According to the World Health Organisation, migraine effects about 303million people worldwide. Conventional allopathic treatment in the UK costs around £20 million a year. Many of the medications prescribed on the NHS either do not work, or have only a minimal effect. Some of the stronger painkillers and drugs can have unpleasant side effects. An increasing number of migraine sufferers are so disenchanted with what is on offer conventionally that they are turning to alternative therapies, such as acupuncture and herbal medicine, which are among a number of complementary and alternative therapies available, many of which are extremely effective. This article is about the use of traditional acupuncture in the treatment of migraine.
Migraine is a complicated condition, with a variety of different causes and symptoms. Typical symptoms include unilateral pain, nausea, vomiting, photophobia, visual and auditory disturbances, loss of energy etc. Migraine can have any number of triggers; typically foods such as cheese, chocolate, wine and spicy foods, and increasingly wheat and dairy products. Other factors like changes in the weather, computer screens, pollution and emotional stress and anxiety, and hormonal changes. Many kinds of migraine have no obvious cause, and there can be a sudden onset for no obvious reason, and often manifest in cluster headaches, with a variety of other symptoms.
As an Acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist, migraines (and headaches) are one of the commonest conditions that I treat in the clinic. The success rate that I have is extremely good; in several cases I have seen amazingly dramatic improvements in just a few treatments. Such claims can be supported by a growing body of research based evidence, and clinical trails, that have been taking place as far back as the 1990s, that have strongly supported the efficacy of acupuncture, for the treatment of migraine. In one clinical trail 80% of the respondents reported considerable improvement after acupuncture.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), we seek to treat the root cause of the condition, not just the symptoms. The reason why many sufferers find conventional medication ineffective is because complex internal energetic imbalances that precipitate the symptoms of migraine are not being addressed. Acupuncture and herbal medicine is a tried and tested method of helping to rebalance any imbalances naturally. A detailed case history is taken, which not only takes into account the presenting symptoms but also medication, past illness, general state of health, diet, stress, bodily functions, energy levels etc. We then examine the tongue and feel the radial pulses, which help the Practitioner to obtain a better assessment of the patient’s general constitution and any underlying problems that may contribute to the condition. Acupuncture is quick and relatively painless. During the actual treatment most people go into a deep state of relaxation. Many report that if they had a headache at the time of the treatment, it has gone when the needles are removed.
Acupuncture is a course of treatment, and the healing is a process, so it is important to commit to at least four to six sessions. Over the course of the weeks of treatment, we will be looking at diet, stress, lifestyle, addictions, habits etc and anything that can help improve and maintain health, in order to help prevent onset in the future.
I sometimes include Chinese herbs as part of the treatment. Sometimes they are an adjunct to acupuncture, or herbs constitute the main treatment. Herbal medicine is complicated, but can be very effective in helping to prevent recurrences of migraine.
For those interested in finding out more about how TCM can help you, or someone you know. I am available at the Hatton Garden Clinic on Mondays, and the Baldock Clinic on Wednesdays and some even by appointment.
Jethro Rowland Dip.Ac.MBAcC. Dip.CHM.MRCHM
Acupuncturist /Chinese Herbalist
For information on research see www.acupuncturecouncil.org.uk
It is called ‘tinnitus’ and doctors just don’t seem to be able to do any thing to cure the problem. They may say you’ll get used to it eventually or even that you just have to learn to ‘live with it’. Some may suggest it could be caused by listening to loud music or working near noisy machinery for a long time.
But there are other causes of tinnitus. Taking antibiotics, having chronic ear infections, even food or airborne allergies can cause the disorder.
And there are things that you can do that may make the ringing stop. There are some natural remedies you can try.
Ginkgo biloba. Over 40 clinical studies show that ginkgo eases tinnitus. For example, a German study of tinnitus sufferers shows that ginkgo reduces ringing.
Another review of studies says taking ginkgo for one to three months has a significantly greater reduction and speedier relief.
Even Germany’s Commission E, which regulates supplements, officially endorses ginkgo as a treatment for tinnitus. It is recommended that you take 80 mg three times a day.
CoQ10. A British study found that tinnitus sufferers with low levels of CoQ10 benefited significantly from CoQ10 supplements.
It is recommended that you take 50 mg of the ubiquinol form of CoQ10. The ubiquinol form is 8 times more powerful than regular CoQ10. It’s more absorbable so it keeps your blood levels high.
Food allergies can sometimes cause tinnitus. You can have a test to find out which foods your body cannot tolerate. Here at the Wyndham Centre we use the Vega machine to test for your sensitivities. It is based on bio energetic medicine and is a very simple way of finding out what your intolerances are. The results are instantaneous and we will advise you on a diet that, by eliminating certain foods could help to reduce, or even clear, your tinnitus.