Acupuncture for Headaches
Acupuncture treatment for headaches will vary according to the type of headache being treated. Headache types in Chinese medicine do not resemble the headache types named in Western Medicine. Acupuncturists treat headaches caused by Liver Yang Rising, Qi or Blood Deficiency, Dampness in the Gall Bladder Channel, and other causes that sound exotic to those of us who are diagnosed with migraine headaches, cluster headaches, and other Western headache designations.
Nevertheless, acupuncture is very successful treating most types of headaches, once they have been properly diagnosed according to Traditional Chinese Medicine.
In many cases acupuncture points used to treat headaches are not located on the head. Points to treat headaches are located all over the body. Needles might be placed along your legs, arms, shoulders, and perhaps even your big toe!
Typical treatments last from 20 to 30 minutes, with the patient being treated one or two times a week. Some symptoms are relieved after the first treatment, while more severe or chronic ailments often require multiple treatments. Usually, the older the condition the longer the course of treatment.
Studies on Acupuncture and Headaches
Since the early seventies, studies have suggested that acupuncture is an effective treatment for migraines and headaches. Recent studies show extremely positive results: Most of these studies have never been translated from the Chinese, however a few English language studies have been done.
In a case study, published in the June 2003 Issue of Medical Acupuncture, doctors found that acupuncture resulted in the resolution or reduction in the frequency and severity of cluster headaches, and a decrease or discontinuation of medications. It was concluded that Acupuncture can be used to provide sustained relief from cluster headaches and to stimulate adrenal cortisol to aid in discontinuing corticosteroids.
A clinical observation, published in a 2002 edition of the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, of 50 patient presenting with various types of headaches were treated with scalp acupuncture. The results of this study showed that 98% of patients treated with scalp acupuncture experienced no headaches or only occasional, mild headaches in the six months following care.
In a study published in the November 1999 issue of Cephalalgia, scientists evaluated the effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of migraines and recurrent headaches by systematically reviewing 22 randomized controlled trials. A total of 1,042 patients were examined. It was found that headache and migraine sufferers experienced significantly more relief from acupuncture than patients who were administered "sham" acupuncture.
CHINESE HERBAL MEDICINE MADE IN USA FOR HEADACHES
ACUPUNCTURE HEADACHE POINTS
LI4 • He Gu • Large Intestine 4 Union Valley. Yuan Source Point on the Large Intestine Channel. Command Point of the Face and Mouth.
Location: On the dorsum of the hand, approximately at the midpoint of the second metacarpal bone, in the belly of the first interosseus dorsalis muscle.
Contraindication: Do Not Needle If Pregnancy is known or suspected
GB20 • Feng Chi • Gall Bladder 20 Wind Pool. Meeting Point on Gall Bladder Channel with the Triple Energizer Channel, Yang Linking and Yang Motility Vessels.
Location: At the posterior head, at the junction of the occipital and nuchal regions, in the depression between the origins of Sternocleidomastoid and Trapezius muscles.
BL10 • Tian Zhu • Bladder 10 Celestial Pillar. Major Window of the Sky Point.
Location: In the nuchal region, on the lateral border of the trapezius muscle, 1.3 cun lateral to GV 15 at the level between cervical vertebrae C1 and C2.
Caution: Do not needle upward toward medulla oblongata.
BL67 • Zhi Yin • Bladder 67 Reaching Yin. Jing Well Point on the Bladder Channel.
Location: On the lateral foot, at the lateral fifth digit, 0.1 cun from the corner of the nailbed.
Contraindication: Do Not Needle If Pregnancy is known or suspected.