Science behind acupuncture / Acupuncture for Migraines
Early scientists dating back thousands of years developed a system of diagnosis, this was done by methodical and detailed observation of the human body.
Acupuncture regulates the flow of ‘qi’ along pathways which are called meridians, acupuncture treatment involves inserting needles into points along these meridians.
Myofascial pathways trace the meridians and the concept of ‘qi’ overlap with the facts about how the body’s cells communicate
Migraines is a primary headache disorder manifesting as reoccurring attacks, usually lasting 4-72 hours and involving pain of moderate to severe intensity (HIS 2004)
How acupuncture can help
There have been many controlled trials of acupuncture for migraines, the results of the latest reviews are quite consistent. Acupuncture is to be at least as effective as a prophylactic drug therapy with little contraindications or side effects (Linde 2009, wang 2008, Sun 2008, Scott 2008)
A migraine is thought to begin as an electrical phenomenon in the cerebrum that will then affect blood vessels, biochemistry and causes neurogenic inflammation.
How acupuncture can treat Migraines
– Provide pain relief
Acupuncture stimulates nerves which are located in the muscles and tissues this then leads to a release of endorphins and neurohumoral factors and changes the processing of pain in the brain and spinal cord. (Zhao 2008, Zijlstra 2003, Pomeranz 1987)
– Reduces inflammation
Promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors (Kim 2008, Kewovsji 2007, Zijlstra (2008)
– Reducing the degree of cortical spreading depression (which is an electrical wave in the brain associated with migraines) and plasma levels of calcitonin gene – related peptide and substance P. (Both implicated in the pathophysiology of a migraine) (Shi 2010)
– Modulating extracranial and intracranial blood blow (Park 2009)
– Affecting serotonin levels in the brain (Zong 2007)