Up until I turned 38 years of age, I’d never had a headache, EVER! Not a dull one or a pounding one, nothing. I had no idea what a headache or migraine felt like. Lucky me, you say? 

Well, it all changed that year. I remember the feeling, I was teaching one evening, when I felt unwell. My head started pounding, the bright lights really bothered me, every noise was too loud & I felt nauseated and hot. I managed to finish the class and drove home. On my way, I had to make an emergency stop to vomit on the side of the road. 

By the time I came home, I was having alternating chills and feverish symptoms, and a pounding head. I sat on the bathroom floor and continued to vomit for the next 3 hours. Then I laid in bed, trying not to move (so the nausea would stay at bay), and finally managed to fall asleep 4 hours later. 

The next day I was back to my healthy self. I thought it must have been a virus, and it had been kind of cool to have experienced my first Shao Yang syndrome.

Within the next few years, it got progressively worse. I had these Shao Yang migraines every few months, then monthly, then twice/month and eventually weekly. 

And with the increase in frequency, came the search for the cause. In order for me to get rid of them, I NEEDED to find the root cause. After all, I’m trained in TCM, this is what we do!

Because these migraines started later in my life, and most of them were initially the 1st day of my period, I thought I’d check my hormones level to see if peri-menopause was the culprit. My progesterone and testosterone were very low. Ah! Got you! I was also diagnosed by a TCM practitioners with a Kd Yang def. and LV Blood def. 

I had found the cause! Or so I thought!

Over the years, I tried it all! Herbs, acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments, natural progesterone cream, change of diet, etc… 🙁

And everything I did made my migraines better…for a while. But they always came back. They ruined many days with me having to sit in a dark room for 6 hours until the symptoms stopped. I HATE taking medications (yep, I’m stubborn that way), and just kept on suffering. Aren’t medical professionals the worse patients? Guilty as charged!

This past December, I went to France to visit my family. 

When I came back, I realized the whole time I was in France I didn’t get a migraine. What did I do different there? 

My mom had stopped drinking coffee recently because it was giving her heart burn. So I drank herbal tea with her, instead of our regular French coffee. OMG! It HAD to be the coffee!

That’s when I realized, I had never drank coffee in my entire life until I was introduced to Mochas (the big Starbucks craze had just hit Canada!), at about 37 years old. I absolutely loved the taste. I quickly switched to lattes to avoid the extra sugar. But I embraced my morning ritual of an espresso drink. Daily! About a year later, I developed my first migraine.

Never made the connection before! 

I haven’t had coffee for almost 6 month now, and haven’t had a migraine since before I went to France! Gone! Vanished! Wow! I’m so grateful for having finally found the root cause! Almost 13 years later!

I believe TCM is fantastic for headaches and migraines, I see it’s amazing benefits in my practice on a regular basis. Especially if lack of sleep, emotional or physical stress are the reasons. But sometimes, all the herbs & acupuncture in the world, may not be enough, if the root cause if not addressed. This is the foundation of Chinese medicine at its core. 

Did you know 1 billion (yep BILLION!) people worldwide suffer from migraines? 1 out of 20 children is affected, and women are affected 3 times more than men. 

Causes of migraines range from hormonal imbalances, food sensitivities, lack of sleep, stress, emotions, exhaustion and so many others. That’s why it takes time to figure out what the trigger is. 

Below are the basic TCM Treatment Protocols for Headaches and Migraines. I hope they’re useful to you. 

Keep rocking using TCM,
TCM Geek


Basic TCM Treatment Protocols for Headaches

Acupuncture rocks when it comes to headaches!
Cold or warm packs may also help relieve the pain.
– Ginger, peppermint oil or rosemary are also a great addition, as well as magnesium rich foods such as almonds, spinach and avocados.
Best points for headache depending on the location:
Vertex (Du 20, Bl 7, Lv 2)
Frontal (St 44, St 8, Du 23, Yin Tang)
Temporal (Gb 20, Gb 43, Tai Yang)
Occipital (Gb 20, Bl 10, Bl 60).

Acupuncture for headaches


Basic TCM Treatment Protocols for Migraines

– Causes & triggers: genetic, emotions, physical or emotional stress, hormones imbalance, food (MSG, alcohol, cold cuts, cheeses, eggs, wheat, chocolate, bananas), high altitude, change in weather or barometer pressure, strong odours, sitting in front of a computers for hours, WiFi…
– Symptoms: pain may be one sided or the whole head, attack may last hours or days, nausea, vomiting & photophobia are common symptoms.
– Diet: Magnesium rich foods, ginger, 
Feverfew leaves, and rosemary.

Acupucnture for migraines



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