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Acupuncture Techniques Proven Effective for Headache Relief

May 17, 2020 ● By Lana Moshkovich
acupuncture, headache, migraine, natural health, wellness

Deposit Photos - Photo by Bork

by Lana Moshkovich, LAC, ND, MSOM

Acupuncture is a key component of Chinese medicine that been practiced for thousands of years to treat many health issues. It involves the insertion of very fine, disposable, stainless steel needles into the surface of the skin at specific acupuncture point locations on the body. The goal of acupuncture is to balance the physiological functions of the body to promote and maintain natural health.

In traditional Chinese medicine, it’s believed that natural health issues and conditions develop due to an imbalance or blockage of qi, the flow of energy or life force, through pathways in the body. By inserting the acupuncture needles, a practitioner is able to restore flow and balance, and improve symptoms and overall health and wellness.

Acupuncture can be used as a therapy for many conditions that affect patients, including:

·    Headache or migraines

·    Back or neck pain

·    Osteoarthritis

·    Menstrual cramps

·    Allergies

·    Problems with fertility in women

Acupuncture to Help with Migraines

Approximately 4 percent of adults experience headaches nearly every day. Migraine and tension-type headaches are common headache disorders that result in a reduction in social activities, work capacity and overall wellness.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), biomedicine holds numerous approaches to treating chronic migraine, including the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), analgesic medication, deep breathing exercises, yoga and nerve blocking injections. While there have been research studies associating acupuncture to chronic migraine distinctively, there are extensive studies validating the effectiveness of acupuncture for pain, frequency, and duration of the migraine attacks.

According to a case series demonstrating the treatment of migraine headache in two middle-aged female patients with multilayer symptoms in the Journal of Chinese Medicine, the duration and intensity of the migraine headaches decreased in both patients within the first week of treatment and were resolved by the third month. The first patient reported migraines occurring one to two times per week lasting for up to 10 hours, with a severe stabbing pain rated at eight to 10 on a scale of one to 10 and nausea.

One week after the initial treatment, the patient reported having no migraines during the previous week. This patient's second acupuncture treatment also included taking a prescribed herbal formula and reported no migraines by the end of the second week. The second patient reported migraine episodes lasting three to four months, during which the migraines occurred daily, normally beginning in the morning and lasting approximately four to five hours. This patient reported a significant decrease in migraine symptoms following her first treatment. By the second week, headache frequency had decreased by 50 percent, headache duration had decreased by 40 percent, and headache intensity had decreased by nearly 75 percent.

This case series illustrated the successful treatment of chronic migraines that were unresolved following traditional interventions. This case series supports the use of acupuncture and herbal supplement as a Chinese medicine alternative for the treatment of chronic migraine.

NIH suggests the practice of yoga as a biomedical approach to the treatment of chronic migraine. This relaxation technique attempts to produce the body's natural relaxation response, characterized by a slower respiratory rate and lower blood pressure, and an increased feeling of well-being. Yoga has been studied to assess whether it might be of value in managing various health conditions and overall wellness. More specifically, Advanced Biomedical Research conducted a case study on the effects of 12-week yoga training on headache frequency, severity and duration of female migraine episodes. Thirty-two patients were divided into two groups; the control group received only medication for 12 weeks and the yoga group was placed in a yoga training program that consisted of three sessions per week in additional to the same medical treatment.

When comparing results from the yoga and control group after 12 weeks, the yoga group showed a greater reduction in headache severity, frequency and headache impact on the patients' lives. However, changes in the control group were not significant. Although the reduction of duration of headache was not found to be significant in this research study, yoga was beneficial on other migraine parameters, including frequency and intensity of the episodes. This research study depicted that yoga releases tension and pain, as well as loosening tight muscles that can trigger headaches.

Dr. Lana Moshkovich, DACM, LAc, at Nirvana Naturopathics, in Deerfield, specializes in acupuncture for the treatment of pain, acne, and aging (cosmetic acupuncture). To schedule a consultation, call 847-250-9432 or visit


Allen, J., Deng, Y., & Langland, J. (2016). Treatment of Chronic Refractory Migraine with Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine: A Case Series. Journal of Chinese Medicine,110(February), 36-40.

Javanmard, S., Boroujeni, M., Marandi, S., Esfarjani, F., Sattar, M., & Shaygannejad, V. (2015). Yoga intervention on blood NO in female migraines. Advanced Biomedical Research Adv Biomed Res, 4(1), 1-7.

Alecrim-Andrade, Diener, Linde, Melchart, Streng, Woolhouse (2010). Acupuncture Analgesia in Clinical Practice. In Acupuncture therapy for neurological diseases a neurobiological view (pp. 169-171).Beijing, China: Springer.

Nirvana Naturopathics - Deerfield IL

Nirvana Naturopathics - Deerfield, IL

We use acupuncture to help you get immediate relief from acute or chronic pain. Combining Western and Chinese Medicine, we can treat and resolve insomnia, anxiety and women's health issue... Read More » 

Lana Moshkovich Discusses Natural Headache Relief (video courtesy of Nirvana Naturopathics)