What is the Main Reason for Migraines?
Research studies show that acupuncture is wildly successful in the treatment of migraines. A recent systematic review of 22 clinical studies with 4985 participants showed that acupuncture reduced migraines by 50% in 69% of the individuals and that effect lasted more than 6 months. That is incredibly encouraging since Western medicine unfortunately has very few tools to treat the common migraine.
In Western medicine thinking, migraines are triggered from a number of factors, stress being one of them. The triggers tend to be more difficult to manage for people with irregular serotonin levels. The trigger causes a wave of electrical activity through the brain, the serotonin level surges as well in a similar wave fashion, the result is a decrease in serotonin that causes blood vessels to be irritated resulting pain.
From a Chinese medicine lens, the patient feels stress in the body, the energy of the body gets disrupted and creates an imbalance in the flow, that energy then run through the meridians in a reckless way causing pressure which obviously results in pain. The organ systems involved with migraines is usually the Liver and Gall Bladder, there are other scenarios but this is the most common. The Liver is the organ that deals with metabolizing stress so to speak, when there is overwhelm, the Liver gets sort of backed up and it’s overflow the Gall Bladder takes over. The Gall Bladder meridian is where most migraines take place, on one side of the head, around the temple and ear.
What is the Best Natural Treatment for Migraines?
Avoiding Certain Foods
Migraines have so many triggers, alcohol being a big one, in addition to that things like nitrates in food, cheese (because of tyramine), processed foods, cold foods and MSG. Did you know that citric acid can also be an issue because of when it is processed the remaining protein results in processed free glutamic acid, which is MSG. So read your labels, it almost seems like citric acid is in everything these days.
Grab Some Feverfew
Although we don’t specialize in American herbalism here at Tao to Wellness, there are a few key American herbs like Feverfew that we recommend. Feverfew looks a little like a daisy and is a folk remedy for treatment migraines.
The Magic of Magnesium
Magnesium is exactly that, magic! It’s a necessary factor in around 300 different systems in the body and so many of us are deficient. We love magnesium for deeper sleep, leg cramps, constipation and of course migraines, menstrual migraines really responds to magnesium and it can also help with menstrual cramps as well.
Meditation is the Way
Meditation is a remedy for just about any illness, discomfort or disease. Relaxing the mind, enhancing the amygdala, relaxing the muscles from head to toe. Meditation is no longer for soul seekers or Buddhists it’s really for everyone.
Acupuncture in the Treatment of Migraines
Our favorite way to treat migraines when they are full force or better yet, our favorite way to prevent them is with Acupuncture and here’s why. Western medicine treatments offered are only a temporary band aid to mask the pain, OTC NSAIDs initially and when that doesn’t work prescription pills, beta blockers and sometimes antidepressants. The world of Chinese medicine has much more to offer, acupuncture being the number one modality but number two being Chinese herbal medicine. Another thing to remember is that we are not only treating the problem, we are treating the entire body, rebalancing it and preventing future migraines. This is really key, because when a patients stops taking the Western medications listed above, the symptoms will return, nothing has necessarily been healed. With Chinese medicine, we are healing the body. A great metaphor is when a tree has a sick or diseased branch you can prune it back, but you also need to treat the roots of that tree so that the tree will grow beautifully. We think of the body like that, the migraine representing the branch and the roots representing the whole body. One needs to treat both the root and branch.