People who have migraine headaches and other chronic headache know from experience that the weather can be a trigger.
Earlier this month, the largest study to date examining weather patterns and headaches was published in the journal Neurology. It reported that an increase in temperature was the most likely factor to cause a headache. Also, an increase in humidity was a factor for most types of headaches.
Chinese medicine has known this for a long time. Weather and climatic factors are one of the major causes of disease in Chinese medicine. We even go farther. Often the metaphor of weather patterns– wind, dampness, heat, cold, and dryness—are used as descriptions of the pattern of symptoms you are experiencing.
Chinese medicine believes that health is based upon balance and harmony. Imbalances in the body and between the body and our environment are the causes of diseases. If you get headaches when it is hot or humid, it is because there is a disharmony in the body which is reacting to the environmental trigger.
It’s really your Liver and your Qi
The most common pattern for chronic headaches that are caused by hot weather is a Liver disharmony. It can also be a disharmony of your qi, or energy. Please note that the organs in Western Medicine and Chinese medicine often have the same name, but don’t worry, an imbalance in your Chinese Liver does not mean your Western liver is diseased.
Disharmony of the Liver- This is a common imbalance that is the root cause of many migraine headaches. This imbalance is often caused by a lack of blood and fluids which moisten the liver. It can also be caused by stress and anger, which impedes the circulation of the qi in the body. The reason heat would cause a migraine with this pattern is because the lack of fluids effects the ability to cool the body and makes you more susceptible to heat.
Disharmony of your Qi- This is a common headache people get when it is hot or humid out. Qi is the body’s vital energy which circulates in the body. Extremely hot weather can cause damage to your qi and cause it not to circulate appropriately in the body. This makes you feel tired, achy, and can cause a severe headache.
Some people also have dampness inside the body. Those with dampness will have chronic sinus problems, digestive issues, lethargy, may be overweight, and a heavy feeling in the body. These people will feel bad with both hot and humid weather.
For those with headaches that are sensitive to weather changes, there is hope. We cannot change the weather, but through individualized acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatment, you can change the imbalance in the body that is making you sensitive to the weather patterns.
If you are interested in finding out more about how acupuncture can help reduce your chronic headaches, please call us at 917.887.4946 for a free consultation.