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Chinese Medicine and Headaches

By Dr. Jiao “Alex” Huang, MSc. D.T.C.M., R.Ac.


If you are suffering from headache, TCM is good for it. It is a very common problem and chronic and repeated are its features.

Some headaches come from weather or/and location change. For example it is windy or cold. Or location changes from dry area to moist area. Secondly, the headache can be caused by emotion. Anger depress are the main reasons. Sometime it comes with dizziness. Food is another reason causing headache. Sometimes foods are too much greasy fatty or spicy. Some females are suffering from headache during menstruation with fatigue and tired. There is one more reason that is from trauma. We noticed more and more people have headache due to trauma such as car accident, sports etc.

When the headache comes, the pain can be distending stabbing or throbbing. And it is together with nausea, vomiting, dizziness if it is severe. Some can be with red eyes and warm feeling especially after emotion changes. Sometimes headache can come and go with fatigue and tired. Headache caused by trauma will have poor memory or blurred vision.

These common symptoms affect our quality of life by compromising our ability to work, get proper sleep, exercise, ultimately affecting our study, concentration and mood.
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Oriental medicine helps to relieve headache, not only for the pain but also solve the accompanied symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, poor memory, warm feeling as well as poor memory etc.

All the pain disorders in TCM are due to the abnormal flowing qi and blood. When the qi and blood flow naturally and freely, there is no pain. There are many options for treating headache with TCM.  Common treatments include: acupuncture, cupping and herbs.

Acupuncture can be an effective modality to treat headache. Some acupoints have the functions to move the fresh qi and blood to the pain areas and bring the blood stasis away. When the obstruction is removed away the new and fresh blood can move to pain areas to nourish the local areas.

Moving or Stationary Cupping can be used to treat headache. The cupping suction works deeply within the body by pulling the exhausted stagnated blood to the surface so that the fresh blood can move to nourish the local areas. Usually you will see the purple skin after cupping. Here the we consider the purple to be the blood stagnation.

Herbs are nature’s medicine to assist your body from the inside. Herbal prescriptions are made with several herbs together. These herbs will create chemical reactions inside and those chemical reactions will go to affect the vessels muscles as well as organs etc. And then body is going to give positive adjustments to fix the problems. It is going to treat whole body instead treating the parts.

There are some methods to relieve headache. For example shower can help to enlarge the vessels so that more blood moves to the head and to nourish the local area. One more way good to try is putting the head upside down so that blood can enrich the head and stop the pain. Avoiding the wind or cold is useful way to prevent headache especially due to weather change.

Learn more about Dr. Jiao “Alex” Huang

If you have questions about managing headaches, “WE” can help. Visit BodyMind Synergy, Your Place to get Better. 403.520.5258