Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and acupuncture can be very effective in treating headaches and migraines. For example, acupuncture can often relieve the pain within minutes.
Within TCM, a headache has two parts, the cause and also the symptoms. The headache itself may only be a symptom, caused by a problem in another part of the body. This is because the head depends on other parts of the body to be functioning well.
When internal or external factors interfere with the flow of energy to and from the head, restrict the flow of blood or disturb the nutrient supply to the head, headaches will occur. TCM recognises these imbalances, which may include disharmony of the liver system, kidney deficiency or poor energy flow.
The first thing to recognise is that the causes and the symptoms of headaches can be very different. A proper diagnosis needs to address the imbalances and disturbances of the entire body. The treatment then needs to be tailored specifically for each individual.
The TCM approach to relieving a headache or migraine focuses on the whole body. A combination of TCM therapies may be used.
1) Acupuncture is the most common treatment. Acupuncture does no harm, is deeply relaxing and stimulates the self healing of the body. Weekly visits may be required to steadily reduce the number and the intensity of the headaches.
2) Chinese herbal medicine is typically used in conjunction with acupuncture to reduce the pain and frequency of headaches, and naturally balance the body.
3) The hectic pace of modern life can be a reason for headaches. Reducing stress, anxiety and tension is an important part of healing this condition. Regular physical exercise, calming activities, a therapeutic massage and rest can be helpful techniques.
4) Dietary therapy is important in TCM. Food is considered to be a part of the medicine which can benefit the overall health. An individual diet plan may involve reducing fatty foods, alcohol, caffeine or sugar to improve the symptoms. Drinking more water daily will reduce dehydration.
6) TCM is drug free. For example, overuse of the common painkiller paracetamol/tylenol is toxic and damages the liver function. TCM is a safer alternative.
With the right combination of these treatments and a strong commitment to their improved health, most people will respond well to the Chinese medical treatment of headaches and migraines.