Migraine Headaches & Acupuncture
abstracted & translated by
Honora Lee Wolfe, L.Ac., FNAAOM (USA)
Keywords: Chinese medicine, acupuncture, migraine headaches
On page 20 of issue #11, 2005 of Zhen Jiu Lin Chuang Za Zhi (Clinical Journal of Acupuncture & Moxibustion), Sun Bo published an article titled, “The Acupuncture Treatment of 68 Cases of Migraine Headache.” A summary of this article is presented below.
All 68 cases enrolled in this study were treated as out-patients. Among them, there were 26 males and 42 females 18-60 years of age, with an average age of 35 years. The disease duration ranged from one month to more than six years. Forty-eight patients too medicines regularly to control their migraines. The other 20 did not. Thirty-four cases had a family history of migraines.
The main points used in this trial were:
Feng Chi (GB 20)
Tai Chong (Liv 3)
Xing Jian (Liv 2)
The auxiliary points were:
Tai Yang (M-HN-9)
Tou Wei (St 8)
Shuai Gu (GB 8)
A shi points
After disinfection, Feng Chi was needled with a 1.5 inch needle with even supplementing-even draining technique. Tai Chong and Xing Jian were needled with strong stimulation for 1-3 minutes. Shuai Gu was needled through to Tou Wei with a two inch needle. Then small amplitude twisting and turning draining technique was used for 1-3 minutes. Tai Yang and a shi points were bled 3-5 drops with a three-edged needle. The needles were retained for 30 minutes and restimulated one time during treatment. One treatment was given per day, and 10 treatments equaled one course. A 3-4 day rest was allowed between successive courses. Outcomes were analyzed after two courses of treatment.
Cure was defined as complete absence of headache with no other associated symptoms and no recurrence on follow-up after one month. Marked effect was defined as a marked decrease in headaches and other associated symptoms and no disturbance to daily work or other life activities. No effect meant that there was no obvious improvement in the headaches or associated symptoms and patients experienced daily disturbances in their work and lives. Based on these criteria, 26 cases (38.2%) were cured, 39 cases (57.4%) got a marked effect, and three cases (4.4%) got no effect for a total effectiveness rate of 95.6%.
According to Dr. Sun, migraines fall under the traditional Chinese disease categories of headache and head wind. They are mostly due to wind evil invasion and attack, ascendant liver yang hyperactivity, phlegm turbidity obstructing the network vessels, and/or blood stasis obstructing the network vessels. However, external contraction and internal damage are the two main types. Dr. Sun believes that treatment of this condition should mainly be addressed to the hand and foot shao yang channels in order to course and free the flow of the shao yang qi mechanism, free the flow of the channels and quicken the network vessels, transform stasis and stop pain. This is based on the saying, “If there is pain, there is no free flow; if there is free flow, there is no pain.” Within the above formula, Feng Chi is a meeting point of the foot shao yang and yang linking vessel. It can scatter wind and resolve the exterior as well as settle head pain. Because the liver and gallbladder have a mutual interior-exterior relationship, this point can also level and repress the yang qi of the liver and gallbladder. Tai Chong and Xing Jian both clear and drain liver fire. Bleeding Tai Yang and any a shi points transforms stasis and frees the flow of the network vessels. When all these points are used together, their effect is to level the liver and extinguish wind.
Copyright © Blue Poppy Press, 2006. All rights reserved.