Migraine, a recurring headache that occurs usually on one side of the head, is usually accompanied with blurred vision, nausea, as well as sensitivity to light and sound. This condition can last up to a couple of days and significantly affects the quality of life. The pain may be triggered by many factors including food, environment, stress, and for some women, it may be more frequent during menstruation.
The TCM’s Perspective
In TCM perspective, migraine is mainly associated with pathogenic wind (风), phlegm and fire. The common diagnostic patterns are poor blood circulation, phlegm accumulation, pathogenic wind and cold, liver fire, as well as ‘qi’ and blood deficiency. The use of herbal medicine and acupuncture can effectively treat a migraine using the TCM treatment principle to eliminate the patterns of disharmony.
Acupuncture is a well sought out treatment modality especially in pain management due to its analgesic effect. In a migraine, acupuncture is shown to affect the pain mechanism via vasodilatory effect.
Patients who suffer from a migraine are encouraged to:
- Avoid food like cheese, fatty food and alcohol that encourage damp accumulation in the body
- Avoid spicy and ‘heaty’ food
- Keep the body warm to prevent pathogenic wind from entering the body
- Exercise regularly for better blood circulation and psychological well-being
- Try pressing on the below acupoints
GB20 风池, at the depression point on the back of head, to ease generic migraine pain
SH23 丝竹空, located at the end of eyebrows, to help with eye-related migraine pain
Acupoint SJ21 耳门 if your ears are affected during migraine pain
Any other questions about TCM’s perspective on managing migraine? Let us know in the comment below!