Acupuncture for Migraine and Headaches: Treatment and Prevention

Acupuncture for Migraine and Headaches: Treatment and Prevention

man having acupuncture done for a migraine

By Austin Davidson L.Ac

Can Acupuncture be the Solution to Solving Your Migraine Woes?


Migraines can put an enormous burden on a person’s quality of life; causing blurry vision, dizziness, nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, and not to mention the excruciating pain that they cause in the process. 

Everyone experiences migraines differently, some have them infrequently and others can have them up 2-3 times a week or more.  

The causes of migraines and headaches are still a subject of research; causes can range from traumatic brain injury, stress, cardiovascular, and hormonal issues to genetic predisposition.


Migraines and Headaches can present as:

  • Frontal
  • Temporal (side of head)
  • Occipital (back bottom of the head)
  • Vertex (top of head)
  • Headaches that feel like a vice around the head
  • RED FLAG – Headaches or migraines that present as “thunder” or the “clapping of thunder” which happen suddenly and intensely within an hour’s time frame should be sought out by a medical professional and are usually a sign of a life-threatening condition.

Many over-the-counter and prescription medications can be effective in relieving these pains but are only short term solutions as well as secondary causes of other issues such as liver damage (Tylenol) and stomach issues (Ibuprofen is known to cause ulcers when taken regularly).  

Acupuncture is a great alternative to headache and migraine relief without the negative side-effects.  Not only can it help get rid of those pesky head pains but prevent future episodes.     

How does acupuncture help with headaches and migraines?

How exactly does acupuncture work with relieving migraines and headaches?  Well, acupuncture needles are placed in strategic locations on the body to produce a physiological change in the body that decreases pain and inflammation. Certain acupuncture points specifically target what is causing the headache, as opposed to OTC medications that dull the symptoms but do not address the root cause.  


An example of this is a patient I had, let’s call her Ms. Blue. She suffered from long-term headaches in the occipital region of their head and neck. Usually, these come from muscle stiffness of the neck muscles which causes a decrease of circulation from the neck to the head. If these neck muscles are in a constantly contracted state they can push on the blood vessels flowing to and from the head causing these head pains. So with Ms. Blue, the acupuncture treatment plan we did involved releasing the muscles to create a free flow of circulation and a decrease in inflammation. Over the course of treatment with Ms. Blue, we were able to drastically decrease the frequency and intensity of her headaches. 


Well what if your headaches aren’t being caused by muscle strain, what if they are neurological?  


Studies have shown that when acupuncture is performed during an MRI scan it can activate certain parts of the brain, one of them being the hypothalamus.  The hypothalamus has been found to be the source of migraine episodes.  Acupuncture has been shown to be able to decrease the signaling of the hypothalamus pain responses through the peripheral nervous system.

So yes, even if the source of your headaches is neurological, Acupuncture can help.

Food Triggers and Diet.

Even though headaches and migraines can be caused by a neurological or physiological reason, certain foods may be the reason why you’re experiencing an increase in symptoms.


Some of these foods include but are not limited to:

  • Dairy products – Milk, cheese
  • Gluten
  • Chocolate
  • Soy Products
  • Foods that include nitrates and Aspartame
  • Tomatoes – Monosodium Glutamate seems to be the culprit

The best way to know if a certain food is affecting how frequent you get headaches is to make a food journal detailing all the things that you put into your body.  You may start to see a trend with when you get headaches and which foods you were eating around that time, the results may surprise you.


Where To Start?

The first step is to find out the cause of your headaches or migraines. Is it neurologic? Caused by muscle tightness? Is your diet triggering it? At the Natural Health Center, we can help determine the exact cause of your pain and put together the correct treatment plan to help fix it. For more information on acupuncture for migraines and headaches, or to schedule an appointment, contact Natural Health Center of Clifton today.

Jump Starting the Body with Electroacupuncture

Jump Starting the Body with Electroacupuncture

Electroacupunture at the Natural Health Center of Clifton

By Austin Davidson L.Ac

Electricity and the Body: Benefits of Electroacupuncture

In Chinese medicine we talk about the main power supply of the body: Qi. It provides function to the organs, creates movement and flow, allows for health and balance. So what is the equivalent to Qi in Western medicine?  The answer is actually a very tiny particle called an electron.  Electrons create communication between cells or in a larger picture the brain and the body.  Electrical signals generated by the body can induce the various functions of tissue in the body that allow us to do simple actions like opening doors, nodding our heads, walking and standing; but also at a complex level allows the body to do subconscious processes like turning food to sugar, creating proteins, releasing hormones, and other thousands of jobs that allow us to function everyday.  When we lose electrons or the flow of the electrons are impeded this is where dysfunction and disease arise.

Powering the body with electrons.

So how exactly do we use electricity to treat pain or disease?  Well just the same as if we would have a deficiency of vitamins and minerals we take supplements to replace those deficiencies, we would flood the body with electrons. In acupuncture we use the same tools as we would in a regular treatment but add the electricity to the needles.  It may sound scary but it’s very comfortable and painless, at most patients feel a slight tapping sensation or low vibration.  These devices that send electricity are able to send signals to the nervous system unlocking your body’s own healing abilities. From release Beta-endorphins that can decrease pain and inflammation to GABA which can produce a calming effect on nerves and muscles.  The body has all the raw material it needs to heal the body but sometimes it just needs a jump start.    

Recharging your battery.

Electro-acupuncture isn’t the only way to fill your body with antioxidant rich electrons.  The Earth itself is a giant electron storage and can be easily accessed by touching it through a process called Earthing or Grounding.  It may sound silly to say that if you go walking barefoot outside for 30 mins that you’ll feel better, but studies show that the effects don’t only show improvement in mental health but also in pain and inflammation. So go outside and bury your feet in the grass once in a while!

For more information on electroacupuncture or to schedule an appointment, contact Natural Health Center of Clifton today.

Can Acupuncture help with Winter Aches and Pains

Can Acupuncture help with Winter Aches and Pains

Photo for acupuncture blog

By Austin Davidson L.Ac

With winter winds comes the aches and pains.


For many people who are chronic sufferers of neck and lower back issues, they can attest that the weather is a large factor in affecting their pain.  Cold and wind tend to stiffen the muscles and joints causing the already existing pain to become unbearable. But not everyone’s pain is the same which is why it is important as a practitioner to understand the correct diagnosis when treating our patients.  

In Chinese medicine, we associate different symptoms as certain pathological factors that manifest into what you are feeling. Wind can enter the body and cause pain that feels like it is constantly moving from one place to another. Cold constricts and binds the tendons and muscles creating stiffness. Dampness forms within the joints and vessels causing that achy sensation.  

My goal as an Acupuncturist is to assess if you have one or more of these pathological factors, sometimes even a combination of them, and treat them accordingly. Whether it be to warm the areas that are cold, expel the wind, or even drain the dampness; all of these can help reduce pain and inflammation, as well as increase range of motion and resistance to these pathogens.  

How to protect yourself from the elements

Simple, bundle up!  

Layering up during colder temperatures as well as properly covering vulnerable areas of the body, e.g. wearing a scarf to cover the nape of the neck and earmuffs, can help ward off invasive wind and cold in the body.

The colder weather is just one of the many stressors that may affect neck and lower back pain. By visiting our office regularly for treatment, we can reduce and prevent pain of the neck and back this winter. For more information on our services or to schedule an appointment, contact Natural Health Center of Clifton today.