Headache series 3
What is acupuncture and how can it help with headaches?
Acupuncture is a component of traditional Chinese medicine and it involves inserting hair thin needles into specific body points to promote the body’s recovery processes.
The WHO (World Health Organisation) has been endorsing acupuncture as a valuable treatment for pain since 1979.
Acupuncture is largely used for the treatment of chronic headache because of the following effects that it is thought it has:
- Balance positive and negative energies in your body in order to trigger a natural healing response.
- Stimulate the nerve endings nearby the needles which helps the release of hormones such as endorphines, fundamental to relief pain and induce feeling of pleasure and euphoria.
- Stimulate your immune system promoting a stronger general health
- Stimulate your circulatory system, facilitating the elimination of waste products of the metabolism and adequate nourishment of all body tissues.
- Reduce inflammation by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors
The British Acupuncture Council (BAC) is the official regulatory body for acupuncture in the UK and it’s also known to be promoting high standards of evidence based treatments and up to date care. Evidence from the highest quality systematic review in scientific research show that there are clinically relevant benefits of adding acupuncture to routine care of headache and also a statistical advantage of ‘true’ acupuncture over sham interventions (placebo).
Acupuncture treatment for headache can be successfully combined with any other form of headache treatment such as:
In fact there are not absolute contraindications to the use of acupuncture in combination to other therapies.
When looking for a traditional acupuncture practitioner you should expect:
- Highest level of hygiene
- Clear use of sterile mono-use needles
- Appropriate recycle bins for clinical waste
- A practitioner who is BAC registered and able to explain any question you might have
If you wish to read more on this subject, here are links to previous posts in our headache series.
- Can osteopathy help manage your headache?
- Treatments for headache
- How psychotherapy and counselling can help with headache?