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Complementary Alternatives Therapies

Acupuncture

  • By Andy

    I am an acupuncturist and have had a lot of success with migraine treatment for both acute as well as chronic sufferers. Just this morning my new patient from last week with severe unrelenting migraine returned for the second visit. He said his migraine of the prior ten days went away with the acupuncture and has not returned. This is not atypical.

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  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    Andy, We cannot allow anyone to advertise their services etc, but I’m wondering – can you talk to us a little about acupuncture so those who aren’t familiar with it might see if they want to consider it as an option for their attacks? Thank you 🙂

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  • By Andy

    I would love to share what I know from experience regarding migraine. Choosing an acupuncturist is easy. Most acupuncturists in the USA are Board Certified and have licensing or registration by the state. If there are several acupuncturists close to you that is your good luck. But any acupuncturist can make the actions that have an effect on the most common energetic pre-disposition to have migraine–Cold Feet.

    All the pertinent information about migraine was written down more than two thousand years ago in the Ling Shu. It was re-discovered by Drs. Tran and Van Nghi, surgeons in France.

    I have tried to make their information available on facebook. But I don’t want to post the Name of the account until we decide that it would not consitute advertising.

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  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    Andy, thanks for the follow-up. I hope you will consider posting more information here.

    I had extensive acupuncture years ago to treat my autoimmune related Raynaud’s. As you know, this causes the blood vessels of the extremities to constrict. While this is a separate comorbid condition, the symptoms are very similar. The result are cold, strangely colored hands and feet (and sometimes nose, lips, etc), numbness, pain, and in severe circumstances, tissue destruction and even amputation.

    I was not someone who “believed” in acupuncture, but the doctor was a close friend and I trusted and believed in him, and he wanted to see if he could help. It took many treatments, but my Raynaud’s improved enormously which was an equally enormous surprise to me.

    I’m sad to say that my Migraine attacks did not change – we never had much luck with that.

    In seeing multiple acupuncturists over time, I do notice that each seems to have a different pattern they prefer to use. Research seems to tell us that it is not the pattern that is important, but the needles. What are your thoughts on this??

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  • By Andy

    Two thousand plus years ago the Emperor of China recorded his conversation with the physician who would be comparable to our presidents surgeon general. Huang Di begins the treatis by saying his people are sick and failing to pay their taxes. He states that acupuncture is effective and intends to write down everything that can be useful so future generations will never have to face this problem again–paying taxes, being sick one or both.

    Raynaud’s syndrome is a very annoying manifestation of depletion of Yang or warm energy. In the Ling Shu, Drs. Van Nghi and Tran encountered a description of a manifestation of Yang depletion that included cold and discolored fingers. The solution is the piqure of the Fire points on the Arm Yang Pathways. I recently shared a description of the treatment of this with local acupuncturists and will post it here.

    Notably, M.C physical therapy assistant in the PT dept at Saint Croix Regional Medical Center who perpetually walked around with her hands tucked in her arm pits. One day I asked, “Cold hands?” to which she replied, “how did you know.” I said, “got twenty minutes, I can fix that” to which she replied, “my next patient is at ten, sure.” So right there in the practitioner room in front of all the staff including the head of the department, Frank I put in the needles. A week later when I returned to my clinic time I asked how she was, she said better. Repeated once and she was good. A year later the topic came up and Frank laughed and said, “You should have seen her that afternoon, her hands were hot, hahaha.”

    I have done this for dozens of patients and they all respond quickly. One or two treatments to make the hands normal.

    Migraine responds similarly. My last morning patient came in with a one sided severe headache, she rated it at 9/10. She had light sensitivity, so quickly I looked at her tongue and turned out all but the dim floor lamp in the corner. Her pain was mainly above and behind the eye and I described two points that would be good to use, above the knee and on the neck. But first I used the points shown to me by Dr. Tran that are described in the Ling Shu as Window of Heaven points. I help up my fist and counted as I raised my fingers and at 5 I asked her if her pain had changed. She said, “it is gone.”

    Not being satisfied with that I put in the knee point and again asked if the eye had changed. She again said, “better.”

    In my clinic this happens over and over. Of the forty to sixty patients I see in a week maybe four or five have headache. They almost all get rapid relief. Patients normally only drive 30 to 40 miles to see me, so even if I were to name my clinic it would have no impact on the course of the countries maigraineurs. To impact that, I want to give away the information that will allow them to find relief.

