Migraines & Headaches

If you have heard that acupuncture is an incredibly powerful tool in the treatment of migraine headaches you have absolutely heard right. However, this is only part of the story. Expert practitioners of Chinese medicine, have the capability of complimenting the acupuncture treatments with other Chinese Medicine modalities such as herbal medicine and Tui Na message manipulations. In this way, the treatments are much more effective with lasting results.
In recent years, the proven research results on the effectiveness of acupuncture in the long term treatment of migraine headaches have reformed the medical community’s perception. They have been shocked by how effectively this traditional form of therapy can make chronic headaches disappear, and impressively with no side effects. This is much different to the use of modern medication that can only try to control the condition, and poorly in many instances. To be fair, we should not down play the amazing benefits of modern drugs and the research of outstanding individuals that have shed so much light in developing a proper understanding of this affliction. In the meantime, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture still stands at the pinnacle.

Of all the migraine treatments you could use, acupuncture for migraines is the least invasive, and has virtually no side effects.

Now let’s discuss some of the common important questions and demystify the treatments. My approach is first and foremost holistic. This does not imply alternative, but it just means that I treat the entire person as a whole. We will go through an entire process of examination to evaluate you and come up with a proper diagnosis. We also have to go through all the dos and don’ts, from diet, to exercise to nutrition and supplements. Realistically, most people that come to me are taking too many things or are following a diet plan that is just wrong for their constitution. It is not uncommon for individuals that come to me having gone through many alternative therapies, including naturopathy or chiropractic, or have had acupuncture by the same people with little benefit. I cannot emphasize how important proper diagnosis and a correct treatment plan are in dealing with migraines.

I aim to provide the most complete treatment strategy available.
As for the treatments, I am an absolute believer in the total protocol of Traditional Chinese Medicine that combines herbs, acupuncture, diet, exercises –which might include meditation-, and life style modifications.
I completely respect personal wishes and tolerances, and your treatment plan will be one that you are comfortable with. For instance, many find the benefits of acupuncture so overwhelming that they decide to hold off on herbal medicine, while others have so little time for acupuncture treatments because of work and travel that they solely rely on herbal medicine and dietary advice. The key is that you get the best treatment and the migraines disappear.

What is the general time line and what can I expect?
How many treatments does it usually take? 8 to 12 weekly acupuncture treatments are very normal. Depending on the seriousness of the migraines, it is advisable to receive more treatments in the first two weeks to bring the condition under control. In several cases, especially with complicated medical conditions the treatment will go on longer. The bright side is that amazingly, people who were initially hesitant to try acupuncture look forward to their treatments, because they find the experience very relaxing and peaceful. 
Does the treatment help other conditions aside for the migraines? Yes, most women realize that their PMS and menstrual cramps disappear, they find that they are less stressed, the digestion is better and some notice an improvement in memory. Again, this is the benefit of receiving a holistic treatment that treats the root and the manifestation.

Food for thought
For your interest I have compiled a list for your consideration when looking for migraine triggers. Unfortunately an allergy test is not enough, so before you find the next best thing to take for your headache you need to recognize what not to take.


Common foods to avoid:
Wine & Alcohol
Dairy: Milk, Cheese, Yogurt
Fermented foods: pickles, vinegar
Artificial food additives: colourings, sweeteners, flavourings, preservatives
Diet drinks
Cold cuts and processed foods
Smoked foods: bacon, smoked fish
Common migraine triggers:
Lack of sleep
Hunger or overeating
Poor air quality and lack of oxygen
Lighting quality
Medication overuse causing rebound headaches
Cigarette smoke and recreational drugs: marijuana
Written by Sarkis Makarians