As any sufferer will tell you, migraines and other types of headache can be extremely debilitating, and can often lead to absense from work.  Migraine is one of the three most common health conditions in the world, and yet it isn't particularly well understood or treated (all pharmacological treatments are associated with adverse side effects).  Recent trials have suggested that acupuncture is at least as beneficial as prophylactic drug treatment for migraine, and with fewer side-effects (click here for more information).

In my experience, I find the combination of tuina massage and acupuncture to be very helpful for these conditions.

What to expect from an acupuncture treatment for headache/migraine

I usually start by taking a detailed medical history, which may reveal clues about the cause of the problem.  For example, some women find that migraines are triggered by their menstrual cycle, in which case 'regulating the cycle' (as it is known in Chinese medicine) must be considered during the treatment.  There is very commonly neck, shoulder, and other muscular tension, and reducing this with acupuncture and massage is often one of the keys to success.

Seated tuina massage to relieve neck tension and palpate (feel) for areas that may need further attention.

Seated tuina massage to relieve neck tension and palpate (feel) for areas that may need further attention.

When there is extensive muscular tightness, I often use other techniques such as cupping (see below) to increase blood flow and loosen things up.

'Fire cupping' being used to relax the large muscle groups in the 'Bladder channel' (from the Chinese medicine perspective).

'Fire cupping' being used to relax the large muscle groups in the 'Bladder channel' (from the Chinese medicine perspective).

Then, depending on my findings from the intake and physical assessment, I select acupuncture points that I feel are most appropriate for the individual patient.  This will often vary from patient to patient, even when the headache/migraine seems very similar to someone else's.  The treatment will also vary from appointment to appointment, based on a number of factors.

Acupuncture on the point Hegu LI-4.

Acupuncture on the point Hegu LI-4.

Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions, or if you'd like to make an appointment in one of my Bristol clinics.