It is estimated that half of the world’s adult population has experienced at least one headache in the past year (World Health Organization). And as of 2010/2011, an estimated 8.3% of Canadians — that’s 2.7 million of us — have been diagnosed with migraines (Government of Canada).
Ifyou’re in either of those groups who experience headaches and/or migraines, you know that they can be extremely debilitating and affect your life for more than just a few hours. You likely have turned to over-the-counter drugs, or perhaps have sought out prescription medication to alleviate the nuisance of headaches. But there is a holistic alternative that may prove much more effective, without the side effects of pills.
Humans have been practicing acupuncture for centuries to relieve and prevent a plethora of ailments. One of the most common being headaches/migraines.
This has been validated by many practical studies, including one by McMaster University which treated people with chronic headaches in two different methods. One group was treated with a combination of drugs, physiotherapy, massage, exercise, and ‘fake’ (non-puncturing) needles placed in the wrong spots to evoke a placebo effect. The other group received weekly (real) acupuncture treatments for 6 weeks. This study found that the second group reported more relief from headaches for at least 6 months.
The only caveat with acupuncture treatment, is that consistency is key. Eastern medicine is not like many Western medical practices, in that it is not a quick fix. You will likely require several treatments to see long-term results. This is because Eastern medicine treats the root cause of the problem (imbalanced energy), as opposed to just treating the symptoms.
Another great thing about acupuncture is that in between sessions, you can practice acupressure on yourself to enhance your results. Acupressure involves stimulating the correct pressure points motion with a finger, knuckle, or soft-tip object like a pencil eraser. Apply pressure in a circular motion to each point on both sides of the body for at least 15 seconds. Below are points specific to headache and migraines to try on yourself.
Union Valley is in the webbed part of your hand between your thumb and index finger. Do this on both hands. These points will target tension in the head and neck.
The Third Eye is found between your eyebrows, where the bridge of your nose connects to your forehead.
The Drilling Bamboo points are at the side indentations at the top of the nose, below your eyebrow ridges. Use your thumb and index finger and pinch inward. The Third Eye and Drilling Bamboo points can help with headaches caused by the sinuses and eye strain.
The Gates of Consciousness are located in the hollow areas at the base of the skull. Use your thumb and index finger and pinch inward.
The shoulder well point is in the hollow area about halfway between your shoulder joint and the base of your neck. These points can help relieve tension in the neck and shoulders which may be causing headaches.
If you’re serious about headache relief, come give acupuncture a chance. We advise that you book 4-6 sessions close together for best results. Acupuncture is covered under most insurance plans and direct billing is available for many. You can also choose acupuncture as an add-on to another service.
While the needles are very thin and short, if you are interested in trying acupuncture but have a fear of needles, you can always try auriculotherapy with electric stimulation. That involves stimulating points on the ear with an electric wand. Learn more about auriculotherapy here. You might also be interested in AcuGraph® Analysis, which is a digital program that electronically reads your energy pathways and detects imbalances which may be causing your headaches or migraines.
We hope you learned a lot, and if you have questions, feel free to leave a comment, or send a message or email!