Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) categorizes migraine as a shaoyang (temporal region) headache, a wind syndrome of the head. ‘Head wind’ in TCM refers to severe, repetitive headaches, a condition mainly due to external pathogenic factors, wind being the predominant pathogen. The combination of pathogenic factors, including wind, cold, heat and dampness disturbs the clear Yang in the head and causes stagnation of blood circulation, resulting in a headache.
A few acupuncture points useful in treating migraine include: Shuaigu (GB , Taiyang (Extra 1) and Waiguan (SJ 5).
Shuaigu (GB has a local point location in the temporal region useful in treating headache due to qi stagnation. In TCM, the Gallbladder meridian runs along the side of the head. Because shaoyang headaches follow the course of the GB meridian, GB points are indicated for treatment and have the effect of eliminating one-sided or generalized headache, head wind and reducing pain.
Taiyang (Extra 1) promotes the circulation of anti-pathogenic qi in the local affected region and disperses external pathogenic factors causing shaoyang syndromes. When used in combination with additional local points, Taiyang can weaken pathogenic qi and prevent wind disorder.
Waiguan (SJ 5) is a distal point on the limb selected to treat migraine through the affected Sanjiao channel, which runs along the side of the head in addition to the GB meridian. Distal points located on the disease-related meridian are effective in stimulating qi and blood and moving meridian qi to the diseased part of the body. Classically indicated for many different types of headaches, including temporal headache.
Acupuncture can effectively treat migraine through a combination of selected local scalp points combined with distal points located on the affected meridians. Treating migraine headaches with acupuncture can regulate yin and yang, strengthen qi and eliminate pathogenic factors.