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  • By Kelly, FlyWithHope

    I initially started trigger-point acupuncture for a horrid fibromyalgia flare in June and was shocked when the acupuncture worked where the Norco had not!

    So, I started it for my Chronic Migraine and Chronic Daily Headache in July. I have to say that as a complementary therapy, it has been helpful enough to make the effort to go in every week. There was one time where I went into the office Migraine-free and came out of the office with a Migraine and I fully believe the acupuncture was the culprit.

    Since I’ve stopped a recent preventative, I’ve noticed the acupuncture not as helpful, so I’m thinking that in my case it has only been helpful as a complementary therapy when preventative medication therapy is helping at least a little.

    I’m going to keep trying until I feel it is absolutely of no use.

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  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    Kelly, that is so interesting! So maybe together the acupuncture and the preventive were working synergystically for a better outcome than either alone could provide? At the time of my Acupuncture, I don’t think I was taking any preventives – not either time I tried it.

    Very interesting…

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  • By Andy

    Acupuncture is a young science in the US. The richness of two thousand years of evolution since the writing of the Ling Shu have been made to fit a university style teaching and in doing so have been limited to the basics.

    Advanced and ancient concepts about the etiology of the disease and its appropriate treatment are only now beginning to enter clinical practice. It is this teaching, this approach that has effective and repeatable outcomes of relief for the acute sufferer and decrease or elimination of the symptom.

    My objective in participating in these discussions is to spread the understanding of the origin of the headache and to make available to patients and acupuncturists the actions necessary to reverse the disease process.

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  • By Andy

    Kelly, I am pleased to hear of your success with fibromyalgia. Typically that is a disease of exhaustion of energy creation and circulation. It is important that you treat more than trigger points.

    It is possible to increase local circulation and provoke a headache. With experience your acupuncturist will learn what points to avoid.

    Two thousand years ago in the Ling Shu it says if you have cold feet then that is the foundation of the headaches. This ancient text describes a protocol to warm cold feet that is easy and fast, often succeeding in one treatment and preventing or lowering the incidence of migraine. The global deficit of Yang energy is more enduring and will take a team effort by you, your doctor and your licensed acupuncturist to overcome.

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  • By Teri Robert

    Andy,

    First, Migraines aren’t headaches. Migraine is a genetic neurological disease, marked by episodes typically called Migraine attacks. When there is a headache, it’s a symptom, and some people have Migraine attacks with NO headache. Second, the “foundation” of Migraines is genetics and overactive neurons in the brain. Third, there is no way to reverse the disease process. Acupuncture may be helpful to some people, but the basic science is what it is, not what you said.

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  • By ecstaticmom

    My 12-year old daughter became absolutely disable with migraines and had a three-month intractable migraine. We had a two hospital stays, ER visits, neurology appointments and I slew of drugs. We left UNC in total despair and went to acupuncture after reading about it on a migraine forum. It is the ONLY thing that has worked for my daughter and we are now getting our lives back. I am incredibly grateful for acupuncture.

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  • By CM

    I tried acupuncture this summer for a 3-month-long migraine and I do believe it helped…but it was prohibitively expensive and while we were originally told it would be covered by insurance, they came back later and denied the claims. Does anyone have experience with getting insurance to cover it? It was Blue Cross.

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  • By Teri Robert

    CM,

    I haven’t worked with my insurance company to get acupuncture covered. Take a look at your policy booklet. Some insurance plans simply don’t cover complementary therapies, others do. If your insurance is through an employer, you might also talk to someone in human resources. In cases such as this, it’s generally not the insurance company itself that’s the issue, but the particular policy and coverage that has been purchased.

    Teri

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  • By alise

    I am getting acupuncture treatments monthly. My acupuncturist told me, very honestly, she could not guarantee success, since migraines, when hormones are the main trigger,are hard to treat.She mainly treats the liver meridian, responsible for my complaints. (migraines with severe vomiting) We also talk about emotions, because they also effect this meridian. She also treats points connected to sadness and anger sometimes.I am an emotional and sensitive person and I notice the acupuncture is very good for me in this area also. My migrains now seem less severe, so I gladly keep going.
    I live in the Netherlands and my treatments are covered for 75% of all costs. I hope I help someone with this message!
    Alise

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi Alisefk,

    That’s very impressive and refreshing that your acupuncturist was so open and honest with you.

