This happens to be the million dollar question. Acupuncture has been practiced for over 2,000 years and traditional Chinese medicine has well-established principles concerning how acupuncture for migraines works. In the Western world, the subtle energetic body is passed over in favor of the physical body. Therefore, the underlying mechanism through which acupuncture heals has been the subject of much debate.
Traditional Chinese medicine views the mind, body, and spirit as a whole. A physical symptom, such as nausea related to a migraine, is only one piece of the puzzle. To diagnose and treat migraines, acupuncturists take into account the entire constitution, the root cause of the migraines, internal and external pathogens, and the flow of Qi or energy in the body. Since the meridians, or channels that carry Qi, encompass all of the organ systems, a deficiency in a seemingly unrelated organ, could be the underlying cause of the migraines.
The placement of needles in acupuncture points along the body, unblocks the Qi and allows it to reach, energize, and nourish every area. It is thought that free-flowing Qi allows the mind, body, and spirit to function at an optimal level and lets one achieve good health. All of the imbalances in the body are reset, which in turn harmonizes body function and stimulates the body’s natural healing response. Blood and energy can reach the brain to alleviate the headaches without pharmaceutical intervention. As an added benefit, the process of acupuncture is relaxing to both the mind and body. This relaxation further helps to put an end to migraine pain.
Scientific studies have used brain imaging and other technology in an attempt to find the physiological causes for acupuncture’s success. Acupuncture for migraines is thought to alter the brain’s perception of pain. The placement of needles stimulates the central nervous system and encourages the release of neurotransmitters and hormones, such as serotonin and natural opiods. Not only is pain perceived differently, but these internal pain killers relieve pain immediately. The release of neurohormones is thought to be responsible for hindering nerve impulses, which can lessen the intensity of future migraines.
The immune system cells are also called into action to create a natural healing effect. When combined with the cascade of brain chemicals and hormones, change is created inside of the body and the individual becomes enveloped in a sense of wellbeing. Boosting the mood makes pain easier to deal with. The release of muscle tension serves to further increase blood flow to the aching brain.
What can be agreed upon, is that acupuncture for migraines triggers the body’s natural healing response and is a holistic, effective way to treat and prevent migraines. With no side effects and results that have a positive affect on your physical and mental health, acupuncture for migraines should be considered for managing the condition.