Chinese Medicine, Headaches and Migraines

Chinese Medicine Headaches Migraines

By Dr. Scott Graves

Understanding how to heal from a migraine or headache with Chinese medicine involves a very detailed answer.  However, this is one of the conditions that is very effectively dealt with from an Oriental perspective.  The Chinese believed in dealing with health problems on all levels of the body: physically, energetically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Within the physical domain of things, Chinese food therapy and herbal formulas have been used with incredible efficacy.  On the energetic front, acupuncture for migraines and headaches has been even more effective and is now widely backed from the Western medical community due to research and studies that have been done to support such claims.  Lastly, on the mental, emotional and spiritual side of things, we can use a blend of Chinese medicine with some fantastic modern techniques to address the pathological consciousness within each individual.  I have seen the most progress and healing in the clinic from addressing ones emotions, however, starting with the diet and supplements is a must and can be done simultaneously as one works on what is inside emotionally.

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Many of the Common Triggers in the physical world have been a part of Chinese medicine for thousands of years.  With the addition of an estimated over 100,000 environmental toxins that have been introduced into the lives of humans over the last one hundred years, we also have seen many rises  in headaches due to this.  It is good to familiarize yourself with the common triggers and then to study some of the food therapy and herbal formulas that can be helpful for initiating healing.

Over 18 different patterns can be responsible for causes of migraines and headaches in Chinese medicine.  This is especially why it is very difficult to answer the common question when asked on the street by someone who is unfamiliar with Chinese medicine: “What should I take for ___?”

Since it is person and pattern specific, it is very difficult to suggest something without really knowing more of a person’s story.  Each individual is treated differently so as to address their particular case.  Here we will go over only 4 patterns that represent a good majority of them.

  1. Liver Yang Rising – This is arguably the most common pattern for migraines and headaches in Chinese medicine.   Each organ contains both yin and yang function and when yang gets out of control it rises to the head causing many conditions, including this one.  Both foods and herbs can strengthen yin (the opposite of yang) and clear heat soothe liver function while bringing balance back to the body.  Symptoms of liver yang rising are temporal, parietal (side), unilateral, or vertex (top) distending pain, dizziness, tinnitus, sudden deafness, dry mouth and throat, sensation of heat in head and body, insomnia, excess anger.  This is also usually the emotional headache, caused by excessive anger, resentment, rage or frustration that hasn’t been let go of.  
  2. Blood Deficiency – Blood is critical to the function of all organs.  Blood deficiency is not that one does not have enough blood, but that the quality of the blood isn’t what it should be.  I have seen many headaches vanish when blood is truly balanced and nourished in the body.  
  3. Blood stasis – This is a pattern that is seen in very chronic cases of migraines and headaches, which are usually very severe and intense.  Trauma to the head needs to be ruled out first.  The life of the body is in the blood and when the blood doesn’t circulate properly in the head, it stagnates causing blood stasis.  A whole separate category of Chinese herbs exist called blood movers that can be very effective with this type of headache or migraine.  These are herbs which literally force things to circulate better in the body.   When circulation happens, pain disappears.
  4. Liver Qi Stagnation – This headache normally appears on the temples or forehead.  The job of the liver is to direct the body, which is why they called is the general.  When the general is not doing its job properly, things stagnate causing pain.  Other symptoms may accompany this including nervous tension and anxiety, burping, flatulence, abdominal bloating, constipation, diarrhea and poor digestion.

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While 14 other patterns exist behind why someone may get migraines or headaches, these four are among the most common.  I have found nothing to be more effective in helping people than Chinese medicine.  Outside of trauma and physical issues that require surgery, in my opinion Chinese medicine is the most effective form of treatment I have witnessed to date.

With the combination of food therapy, herbs and lastly acupuncture, a large majority of people should be able to heal or at least significantly lessen symptoms.  Try it today.  If you would like an herbal consultation or would like to have your Chinese pattern identified, this can be done over the phone (407-255-0314) and an herbal formula can be identified, paid for and sent to you in the mail.  I’ve helped many people all over the world who have never been to our clinic in Orlando/Altamonte Springs.

Photo credit: Tomás Fano via / CC BY-SA, via NB

DISCLAIMER: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

This is part 6 of a series on headaches and migraines – read more from Dr. Scott Graves

Previous parts:

  1. 10 Keys To Healing Tension Headaches And Migraines Naturally
  2. 8 Triggers To Migraine And Tension Headaches
  3. Juicing And Electrolytes For Headaches And Migraines
  4. Shield Yourself From EMF And Electromagnetic Pollution Headaches And Migraines
  5. The Emotions and Consciousness Behind Headaches and Migraines

Dr. Scott Graves ND, MA is a Florida-based Naturopath and Intuitive who specializes in Nutrition Response Testing, NAET, EFT, and Psychokinesiology. He offers free 15 minute phone consultations and is available for radio and TV interviews. Read his Blog here. Like him on Facebook.

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