Treating Migraine Headaches with Chinese Medicine

By: Alyson Adams, L.Ac., Dipl. O.M.

There are over 26 million Americans who suffer from chronic migraines. Often, these headaches can be debilitating and can limit people from maintaining activities in their daily schedules. Conventional medicine is often inconclusive as to locating the cause of migraine and is limited in its treatment. Pharmaceutical medicine can sometimes alleviate pain, but it often causes poor side effects and the medication is only masking symptoms temporarily.   

Chinese medicine and acupuncture have shown to be very effective at treating migraine headaches, when no other type of treatment offers any relief. In 2006 the largest study to date looking at acupuncture for the treatment of migraines was published in Lancet Neurology. This study examined nearly 1,000 patients over a 6 week period. Researchers found that 47 percent of people who received acupuncture had a reduction in migraine days by 50 percent. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can be used when a migraine is in an acute phase, or as a preventative medicine.

In my experience, I have seen many different types of triggers and patterns for migraines. Because each patient is unique, I am able to develop a personalized treatment plan for each person to address their particular concerns. Common triggers include hormonal patterns, stress, anxiety and food sensitivities. In Chinese medicine terms, I commonly see what is called Liver Qi stagnation. This is when stress or a blockage in the Qi flow in the body causes the energy to stagnate, and creates an upward counter-flow of qi to the head. 

With a regular acupuncture treatment plan, you can expect both a decrease in the amount of headaches and a decrease in severity. Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine can be used safely and effectively to rebalance the flow of energy in the body and prevent reoccurring migraines. The amount of treatments you will need to resolve your migraine headaches will be dependent on how long you have been suffering from them, and how your body responds to the medicine.

Alyson is accepting new patients at Healing Hands Chiropractic at Landmark Crossing, 25 Nashua Rd., Suite F2, Londonderry, NH 03053 on Thursdays 2-7PM. You may schedule an appointment with her by calling 603-434-3456 or online at

Turn Up the Health

Posted by: Dr. Jessica L. Caruso


When I first graduated from chiropractic college, I moved to New Hampshire to take on an associate position. While working under this other doctor, I learned a lot about how to explain the power of chiropractic and the miracle of the human body to both patients and prospective patients alike.

One particular analogy always stuck with me when explaining the difference between health and sickness. I would be in a room full of people with the door shut. I would tell the people that on the other side of the door all the lights were out in the hallway and the hallway was left in pitch darkness. I would then ask the group what would happen if I opened the door- would the light from the room we were in seep into the dark hallway and make the hallway brighter, or would the darkness from the hallway seep into the lit room and make it dimmer? Every time I would ask this question, the answer was always, “Of course the hallway would become brighter.” So I would ask “Why?” I would get all kinds of answers about the speed of light and so forth. But never once did I get the answer I was looking for. I would wonder if never getting the right answer was due to our societal mindset of “healthcare.” I would then go on to explain that darkness does not exist but is merely the absence of light…just like sickness does not exist but is merely the absence of health. In order to make the hallway brighter we need to turn up the lights, not go into the dark room and pick out the “dark spots”! So why aren’t we turning up the light in our bodies? Turning up the health is the answer, not taking out the dark spots; taking out the gallbladder, tonsils, female reproductive organs, whatever the surgery du jour or surgery trend of the decade is.

Too many people are ignoring the signs their bodies are sending them! We are all born with an innate intelligence. Our bodies all have the ability to heal. However, we need to provide the environment for that to occur optimally. If someone breaks their arm, and decides not visit the ER to get the bone set and cast, their arm will heal. However, it will not heal optimally. This may be a drastic example. Most people cannot ignore the fact that their arm is broken, so why are we ignoring all the other signs. Headaches…not a deficiency of Excedrine like the commercials want you to believe. Getting a headache is your body’s way of telling you there is something wrong, something’s out of balance and in a state of dis-ease. If your oil light in the car came on and you decided to take the fuse out so the light turned off, does that mean the problem is fixed? Or does it make more sense to check the oil?!! We need to start treating our bodies at least as well as we treat our vehicles.

Chiropractic, yoga, reiki, massage and a regular meditation practice are all ways of enhancing the ability to listen to your body and make the appropriate adjustments your body needs. Stop turning off the lights and start turning up the health.