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Acupuncture is very effective at treating chronic migraines. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine scholars theorize that health is based upon balance in the body. Imbalances can cause long term illnesses and pain. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine work by correcting these imbalances in the body. Once the imbalance is corrected, the body can then works to heal itself.

How does acupuncture work to treat migraines?

Alban_052113_081Acupuncture is quite amazing at treating migraines, but it is certainly not magic. The practice is rooted in a clinical history of over 2000 years, in which physicians and scholars wrote and discussed the best way to heal their patients. There are also many physiological reasons acupuncture regulates the nervous system to relieve pain.

1. Acupuncture works by resetting the imbalances that are in your body. Once the imbalance is corrected, the body can work to heal itself. Hormonal imbalances, changes in blood pressure, or neurological patterns may all be factors in the generation of the migraine headache.

Acupuncture has its own diagnosis system and ways of describing the body. Acupuncturists will find the imbalance in the acupuncture meridians. Often this is an imbalance in the flow of qi, the body’s energy. The acupuncture treatment will focus on correcting that imbalance.

2. Acupuncture helps to regulate areas of brain for pain- Studies of acupuncture show that acupuncture works to regulate pain centers of the brain. Using an fMRI scan of the brain, researchers have shown that acupuncture actually changed the way the brain perceived pain and regulates parts of the brain that are in charge of controlling pain. So in fact acupuncture changes the way we perceive the pain.

3. Acupuncture stimulates the release of Neurotransmitters that relieve pain- Acupuncture also works immediately to relieve migraine pain. This is probably because acupuncture stimulates the release of neurotransmitters which relax the body and decrease pain.

4. Acupuncture helps to relax the body- In migraine headaches, there is a terrible cycle of tension and pain. The muscles tense up in reaction to the pain and then the pain causes the muscles to tense up more. This cycle of pain further exasperates the decreased blood flow to and from the skull, which is one of the causes of migraines. Acupuncture cuts off this cycle of tension and pain by relaxing the muscles and relieving tension.

5. Acupuncture also relaxes the mind- Acupuncture is a very relaxing experience. Most people feel very calm during the treatment and this lasts for a period of time afterwards. Over time, treatment helps influence you to be a calmer person and increase your ability to deal with stress. This is because Chinese medicine does not separate the body and the mind. The mind influences the body, and the body influences the mind.

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Joseph Alban, L.Ac.

Joseph Alban is a New York Licensed Acupuncturist and Board Certified Herbalist providing the highest quality Acupuncture and Chinese medicine care tailored to your needs.

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