Do you suffer from chronic migraines? If so, you’ve probably already tried to identify the triggers and experimented with medications to see what can put you out of your misery. You may even be suffering from one now.
Migraines are severe headaches that can be accompanied by nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light. They can be due to several factors, including but not limited to: chronic stress; poor posture; dehydration; strenuous exercise (including sexual activity), delayed or skipped meals; changes in weather, temperature, and barometric pressure; hormonal fluctuations; smoking; sensitivity to certain foods and drinks (caffeine, sweeteners, red wine, aged cheeses, cold cuts, and other foods containing tyramine), and food additives (such as MSG).
For female migraine sufferers, you may also want to check out this article that describes the effect of salt intake on eliciting a premenstrual migraine and susceptibility when estrogen and progesterone are at their lowest levels.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), a holistic approach is used to address headaches and migraines. The treatments are carefully tailored to your specific set of symptoms and the specific location of your pain. Acupuncture can be used to relieve local and generalized pain areas, reduce stress, and relax tight and sore muscles in the neck, shoulders and back. The most effective way TCM can address migraines is by preventing them from occurring in future. If a migraine is in full swing, one or two points can be very effective in reducing the severity of the pain.
In addition to acupuncture and tuina (massage), treatment for migraines from a TCM perspective would involve observing dietary habits and eliminating aggravating substances, such as the foods listed above, completely. In TCM, these foods are considered “damp and heavy” in nature and can directly contribute to a chronic migraine pattern if left unchecked. One might also be prescribed herbs and dietary therapy to eliminate the “damp” qualities of the foods previously ingested, and improve proper digestion and metabolism.
Common acupressure points for migraines and headache that you can use on yourself are: Yintang, Taiyang, UB2, UB 10, GB 14, GB 20, GB 21, LI4, LV3, ST 40, and GB 41. Apply even pressure with your index finger on the points and any localized areas of pain and move in a circular fashion. You can do this for a few minutes on each point and repeat several times throughout the course of the day. To locate these points yourself, you can refer to this great interactive tool on Qi Journal.com