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Acupuncture for Migraine: How This Treatment Relieves Your Pain

Last Updated: Nov 1, 2023 | Head Pain

Tired of the throbbing pain in your head? It must be debilitating to experience headaches daily for months on end, especially when there seems to be no solution. After all, painkillers can only manage your pain temporarily. But what if you want to get rid of your headaches and migraines permanently?

Here’s a holistic and natural treatment for you: acupuncture. It relieves you of the aches and jabbing pain permanently by targeting the root causes of your headaches. And not just that – you get to experience a full-body revitalisation that benefits your overall health. Sounds like a good deal, doesn’t it? Read on to find out how acupuncture can save you from lifelong suffering of migraines.

acupuncture for migraine

What is TCM’s perspective on migraines?  

In TCM, headaches and migraines are overlapping conditions characterised by pain in the head. Migraines are generally caused by 2 factors: internal and external.

External factors are the invasion of pathogens such as wind, cold, dampness, and heat. These pathogens stagnate the qi and blood flow, resulting in more severe and debilitating pain. On the other hand, internal factors comprise an excess of pathogenic factors from alcohol and greasy food, or a lack of Qi in internal organs like the liver, spleen, and kidney due to sleep deprivation, stress, hormonal changes etc. This leads to the deficiency of yin-yang balance in the body, creating dull, throbbing pain in the head and neck.

There could be a combination of external and internal factors that aggravates your condition. Hence, it’s important to seek a physician to properly identify and treat all potential triggers of your headaches to reduce the possibility of any flare-ups.

How does acupuncture treat migraines?

Acupuncture involves the insertion of needles into specific acupoints to remove Qi blockages. As migraines are commonly caused by blood stagnation or qi deficiency, acupuncture helps in pain relief re-establishing the flow of Qi and blood through the meridian channels. By improving blood circulation, acupuncture removes the blood stasis that is causing the pain. Furthermore, it triggers the release of hormones like endorphins, akin to our body’s natural painkillers.

Acupuncture does more than just pain management. It effectively resolves the root cause of your migraines by addressing the external and internal factors creating headaches as mentioned above. Through a thorough consultation, the physician will determine the causes of your headaches and identity the specific acupoints that should be targeted. By expelling the pathogens, improved Qi regulation will replenish the body, re-establishing the healthy yin-yang harmony within the body. The main effects are as follows:

    • Promote qi and blood flow over the head area.
    • Eliminate external pathogenic factors such as wind, cold, heat, and dampness by tonifying organs like the spleen and kidney
    • Replenish and nourish the yin and yang in the various affected organs.
    • Calm the liver and suppress the hyperactivity of the liver yang.


What are the benefits of acupuncture for migraine?  

The most immediate effect is pain relief. But unlike your regular medication or painkillers, you will see a long-term benefit of acupuncture towards your overall health. Over the next couple of days, you will notice a reduction in the duration and frequency of migraines. You start to sleep more regularly and deeply and have more energy to do your necessary tasks throughout the day. Instead of feeling stressed or depressed all the time, you might start enjoying the little things in life again. And with a lesser occurrence of headaches, your pain naturally goes away as well, hence you no longer need to rely on painkillers.

Our body’s qi affects various parts of the body. Hence, acupuncture is a holistic treatment that can improve your overall health. For women, migraines can be affected by your reproductive hormones. Regulating them through acupuncture could also restore a regular menstrual cycle, which is optimal for women’s health.

Of course, migraines are more than just head pain. Other symptoms like dizziness and nausea can also be regulated with acupuncture. Some other benefits include:

    • Improved bowel movements
    • Alleviate nausea or vomiting
    • Lesser food cravings
    • Improved metabolism
    • Relieve brain fog

How often should you get acupuncture for migraine?

This depends on the severity of your migraines and what the physician recommends. But generally, most people start off with acupuncture sessions twice a week for 2 weeks, then reduced to one per week for 2 months. If your headache persists, or if you are looking for a long-term treatment, you can go for acupuncture once bimonthly.

What are some alternative TCM treatment for migraines?

To expedite your recovery process, you can try out other methods.


If you have a fear of needles, tuina is the best alternative for acupuncture. By applying pressure on specific acupoints through deep stroke patterns, it also regulates Qi flow and expels pathogens from the body, giving you similar benefits to acupuncture.

Lifestyle habits

To play a more proactive role in your health and  relieving your migraines, try to get rid of unhealthy habits and adopt better ones. While it is easier said than done, do try to squeeze in a workout at least 3 times per week. This can increase your blood circulation which counteracts any blood stasis that is causing your migraines. Not only that, but exercise is also known to improve your emotional health by reducing stress, a common cause of headaches as well. Diet-wise, you should cut down on alcohol intake and sugary or oily food to avoid accumulating excess heat in your liver which can obstruct Qi flow.


Instead of junk food, try out some herbs instead. They are commonly prescribed to complement acupuncture or tuina treatment with minimal side effects. The herbs below are commonly consumed to nourish the qi in your body and expel pathogens from your body:

    • Figwort Root (Xuan Shen玄参): tonifies yin and clears heat from the organs. Useful for headaches caused by excess heatiness.
    • Schizonepeta (Jing jie 荆芥) and Mint (bo he 薄荷)/Angelica root (du huo 独活)/ Siler (Fang feng 防风): expel pathogenic wind and improve blood circulation, useful for headaches aggravated by cold weather.
    • Ginseng (Sheng jiang 生姜): pain relief and mange symptoms of nausea that accompanies migraines.
    • Gastrodia (Tian Ma 天麻): Useful for headaches, dizziness, epilepsy, and other disorders related to the nervous system. Calm hyperactivity of liver-yang as well.


At Singapore Paincare TCM Wellness, our professional therapists and physicians can give you a targeted acupuncture treatment plan. So, if you are looking for a natural, holistic way to resolve your migraines, book an appointment with us today!


Get the Appropriate Paincare Today

Singapore Paincare TCM Wellness integrates an east-west approach to our treatments for better outcomes. Our physicians and therapists undergo training in Singapore Paincare Academy (administered by Singapore Paincare Medical Group) to gain a better understanding of clinical conditions so that together with their TCM expertise, they can help patients get better.


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Categories: Head Pain