A migraine headache is usually an intense throbbing or a pulsing sensation in one area of the head. It is commonly accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. Migraines in some patients are preceded or accompanied by aura, such as flashes of light and blind spots. Migraine attacks may last hours to days and can be very serious and prevent from performing work and daily activities.

Medications can help reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. If medications have not worked for your migraines or they caused side effects, you should consider trying acupuncture and alternative medical treatments.

  • A 2012 analysis of data on individual participants in acupuncture studies looked at migraine and tension headaches. The analysis showed that actual acupuncture was more effective than either no acupuncture or simulated acupuncture in reducing headache frequency or severity.
  • A 2009 systematic review of studies concluded that actual acupuncture, compared with simulated acupuncture or pain-relieving drugs, helped people with tension-type headaches. A 2008 systematic review of studies suggested that actual acupuncture has a very slight advantage over simulated acupuncture in reducing tension-type headache intensity and the number of headache days per month.
  • A 2009 systematic review found that adding acupuncture to basic care for migraines helped to reduce migraine frequency. However, in studies that compared actual acupuncture with simulated acupuncture, researchers found that the differences between the two treatments may have been due to chance.


In Dr. Xie’s Acupuncture Clinic, patients with migraines are treated with a protocol involving acupuncture, acupressure, Tui Na body work, magnet therapy, exercise, dietary therapy and Chinese herbs to manage the pain and decrease the frequency of attacks and / or prevent the future attacks. To all migraine patients we recommend muscle relaxation exercises and a headache diary that may help you identify specific triggers. The protocol treats the symptoms of migraine as well as the underlying causes, such as stress, muscle tightness, tension, poor nutrition and hormone imbalances that are some common triggers of migraines.