can also address the possible underlying issue that causes these attacks.


Learn about how acupuncture can help treat other common types of body pains.



About Acupuncture in Santa Barbara Herb Clinic



Tram Pham, L.Ac. is the lead acupuncture practitioner and the owner of the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic, formerly run by Dr. Henry Han. She is a proponent of the distal healing technique known as the Balance Method, which she learned from its pioneer and Master Dr. Richard Tan during the last years of his life. In order to help patients achieve their optimal health, she combines this highly effective acupuncture system with other traditional Chinese medicine modalities (such us moxibustion, tui na or acupressure, and fire cupping), as well as with herbal remedies, which are readily available in the clinic’s Herbal Pharmacy.


The clinic also offers long-distance consultations through telephone or video calls. Whether you’re in Santa Barbara or Goleta area or farther away, you can benefit from the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic’s range of herbs, teas, powders, pills and more. We can mail all of these straight to your doorstep.