Can acupuncture help migraine sufferers?


Treating migraines with Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine

If you've had any sort of conversation with us in person about FIVE ELEMENT ACUPUNCTURE, then you've probably heard us use headaches as an example of how different and unique our work is. We've had a lot of success treating headaches. Because of that success, we treat a lot of them.

In this article, we will discuss how FIVE ELEMENT ACUPUNCTURE takes a different approach and how our acupuncturists at Jing Shen Healing Arts have proven to be very effective at providing long-term relief to headache & migraine sufferers.

Headaches, Migraines, & Acupuncture | Well Studied


Studies & Randomized controlled trials: The first study on acupuncture for migraine pain was published in the British Journal of Anaesthesia in 1973. Since then, many additional studies have confirmed its effectiveness in resolving migraines.

Acupuncture & chronic migraine Relief: Acupuncture treatment is an effective, natural, and safe treatment for chronic migraine. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, acupuncture is one of the most effective treatments for chronic headaches. It's even recommended by the American Headache Society and the American Academy of Family Physicians. Read what the World Health Organization and the Acupuncture Evidence Project say. CLICK HERE.

Acupuncture & Migraine Prevention : Research shows that acupuncture can help reduce the frequency of migraine attacks. Acupuncture can be a preventive measure for people suffering from frequent headaches. 

 Jing Shen Healing Arts | Why Our Training Matters

When we talk about how FIVE ELEMENT ACUPUNCTURE is different, headaches are one of the examples we use the most to explain how our approach is different. Acupuncture, Herbs, and Chinese Medicine have different methodologies than traditional medicine. We would also argue that our training in CLASSICAL FIVE ELEMENT ACUPUNCTURE gives us an advantage over the more prescriptive methods of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine).

Treat the Patient, Not the condition.

As with any chronic condition, treatment is never as simple as, in this case, "treating the migraine." CLASSICAL FIVE ELEMENT ACUPUNCTURE teaches us that each patient who makes their way into our office has a unique story and experience of their symptoms. We often say that we "haven't met a headache yet that we have not been able to resolve, BUT we have never treated on the same way!"

Understand that All Headaches are not created equal

  • PAIN - Most folks come in with pain; the pain can be in different areas of the head, indicating to your acupuncturists where to focus the treatment.
  • Auras, Visual Disturbances, and/or sensitivity to light - If you experience these symptoms with your migraine, you may need a different approach than someone who does not. These differences can guide your Acupuncturist in choosing the appropriate areas of the body that need attention.
  • Nausea, Abnormal Fatigue, or Exhaustion are not necessarily standard for every migraine. Sometimes these symptoms accompany stress or a tension-type headache as well. The addition of these symptoms would indicate different needs to your Acupuncturist.
  • A Variety of Triggers - mense, stress, food triggers, and some are triggered by other aspects of life (boss, spouse, or kids). These are just a few triggers, but another example of why the one-size-fits-all approach is not the best model of care.
  • Diagnosis - Most of our severe headache patients have seen a doctor, and some have been to specialists. Some have a diagnosis, and some do not. Some are neurological, some are hormonal, some are about blood circulation, yet some are unexplainable.

We have seen them all and treated them all. Treating the patient means that as your healthcare professional, our responsibility is to treat you. We understand that your needs are likely different from your neighbor's needs. Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine is not intended to be one-size-fits-all. Our practitioners will assess your needs, then choose the proper placement and techniques to apply with the needle and the suitable formulation of herbal remedies from our wellness pharmacy to have the most significant impact. Acupuncture benefits many conditions of the body, but these needles can be life-changing for long-term sufferers.

Our Acupuncturist: Results Speak for themselves.

Even if you have tried acupuncture in the past and it didn't work, or the effects of the acupuncture didn't last, this approach may be the difference. We have successfully treated patients who have suffered from headaches most of their life. We have seen patients overcome with emotions because it is the first time in 15 years that they are symptom-free. This work is so rewarding!

Acupuncture: Our Procedure

Step One: Understand Your Experience of Your Symptoms

Questions we may (& likely) explore as a DOCTOR of ACUPUNCTURE & CHINESE MEDICINE during a new patient intake include:

  • Where is the pain located?
  • Is the pain dull & achy or sharp, fixed & stabbing? Or is it more of a general discomfort?
  • Is there anything you do for yourself that provides pain relief?
  • Types of medication?
  • Is it constant? or does it come and go throughout the day?
  • Specific times of the day? How frequently do they occur?
  • How long do they last? Hours? Days? Weeks?  
  • Ladies, are they connected to your cycle?
  • Any known triggers? Emotions? Hormone Fluctuations? Food? Weather? Etc...?
  • Any other health concerns? Health conditions? Any other pains in the body?

Step Two: Investigation & Diagnosis

After assessing your current state of health, analyzing your paperwork, and looking at all the information gathered, we apply our understanding as a CLASSICAL FIVE ELEMENT acupuncturist. Our experience has shown that all information is relevant and provides insight into the direction we need to take with your treatment plan.


Step Three: Plan Customized for YOU!

Once we understand YOUR experience, we can determine the path forward. Experience has proven that each treatment plan requires a different approach. A different approach because everyone's experience has unique characteristics, and each patient's lifestyle and medical history play a role on some level. Treatment plans will often include a combination of acupuncture needles, options for herbal remedies, nutrition, and lifestyle recommendations based on our assessment of your needs.

What to Expect: acupuncture for migraine treatment

How quickly can I expect it to work?

The acupuncture needles are not magic. Lasting relief is a process. Our goal is to relieve your headache or migraine so that the body heals in a way that improves daily life. Through our work together, we expect an initial SHIFT in at least ONE of these three areas: Frequency. Intensity. Duration. We observe these three factors to assess progress as we work towards being completely pain-free.

We are looking for a shift and momentum to build with continued progress with acupuncture treatments. For some individuals, that shift happens in a single acupuncture session; for others, it can take 3, 4, or even 5 sessions. Notice we used the word SHIFT, not resolution or fix. Chronic headaches do not simply happen overnight; acupuncture will not heal them overnight.

What does shift look like?

After an acupuncture treatment, SHIFT could mean experiencing five headaches this week instead of six. It could mean that instead of an 8 out of 10 pain, you improved to 6 or 7. A SHIFT could mean that the headache lasted only several hours instead of being in pain all day. a SHIFT is just that; something that was your norm is now DIFFERENT.

For patients that have not been pain-free in years, our first priority with acupuncture is to get a break in the pain cycle. That break may be hours, a day, or a couple of days, but a break is a break when you haven't had one! Over time we expect those breaks to last longer. Hours turn into a day. A single day turns into multiple days, eventually tuning into weeks pain-free, and so forth.


Treatment available

Our office is located in beautiful Downtown Kalispell MT 59901. Both of our practitioners are Doctors of Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine, with their training rooted in CLASSICAL FIVE ELEMENT ACUPUNCTURE.

Schedule an appointment

How can we help? Please schedule a consultation, and let's have a conversation about how we can help you find relief, OR let's get started with treatment and book a new patient visit!