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Migraine and acupuncture

Updated: Sep 1, 2023

Qualified and experienced Therapist, Complementary Holistic Therapy, 2nd Nature Healing Center, Beit Shemesh

A migraine is usually a moderate or severe headache felt as a throbbing pain on one side of the head. Migraine is a common health condition, affecting around 1 in every 5 women and around 1 in every 15 men. They usually begin in early adulthood.

Migraines can severely affect the quality of life and normal daily activities. Some people find they need to stay in bed for days at a time.

In addition to headache, many people have symptoms such as feeling sick, being sick and increased sensitivity to light or sound.

There are many types of migraine, among them there are:

Qualified and experienced Therapist, Complementary Holistic Therapy, 2nd Nature Healing Center, Beit Shemesh
  • Migraine with aura. A type of migraine where there is a warning sign (an ‘aura’) that a migraine attack is going to happen

  • Migraine without aura. The most common type of migraine.

  • Chronic migraine. A debilitating and disabling condition

  • What is abdominal migraine? Common condition that affects mainly children.

You should see your doctor if you have frequent or severe migraine symptoms.

Migraine relief is one reason people visit acupuncturists. Traditional Chinese medicine can reduce the symptoms and prevent further attacks.

Scientific evidence of the efficacy of acupuncture in the treatment of Migraine

A 2016 Cochrane review compared 22 trials of acupuncture for migraine. A 6 months study compared:

  • acupuncture and no treatment

  • acupuncture and fake acupuncture

  • acupuncture and medication.

Researchers found that acupuncture outperformed and offered benefits in all three scenarios. An earlier 2012 randomized controlled trial arrived at similar conclusions. The acupuncture groups reported minor improvements in their headache frequency, 5 to 8 weeks after beginning treatment. By weeks 13 to 16, all acupuncture groups reported significant improvements compared to the fake acupuncture recipients.

The role of acupuncture in the treatment of migraine

Evidence suggests that acupuncture may reduce migraine headaches’ frequency or even prevent them from happening.

According to a 2016 Cochrane review about 50% of those visiting an acupuncturist for migraine, say they have reduced their reliance on painkillers after receiving acupuncture therapy.

On the basis of the existing evidence, acupuncture may replace standard treatments or may be used alongside them. Acupuncture is at least as effective as prophylactic drug therapy and has longer lasting effects. Acupuncture is safer that drugs intake which have possible severe unwanted side effects.

What Is Acupuncture & How does it work?

Acupuncture is a branch of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). It works by applying needles, heat, and pressure to specific points on the body.

According to the theory of acupuncture an essential life energy called qi (pronounced “chee”) flows through the body along 20 invisible channels called meridians. When the flow of this energy is blocked or out of balance, illness or pain results. More than 2,000 acupuncture points connect to the meridians. Traditional Chinese Medicine believes that stimulating those points with needles will correct the flow of qi, increase blood circulation, alleviate pain, relax muscles.

Benefits of acupuncture for migraines and headaches

Several studies suggest that acupuncture may help treat pain, including headaches and migraine.

Some benefits of acupuncture for migraine and headaches include:

  • Headache prevention: A growing body of research suggests that acupuncture may help prevent migraine headaches or decrease occurrences. It may be more effective than popular headache remedies, including prescription migraine medications.

  • Fewer side effects: People may experience unpleasant side effects with migraine medication or have medical conditions that make standard medicines unsafe. Acupuncture may be a viable alternative.

Although acupuncture can form part of an individual’s treatment plan, they may need multiple treatments for an extended period.

Acupuncture risks

Like all medical treatments, acupuncture poses some risks, including:

  • Incorrect diagnosis: Not all headaches are migraine headaches. While most headaches are not serious or emergencies, a headache may sometimes warn of an underlying medical condition. People who substitute acupuncture for medical care may not receive appropriate diagnosis and treatment.

  • Short-term side effects: Research from 2010 suggests that about 10% of people report mild, short-term side effects following acupuncture. These include fatigue, headache, nausea, and similar symptoms.

General guidelines for acupuncture To get the most out of acupuncture, try the following:

  • Talk to a medical provider before trying acupuncture. In some cases, a doctor may be able to refer a person to a trustworthy acupuncturist.

  • Choose a Trained and Experienced practitioner Acupuncturist. (Diplomats of acupuncture have at least four years of academic training at the master’s level, must pass rigorous exams and meet state licensing and continuing education requirements.)

  • Keep a log of headache symptoms. This can help with determining whether and how well acupuncture is working.

  • Seek medical care along with acupuncture. Unless the acupuncturist is also a medical doctor who has attended medical school, they cannot treat disease. Avoid acupuncturists who say they can diagnose medical conditions or who encourage individuals to bypass medical care.

Other natural means to treat and prevent migraine include

  • Acupressure

  • Massage Therapy

  • Herbal supplements

  • Diet changes

  • Stress management

  • hydration

for further details please refer to our blog " Natural mean to treat migraine"

When to contact a doctor

People should talk with a doctor if they develop new headaches or a change in their usual headache pattern.

Not all headaches are harmless, and it is important to have an accurate diagnosis. Likewise, if headache medication or acupuncture does not relieve symptoms, or makes them worse, people should see their doctor.


Migraine headaches can cause painful symptoms that make daily life challenging. A growing body of research indicates that acupuncture can help people manage and reduce migraine symptoms. People should consider seeing their doctor if headache persist.


Esther Hornstein L.Ac TCM, Qualified and experienced Therapist, Complementary Holistic Therapy, 2nd Nature Healing Center, Beit Shemesh

Esther Hornstein is a New York State licensed acupuncturist and diplomat in acupuncture. with continuous professional update.

In her Therapeutic Holistic approach, she addresses Pediatric ailments, Men & Women’s health, Pain management and overall Wellness.

Qualified and experienced Therapist, Complementary Holistic Therapy, 2nd Nature Healing Center, Beit Shemesh

Esther Hornstein and her Team at 2nd nature Healing Center,

34 Nachal Hakishon, Ramat Beit Shemesh Aleph, Israel

Offer the Following Quality Holistic Services

Acupuncture - For Men, Women and Children by Esther Hornstein and Dr David Rose Chinese Herbal Medicine - For Men, Women and Children by Dr David Rose

Massage - For Men By Moshe Lepon or Avi Dzik

Massage - For Women By Rochel Rubinoff

Reflexology - For Women and Children by Rochel Rubinoff

Diagnostic Reflexology -For Women and Children by Rochel Rubinoff

To make an appointment you may:

call or WhatsApp : 054-719-9600

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