does acupuncture help with headaches

If you have ever suffered from headaches or migraines, you understand how debilitating they can be. Whether it’s due to stress, tension, hormonal changes, or other factors – finding relief becomes a top priority. Headaches are among the most common health issues people face every day.

But have you ever thought, can acupuncture help with headaches? Well, we’re going to dive deep into exploring acupuncture’s potential to provide relief for headaches. This ancient practice rooted in Chinese medicine can be the solution you may have been looking for a long time!

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture, an ancient practice originating from China, is based on the belief that our bodies have thousands of interconnected pressure points. These points are responsible for our overall health and well-being. By inserting thin needles into these specific points, also called acupuncture points, acupuncture can stimulate a healing response by releasing hormones.

There are four main types of acupuncture:

  1. Full body Acupuncture is a traditional approach that targets various areas to release blockages and activate the body’s natural healing abilities.
  2. Auricular Acupuncture is focused solely on the outer ear. This technique treats conditions like chronic pain.
  3. Electroacupuncture is basically utilizing weak electrical currents passed through the needles to enhance treatment effectiveness.
  4. Community Acupuncture is offered in group settings where people sit comfortably clothed while having exposed parts treated with needles.


What Are the Different Types of Headaches?

It’s always important to understand that there are different types of headaches. The most common ones include tension-type headaches, migraines, and cluster headaches. Tension-type headaches often result from stress and manifest as a dull ache or pressure around the head.

Migraines, on the other hand, are intense and usually accompanied by symptoms such as nausea or sensitivity to light. Cluster headaches occur in clusters over weeks or months but then go away for an extended period.

How Can Acupuncture Help with Headaches?

Traditional Chinese acupuncture operates on the belief that pain or illness occurs when there is a blockage of energy, known as qi, within the body. By strategically placing thin needles at specific points along your body’s channels, called meridians, acupuncture aims to release this blocked energy and restore balance.

Licensed acupuncturists possess an in-depth understanding of these pressure points based on your individual symptoms. They skillfully insert needles into these points to trigger nerves and stimulate hormonal responses within your immune and circulatory systems. This process can lead to a reduction in inflammatory proteins throughout the body, ultimately alleviating head pain. The effects of acupuncture work synergistically across multiple systems in the body to provide relief for both migraine and tension headaches.


What to Expect at an Acupuncture Appointment

Your first acupuncture appointment can become overwhelming as time approaches. But Knowing what to expect can help you relax and make the most of this ancient healing practice.

The session typically begins with your acupuncturist delving into your health history. This helps them better understand your specific needs and goals for the treatment ahead.

Once that’s done, it’s time for the main event – acupuncture itself. If you’re worrying, let me tell you, those tiny acupuncture needles used are usually painless! Some people may feel mild sensations like pressure or heat, which quickly fade away. Others experience a sense of relaxation or even newfound energy afterward.

If you’re feeling nervous beforehand, don’t hesitate to communicate this with your acupuncturist. They have plenty of tips and tricks up their sleeves to help calm any jitters.

Afterward, the acupuncturist will provide relief during the session itself through carefully placed needles on strategic points along meridians (energy pathways in traditional Chinese medicine). They’ll also offer helpful recommendations and advice tailored specifically towards supporting long-term relief from headache pain.

can acupuncture help with headaches

Benefits of Acupuncture for Migraines and Headaches

Acupuncture holds immense potential in providing relief for migraines and headaches. Here are some key benefits that make it a promising treatment option:

  • Reduces Frequency: Studies suggest that acupuncture may help reduce the frequency of migraine attacks, allowing individuals to experience fewer debilitating episodes.
  • Pain Relief: Acupuncture has shown effectiveness in reducing headache pain by stimulating specific points on the body associated with pain relief.
  • Preventive Treatment: For those suffering from chronic migraines, acupuncture can be used as a preventive treatment method, reducing the intensity and duration of future episodes.
  • Natural Approach with Fewer Side Effects: Unlike medication-based approaches, acupuncture is a natural therapy without any known adverse effects or risk factors when performed by trained professionals.
  • Improved Well-Being: Beyond relieving symptoms alone with acupuncture, many patients report improved overall well-being after undergoing regular sessions! 

