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How Does Acupuncture Treat Migraines and Headaches?

Migraine is a neurological disorder that, according to the Migraine Research Foundation, is the world’s eighth most debilitating condition. One of the most prevalent forms of vascular headaches is tension headache. Severe pain on one or both sides of the head, an upset stomach, and occasionally blurred vision are the most common symptoms of a headache. According to the National Headache Foundation, only around 12% of the population is affected by this neurological condition. This affects around 40 million individuals in the United States, with women three times more likely than men to suffer from migraines.

It’s easy to mock a 2000-year-old treatment that resembles magic more than science. Indeed, the skeptic’s point of view was comprehensible from the 1970s to roughly 2005, because scientific data to indicate that acupuncture worked and why was lacking, and clinical studies were tiny and of poor quality.

Things have drastically changed since then. We have the beginnings of a solid foundation for truly understanding the effectiveness of acupuncture thanks to the development of valid placebo controls (for example, a retractable “sham” device that looks like an acupuncture needle but does not penetrate the skin) and the publication of several large and well-designed clinical trials in the last decade.

How Acupuncture Helps Alleviate Pain?

Acupuncture is the insertion of small needles into the skin at specific places. The body’s natural pain-relieving hormones are stimulated, as well as the body’s capacity to heal itself. TCM practitioners believe that specific organs and bodily locations correspond to acupuncture sites, and that the energy flowing through these places can become obstructed or unbalanced.

These dots correlate to extraordinarily dense micro-clusters of blood arteries, according to modern CT scans. Acupuncture’s success in treating painful illnesses like migraines is thought to be due to the stimulation of these energy points.

Acupuncture for Migraines

Although the specific mechanism remains unknown, there is some evidence that acupuncture lowers the frequency of migraines in patients. In essence, we know that acupuncture may excite the body by pure mechanics, causing a cascade of pain-relieving endorphins to be released, which can have an influence on pain syndromes. Acupuncture may also cause a circulatory or immunological alteration that alleviates migraine symptoms in certain circumstances. Some experts feel that direct stimulation of brain circuits is the most effective technique to reduce pain. Overall, further study is needed to pinpoint the precise mechanism of migraine relief.

When migraines are brought on by stress or muscular tension, acupuncture can disrupt the trigger points in the muscles, resulting in muscle relaxation and a reduction in migraine or headache symptoms. In reality, when performed by a qualified practitioner, acupuncture has a good safety profile, with few side effects observed. Acupuncture may be a valuable non-drug option for migraine patients, perhaps lowering the risk of opiate or substance misuse.

Overall, studies demonstrate that acupuncture is effective at reducing the frequency of migraine headaches and that it is better tolerated than medicines since it has fewer known negative effects. A great introduction to acupuncture and migraines may be found in this recent review article. This article examines key referenced source publications that demonstrate acupuncture’s superior effects in the treatment of migraines.

5 Reasons Why Acupuncture is What You Need

Blood Circulation:

Blood circulation is improved with acupuncture. There is a lack of healthy blood flow and oxygen in your body, which causes discomfort. This applies to migraines just as much as it does to any other sort of discomfort. Acupuncture improves blood circulation, increasing the quantity of oxygen delivered to the tissues.

Pain Relief

Acupuncture has been shown to help people with migraines. People seek acupuncture for a variety of reasons, but the most common purpose is to relieve pain. Acupuncture treatments have been shown in thousands of studies to effectively relieve and reduce pain in both acute and chronic pain. When acupuncture and chiropractic therapy are combined, the outcomes can be immediate and even longer-lasting.


Inflammation is reduced with acupuncture. While migraines are not totally understood, most specialists believe that any headache triggers an inflammatory reaction in the body. Acupuncture encourages the release of anti-inflammatory vascular and immune-mediating substances.


Serotonin levels can be reduced by acupuncture. The chemical serotonin is produced by the body. Many scientists and neurologists believe that serotonin is involved in migraine onset. Acupuncture can assist to normalize serotonin levels throughout time since it can be used as a preventative medication. As a result, you may experience fewer migraine attacks.

Symptoms of Migraine:

Migraine symptoms can be relieved by acupuncture. Acupuncture can be used to treat both pain and the symptoms of migraines. Studies have shown that frequent treatments help lessen symptoms including nausea, dizziness, and vomiting.

Is Acupuncture Safe? 

You may be confident that all safety precautions are strictly followed when you get acupuncture treatments provided by a medically licensed acupuncturist who is also a physician. Acupuncture has relatively minimal danger, especially when administered by a knowledgeable and skilled clinician.

According to a 2014 scientific journal article, acupuncture has improved people’s lives throughout the decades since it was first utilized as a supplemental treatment in Western medicine. In 2012, a meta-analysis examined data from 18,000 individuals who participated in 23 randomized controlled studies that tested acupuncture for pain problems including headaches. Acupuncture was shown to be an effective form of pain alleviation.

Remember, It’s not a cure! 

Acupuncture can not guarantee that you will never experience another migraine attack. It might help you experience fewer episodes each month and is an important part of your overall treatment strategy. It’s helpful to know what to expect before starting therapy. The truth is that if you suffer from migraines to the point that they interfere with your daily activities, you have nothing to lose by trying acupuncture. It’s risk-free, and it could just work for you.

Final Thoughts

Migraines can be brought on by a variety of circumstances, including stress, a lack of sleep, too much coffee, or a hormonal imbalance. By lowering pain, inflammation, and neck muscular tension, acupuncture has been shown to be useful in treating migraine symptoms and restoring bodily balance. It also aids in the regulation of serotonin levels in the brain and promotes relaxation. Speak to one of our trained acupuncturists immediately if you wish to control your migraines naturally.

About Us

Balance Within integrates Acupuncture, Massage Therapy, and Chiropractic to treat physical and mental conditions using a holistic approach and traditional chinese medicine.  We treat many health issues without the use of harsh chemicals.

Acupuncture works for many health problems, but it does not treat all health issues.

Browse our articles and conditions treated pages to see which health issues are effectively treated by Balance Within Integrative Acupuncture.

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