Acupuncture as soothing headache relief

Headaches and migraines are one of the most common forms of pain in modern life and we help people with these pounding problems in all their various forms in our Yorkville acupuncture clinic. Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine have been helpful in reducing headaches and migraines for thousands of years. As a holistic treatment, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), including herbal medicine, acupuncture, cupping, moxibustion, tuina massage and gua-sha helps to eradicate the root causes of disease.  Headaches affect most people and can even take down the most physically fit, like tennis champ, Serena Williams, who couldn’t finish a tournament due to a severe Migraine.

Carrie Toronto acupucturist needling famous migrain point on hand for headach relief

Your headache/migraine is one-of-a-kind and so is the treatment

Just like how special and different you are, so are the points we formulate to treat you! When a patient comes to the clinic, it is important for a Registered Acupuncturist to understand the origins of the headache/migraine for proper diagnosis and to determine how we choose specific acupuncture points for the patient and move forward with his or her treatment.

My headache acupressure recipe- press these points!

Here’s some fantastic acupuncture points that you can apply pressure to for headache pain relief. They’re some of my personal favourites which I think should help you when your head starts feeling less-than-great. You should be able to  get the idea of where to to look for the buttons to press to reduce a headache.

Joining Valley (Large Intestine 4)

The most iconic headache point of them all! The rock-star point that everyone knows. Located between the thumb and index finger and is one of the most important points for any disorders of the face and head. I’m needling it here but you can get a general idea of where to press. You’ll feel this one because it feels tender when it’s pressed. Maria does a great job in this quick video explaining in a little more in detail about how important Joining Valley is!

Watch our very own Maria Laffin R. Ac show you exactly how to press this epic headache point

Hall of Impression (Yin Tang)

Yin Tang is located in the area of the third eye between the eyebrows and is a calming point for the mind.

Carrie Toronto acupucturist needling Yin Tang for headach relief

Great Rushing (Liver 3)

You’ll find Liver 3 located between the thumb and index finger and helps with emotional constraint by stimulating the qi and blood flow of the body. Such an awesome point. It’s one of the most common acupuncture point’s used in modern acupuncture.

Yorkville Acupuncture Center Toronto for migraine and headache treatment

Wind Pool (Gall Bladder 20)

Classic point when your neck and shoulders are a major cranky factor in your headache or migraine. You can find this back of the head point, located at the nape of the neck about an inch to either side of midline. We use it in clinic every day.

press this point at back of head for headache migraine relief

How to press the headache points

You should use deep and firm pressure when stimulating acupressure points.  You can hold the pressure in place for a couple of minutes or move in a circular motion, maintaining a firm hold.  Apply acupressure a few times a day or until the pain has subsided.

The acupuncture experience for headaches

At Acupuncture Center Toronto, we use acupuncture points in combination to address the symptoms, such as pain in the head from headache or migraine, as well as constitutional or root issues such as overheating of the body or depletion of body fluids.

The factors in determining your specific treatment can include:

  1. The location
    For example, whether it is at the temple or back of head.
  2. What makes the headache worse?
    In addition, we may need to understand what brings about or exacerbates your headache or migraine: if it is aggravated by eating or not, for example, or if it is worse in the evening or daytime.
  3. Quality of the headache/migraine
    We also want to know the type of pain, such as dull or sharp, and if it is better or worse with pressure.
  4. How you tick
    It’s important to learn about the patient’s lifestyle. Whether you are overworked or lack sleep, have bad eating habits, or what the emotional stressors are in your life.

These factors give us a fascinating understanding of what may be happening in your body according to Traditional Chinese Medicine! For example, the diagnosis for someone who comes in with a headache at the vertex or top of the head, and has red eyes and feels warm, especially in the upper body, will be different from someone who is experiencing a dull headache in the forehead area and is dizzy, experiencing heart palpitations and can’t sleep at night.  The former would be considered an excess condition and would require acupuncture points that would draw heat from the top of the head region; whereas the latter condition would be diagnosed as a deficient condition and call for acupuncture points that help support the body in the blood building processes.  If it sounds confusing, don’t worry too much, you can leave the Chinese Medicine diagnosing up to us when you come to the clinic. Just know that we take into consideration your whole body- mind, body and spirit to give you a precise treatment.

Why headaches suck!

Headaches and Migraines cloud the spirit and impede on your day-today happiness. They can range from a dull ache, such as a tension headache, to a migraine with severe stabbing pain that can last a day or two.  The way we view headaches (and many others who believe in mind/body connection) is simply put, headaches help us release suppressed emotions. These emotions accumulate due to the stressors that we face on a day to day basis. Headaches can allow individuals to work through those emotions and have a physical release.  Headaches can also give us warning that the body is in distress and can be headed to serious illness if action to correct negative behavioural patterns are not taken seriously.

An increasing amount of folks are opting for more natural solutions to headaches and migraines. People want long lasting than over-the-counter medications. Headaches and migraines are a symptom of underlying syndromes.  Based on the TCM perspective, headaches and migraines are caused by various pathogenic factors or endogenous conditions which lead to a blockage of blood and qi (energy) flow of the channels that nourish the brain.  Channels are “energetic highways” in the body in which qi flows; but they can become stuck.

Just to be on the safe side

Headaches, both acute and chronic, can be related to a more serious condition such as a haemorrhage.  So if you are experiencing an acute and severe headache or migraine which has not been previously diagnosed, you should seek a Western medical diagnosis before receiving acupuncture.

If you suffer from migraines or headaches and you’re in the Toronto area, come chill with us for some therapeutic headache relief.

By Carrie Kawahatsu R. Ac, R. TCMP

You can find Carrie in clinic 4 days/week. Click here to book an appointment with Carrie.