A large number of my clients have been coming in with headaches of late. In Western medicine, there are a few categories to define the type of headache and subsequent cause; the tension headache, caused by muscular tension usually brought on from stress; pressure headache, caused by changes to the barometric pressure of the atmosphere; migraines, caused by a number of issues, usually considered ‘idiopathic’ (aka the physiological cause is unknown).
Chinese medicine goes a step further, and delves a little deeper than conventional western diagnosis. For example, when you get a headache is very relevant to its point of origin. Do your headaches come only in the morning? Do they happen after sexual intercourse? Do you get them if you haven’t eaten enough, or if you have eaten too much? These are essential questions in headache diagnosis.
Equally important is where in the head the headache is felt. If it develops solely around the vertex of the head, it may be caused by stress and heightened emotional states. If it runs along the sides or is one sided, it may indicate stagnation in a channel which runs along the head (there are seven in total). Headaches which are dull and achy can be caused by deficiency of energy and nutrients, while those that are fixed and boring can be caused by ‘blood stagnation’, or improper energetic flow, and those which feel like a vice may be caused by ‘qi stagnation’ a less stubborn form of improper energetic flow.
Acupuncture is a very effective tool in managing most types of headache and migraine pain. Treatments for headaches and migraines used are typically Gua Sha, cupping, acupuncture and dietary therapy and lifestyle advice.