A migraine is a severe, debilitating headache that hosts a large variety of neurological symptoms such as throbbing pain on one or both sides of the head, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, disturbances in vision, numbness in face or extremities, sensitivity to light, sound, smell and touch. An individual experiencing a migraine may suffer from one or many of these symptoms during an attack. Each migraine attack can vary in it's symptoms and severity making it difficult for a correct medical diagnosis to be made. About 15-20% of people experience aura symptoms (visual disturbances) before the onset of their migraine (About Migraine, n.d.).
There are a variety of methods used to prevent and treat migraines including prescription medication, over the counter medications, nutrition management, proper sleep habits, herbs, vitamin supplements, exercise, relaxation techniques, psychology, biofeedback, chiropractic care and acupuncture (About Migraine, n.d.). I will be looking at how effective acupuncture is in the treatment of migraines. Acupuncture is one of the ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) methods and is estimated to have began 2000-3000 years ago (Introduction to TCM, n.d.).
TCM believes that all life sources, also called Qi, must flow freely through channels that travel throughout our bodies on twelve separate pathways. These pathways are called meridians and all organs and tissues functions are connected to the more than 300 various points called acupoints which lie on these meridians (Acupuncture, n.d.), (Meridians, n.d). If there is a disturbance in a body function there is a specific point(s) on the meridian(s) that corresponds to the the problem area. These disturbances are caused by a blocked flow of Qi, and acupuncture is one method of returning Qi to it's normal state of energy flow (Acupuncture, n.d.).
An acupuncturist determines the source of blocked Qi, and inserts very fine stainless steel needles which vary in length at the appropriate acupoints on the meridians. The needles are inserted at different depths depending on the acupoint that the practitioner is trying to reach. The needles are then left in place for anywhere between 15-30 minutes. The acupuncturist sometimes uses a process known as needling in which the needles are manipulated in various ways depending on the issue being treated
The first study was performed on 160 patients who had 3-8 migraines, without aura, on a monthly basis, who had received, and had no benefit, from a minimum of one prophylactic treatment (Facco, et al., 2007). The patients were divided into four groups of forty and contained an equal number of patients according to sex and age. The first group, the TA group, was treated with true acupuncture and Rizatriptan. The second group, the RMA group, was treated with ritualized mock acupuncture and Rizatriptan. The third group, the SMA group, was treated with standard mock acupuncture and...