    Thanks for sharing your success with us, any reduction in our migraine severity is a good thing.

    Keep us posted on your progress, ok?

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  • By Stephen Rodrigues

    If I may, (IMO)Acupuncture is one of the most powerful tools in medicine! That is after being a family doc for 30 yrs. I’ve been using Acupuncture for 15 yrs and it is NOT was I thought it was and actually it is even more potent a medicine. All acupuncturist and providers are not created equal so if you are not feeling better after a few treatments, ask the provider to change techniques, be more aggressive or find another. Acupuncture has to be combined with a wellness program of exercise, diet, sleep, yoga, massage and the mineral Magnesium to unlock it’s maximum power.

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  • By Stephen Rodrigues

    Terri … the definition of a Migraine as evolved over the past 30 yrs and will continue to as we gain more knowledge. I tell my patients not to get to technical but to focus on stressors, wellness, balance and any triggers to combat this disease. Vital … anything in life can be a trigger … from a smell, noise, sleepless night, change in weather, ect. Once you have all you ducks in a row and ahead then those triggers will be less effective.

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  • By Teri Robert

    Stephen,

    Yes, I suppose the definition of Migraine has evolved. A matter of semantics, I suppose, but I think the definition is pretty clear now. We may learn more about the epidemiology and pathophysiology, but we have a pretty good definition.

    While focus on stressors is a good suggestion, I find that focusing on things we do or don’t do during stressful times is more productive. One can only eliminate so many stressors fomr one’s life before we find ourselves hiding away. Finding things we do or don’t do during stressful times that can be triggers can do a great deal to help avoid Migraines during such times as many of those triggers are avoidable – messed up sleep, unusual sleeping patterns, dehydration from not getting enough liquids, crying, and so on.

    While it’s true that we’re less susceptible to our triggers when our bodies are stressed, it’s impossible to remove all stress, especially when you consider that we have both eustress and distress in our lives, and we certainly don’t want to remove eustress.

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  • By mmjardel

    I had a 2 month long migraine episode in 2006. After many dr. Visits, meds shots and hospital visits with I’ve drugs nothing was even taking the edge off. A friend carted me off to an acupuncturist. I walked out of his office pain free. His instructions were,to “stay down” and come in for follow up sessions every day for 2 weeks. I did and it worked. After 2 weeks I was able to return to work with only my usual episodic attack syndrome. The trick is to get someone who understands the disease. BTW Aetna paid for it so it was only a $20 copay with my policy.

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi mmjardel,

    Thank you for sharing your experience with us, and I’m so happy to hear your migraine frequency has been reduced! An extra plus that your insurance helped pay the way 🙂

    A friend of mine has a son who was plagued by new daily persistent headache which is notoriously difficult to treat. After trying many different medications he found a bit of relief with acupuncture.

    Nancy

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  • By Katieflowers

    Two and a half years ago I weaned off of my migraines meds in the hopes of having children. Still not pregnant and still getting migraines, I looked for an alternative therapy to prevent/treat my migraines. I have tried acupuncture for about a year now. In the beginning, I found that it lengthened the times in between my migraines (I almost went one month in between attacks!) My insurance doesn’t cover acupuncture, so I pay out of pocket and would go every two weeks. My mom started chipping in to help defray the costs, and I started going once a week. But now, my migraines are occurring every twelve days. BIG DISAPPOINTMENT. I’m considering looking for a different alternative therapy for my migraines. Any suggestions? Diet? Massages?

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  • By briwrighty

    I have been a migraineur my whole life, but about 4 months ago the frequency increased to about 7-8 a month, a frequency that has caused me to miss numerous days of work and spend a handful of days in bed (luckily my company is extremely supportive and understanding). I recently started seeing an acupuncturist. I have been going once a week with the occasional “rescue treatment” (when I feel a migraine attack approaching). She has so far successfully stopped a handful of migraines dead in their tracks. Prior to seeing her, I felt a complete lack of control over my health, and now I know there’s something that help me feel in control again! The biggest aid for me has been a point just to the left of my radius bone in my wrist on the top of my arm. That spot is evidently tied to the nerves on the left side of my head behind my eye where the migraines originate. Ask your acupuncturist about this point, and perhaps it will help you too! One other piece of advice I can give about acupuncture is that when you’re in the “resting” phase of your treatment, try to focus on how it feels to have all those nerves stimulated and the cumulative sensation.

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