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Acupuncture treatment for migraines

Migraines are a severe form of headache where you may experience symptoms such as severe pulsating pain, sensitivity to sound and light, and nausea. It can last several hours or days, negatively affecting your daily life. People with migraines can experience frequent attacks, which are often very exhausting and difficult to treat. There are many reasons why people get migraines, including genetics, hormonal changes, stress, dietary factors and environmental influences. Migraines are mostly treated with medication, lifestyle changes and alternative therapies such as acupuncture and massage. 

No migraines are the same, which is why they require an individualized approach based on the symptoms and triggers you have. In this blog post, I talk about my first experience with acupuncture treatment for my migraines and what I can do going forward.

First acupuncture treatment for migraines

I have suffered from migraines and tension headaches most of my life and have been taking migraine medication since 2024 to stop my migraines, but I have never been a fan of taking medication in general. So when Yuan offered me an acupuncture treatment for my migraines, I accepted the offer, even though I'm actually afraid of needles. 

I experienced tension when she placed the needles on specific points on my feet and legs, which I felt through both my legs. The needle she placed in my left temple didn't trigger as much tension, but I could feel that it helped with the tension from the migraines. Overall, I could feel the acupuncture starting to relieve my migraines, but it didn't go away completely and I still had tension in my head, neck and shoulders. I wondered why it hadn't gone away completely, as I expected the migraine to go away immediately after the acupuncture and later in the day I had to take medication due to the persistent pain. Acupuncture is considered to be a promising alternative treatment method in the Western world according to Yuan's research, but mainstream medicine drugs like Triptan are still mostly used for migraines.

Akupeng Akupunkturs explanation

I told Yuan about this experience and that deep down I had hoped it would just go away right away, so I wouldn't need to take any medication. Yuan explained to me that how acupuncture works on your body is very individual. For some it takes a few treatments and others need to be treated once or twice a week for several weeks before they see an improvement. It made sense, but then the question was, what's the next step?

In her thesis, Yuan analyzed the effect acupuncture can have on migraines, and in the clinical case study, acupuncture was found to have a positive effect on the five women's migraines. The results of the study showed that after five acupuncture treatments, the incidence, duration and pain level of the migraines decreased by almost 50% in the five women who participated in the study. However, the results vary from person to person and this study only tested the effects of acupuncture and not what else you can do in combination with acupuncture. When Yuan treats people in her clinic, she also asks her clients about their lifestyle and diet to get a deeper understanding of what triggers their migraines. This kind of investigation gives a better insight into the client's migraine and how it is going to be treated, in the clinic and in the client's daily life.  

At Yuan's acupuncture clinic, it is common to see clients with very frequent migraine attacks. These clients typically have an average of 15 to 16 migraine attacks per month, accompanied by chronic tension headache, fatigue, weakness, insomnia, dreaming, restlessness, etc. From a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) perspective, the deficiency is deeply rooted in these clients' chronic migraines.

“Acupuncture treatment alone is not enough, especially for females that suffer from deficient migraines. Acupuncture treatment combined with lifestyle and diet changes is extremely important. This is why I ask my clients in great detail about their lifestyle habits and diet. I find that some clients over-exercise, while others have a mono diet with unbalanced nutrients. After I have treated them with acupuncture and given them appropriate lifestyle and dietary advice, most of my migraine clients have achieved excellent results, and many have even been cured.”

- Yuan Peng


As mentioned earlier, migraines are different from person to person and therefore should be treated individually. I've found that my migraines require a combination of more acupuncture treatments and some lifestyle changes to see changes in the frequency of my migraines. 

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