How Do We Know If Acupuncture Really Works for Pain?

When it comes to determining whether acupuncture really works for pain, the evidence shows promising results. Large-scale clinical studies have consistently demonstrated that acupuncture provides better pain relief compared to usual care. However, there is still some debate regarding real versus sham (fake) acupuncture.

In a significant meta-analysis conducted in 2012, data from approximately 18,000 patients across 23 high-quality randomized controlled trials were analyzed. The findings conclusively showed that acupuncture is superior to sham acupuncture when it comes to relieving low back pain, headaches, and osteoarthritis. In fact, the improvements seen with acupuncture were similar to those achieved with widely used non-opiate pain relievers.

The safety profile of this ancient practice is also reassuring. Adverse events are minimal when performed by a trained practitioner. Basic science studies involving animals and humans have also revealed other potential benefits of acupuncture beyond just alleviating pain. These range from lowering blood pressure levels to long-lasting improvements in brain function.

General Guidelines for Acupuncture

When it comes to getting the most out of acupuncture for headache relief, there are some general guidelines to keep in mind:

  1. Consult with a Medical Provider: Before starting acupuncture treatment, it’s important to talk to your doctor or healthcare professional. They can provide valuable insights and may even be able to refer you to a trusted acupuncturist.
  2. Choose a Licensed Acupuncturist: It’s crucial that you choose an acupuncturist who is properly licensed and has good reviews from previous clients. Ask about their sanitary practices and how they minimize any risks of adverse reactions.
  3. Keep Track of Your Symptoms: Maintaining a log of your headache symptoms can help both you and the acupuncturist. It helps determine whether the treatment is working effectively or if adjustments need to be made.
  4. Combine with Medical Care: Acupuncture should not replace regular medical care for treating diseases or conditions associated with headaches, such as migraines or tension headaches. If an acupuncturist claims otherwise or discourages seeking proper medical attention, it’s best to avoid them.

Does Acupuncture Help Migraines?

The answer may not be a straightforward one regarding acupuncture for migraine headaches. While we don’t have enough concrete evidence to make a strong statement about its effectiveness, there are promising findings from smaller studies and systematic reviews.

According to Dr. Mason Dyess, an expert in neurology and headache medicine at Ochsner Medical Center, a 2019 systematic review in the journal Headache revealed interesting results. This review analyzed seven clinical trials involving over 1,400 participants who compared acupuncture with standard pharmacological treatments for migraine pain. Some of these individual studies showed that acupuncture may be more effective than conventional treatment options.

However, due to variations in testing methods among the studies reviewed, it’s challenging to draw conclusive findings encompassing them all.

While we await further research on whether acupuncture definitively improves migraines or not, keeping all possibilities open is vital!

How to Find an Acupuncturist

Finding a skilled acupuncturist is crucial when seeking acupuncture treatment for headaches. Start by researching reputable clinics in your area that offer acupuncture services. Read reviews and testimonials from previous clients to get an idea of their expertise. It’s also important to verify their certifications and credentials as licensed acupuncturists.

Once you find potential practitioners, schedule consultations to discuss your specific needs. Also, ask about their experience with treating headaches using acupuncture techniques. 

How Can The Brost Clinic Help?

It is our goal at The Brost Clinic to help you find effective natural healthcare options for headaches. We offer personalized treatment plans tailored to your individual needs by a team of chiropractors and acupuncturists who understand the complexities of headaches and migraines.

At The Brost Clinic, we combine the power of chiropractic care with acupuncture techniques in order to provide comprehensive headache relief. With our holistic approach and state-of-the-art facilities, we aim to address the root causes of your headaches while promoting overall wellness.

Trust us for compassionate care that puts you on a path toward long-lasting relief from those nagging headaches! Contact us today!


There is some evidence that acupuncture is an effective treatment option for headaches. However, each individual has unique needs, and what works for one individual might not work for another. You should always consult with an experienced acupuncturist who can offer individualized care tailored to your needs.

It might be worthwhile to consider acupuncture as part of your headache management plan if you’re tired of using medication or wish to explore natural alternatives. Those pounding headaches don’t have to be dealt with alone – reach out and find out how acupuncture can help!

Schedule an appointment with The Brost Clinic today and start your journey towards a healthier, headache-free life!

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