Migraine is a common medical condition, especially among women. Western medicine considers migraine to be a result of alternating constriction and then expansion of blood vessels that run along the skull. The medications specifically designed for migraine, therefore, are aimed at relieving the dilation of the blood vessels. Some people get relief from these medicines while some do not.
Traditional Chinese Medicine looks at migraines very differently from Western medicine. Migraine is a result of Liver Qi excess. It is Dr. Loh's experience that migraines frequently precedes menstrual cycle in many women, and it is a part of an imbalance in the menstrual function. The observation of dilatation and spasm of the blood vessels made by Western Medicine is a result of the imbalance, not the cause of it.
The western medical community has taken note of how successful acupuncture is at treating many ailments, including migraines. A recent published study in The Lancet (March 2, 2006) showed that acupuncture is more effective at treating migraines than commonly-prescribed migraine medications.
In addition to hormonal influences caused by changes in the menstrual cycle, migraines can also be triggered by emotional distress. Often, this presentation occurs equally among both men and women. The treatment may be a bit different than for menstrual migraines, however, the results are equally satisfactory.
Usually, acupuncture can provide almost immediate relief of migraines, and the results are often long-lasting. However, one may need to have frequent follow up treatments in order to minimize the recurrence and decrease the severity of migraines. Dr. Loh will discuss with you the optimal maintenance treatment for your condition. Chinese herbal supplements may be beneficial to some patients.