Dealing with migraine headaches is not only painful but disrupts your lifestyle and routine as well, with symptoms sometimes lasting from hours to days. If you suffer from migraines, you might opt to use medications to reduce the pain and to be able to participate in day-day activities without interruptions. However, you may also choose to look beyond medication and seek alternatives other than medicine in order to relieve the discomfort.
Alternative migraine treatments are sought out for a variety of reasons. You may find that conventional medicines do not work well or cause undesirable side effects, or you may want to complement the medication with a holistic approach as well. Or you might simply prefer to avoid medications to align with personal health and wellness values, or just don’t have access to conventional medications due to insurance coverage or other medical conditions. No matter the reason, there are many holistic approaches and alternatives to ease the discomfort of migraines.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
One way that migraines can be treated holistically is by implementing Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). This form of alternative treatment has been used to treat migraines for centuries and typically involves a combination of acupuncture, cupping, and herbal medicines specifically made to soothe migraines.
The most common form of TCM treatment, acupuncture inserts needles into specific areas of the body in order to relax the muscles that cause migraines. Acupuncture is believed to regulate the nervous system, reduce inflammation, and promote the release of natural pain-relieving chemicals in the body. Studies have shown that this practice may be effective in treating migraines.
Cupping is another form of TCM and is sometimes used to help treat migraines. The practice involves creating suction on the skin using glass, plastic, or silicone cups. During a cupping treatment, the cups are placed on specific points on the body, typically the neck, shoulders, or back. The suction created by the cups draws blood to the surface of the skin. Cupping can help relax the body, release muscle tightness, improve blood flow, and increase oxygen in the blood
There are migraine-specific herbal medicines used to alleviate migraine symptoms. The herbs used in Chinese medicine are typically combined in formulas that are tailored to the individual’s specific symptoms and constitution. Some of the best herbs to use include fu ling and chuan xiong. Herbs can be consumed through teas, capsules, or powders.
However, before using any Chinese medicinal herbs for migraines, it is important to consult with a qualified TCM practitioner. That way they can assess your individual situation and determine the best herbs and dosages for your needs.
To explore the root causes of your migraine attacks, it could be worthwhile to have a one-on-one session with a physiotherapist. This is especially true if your migraines are associated with neck and shoulder tension. Identifying what is causing the migraines is the best way to find out how to treat them.
Physiotherapy can help with adjusting posture, stress management, relaxing the muscles, and increasing their strength to avoid recurring pain. Attending physiotherapy sessions regularly and doing exercises at home will help maintain an improved posture and strengthen muscles, thus inhibiting the muscles that make migraines worse.
There are many potential migraine triggers caused by stress, tension, and poor posture that you might have not considered. These may be causing your migraines and can be addressed and improved with the help of skilled physiotherapists.
Applied Thai Traditional Medicine
Applied Thai Traditional Medicine (ATTM) is a holistic healthcare system that integratestraditional Thai medicine together with Chinese, Ayurvedic and Western medicine. There is a fair amount of medical literature discussing ATTM as an effective way to relieve migraine pain.
Acupressure is one form of ATTM and can release tension in tight muscles. It involves applying pressure to specific points on the body, known as acupoints, with the aim of stimulating the body’s natural healing mechanisms.
A herbal compress is another way to implement Applied Thai Traditional Medicine into your holistic approach. The herbal compress is a cloth ball filled with a blend of herbs that are chosen for their therapeutic properties and is used to relax the muscles and stimulate blood circulation. During a herbal compress session, the compress is heated using steam or hot water and then applied to specific areas of the body, often along acupressure points.
Migraine is a complex condition that can be caused by a variety of factors, including stress, muscle tension, and imbalances in the body. Adopting a holistic approach that incorporates multiple treatment modalities can be particularly beneficial in addressing the various underlying causes of migraines.
We adopt a team-based approach to work together, focusing on dividing tasks that are best for the customer and addressing their specific pain points, so that they can return to the activities they love. For instance, I once had a client with migraines who came in for physical therapy. Through our assessment, we determined that Chinese medicine could be a complementary treatment option.
Our protocol involved starting with Chinese medicine to relax the muscles and reduce pain, before moving on to physical therapy. Combining Chinese medicine and physiotherapy together helped strengthen the patient’s muscles, and proved highly effective over time, enabling the patient to resume their daily life with no migraine pain.
How Can Form Recovery and Wellness Help?
Migraines are a painful condition that affects an estimated 10% of people all over the world. Conventional medications and medicines are often first thought of when starting to treat migraines, however, it is important to note that those are not your only options.
Our team-based approach at Form Recovery and Wellness is a valuable resource for anyone suffering from migraine pain. The combination of physiotherapy and traditional Chinese medicine, along with Applied Thai Traditional Medicine, can help create an effective and personalized treatment plan. The expertise of the entire team working together ensures that each case is evaluated from multiple angles, giving you a better chance of finding relief from migraine pain. Contact us today to find out how we can help!
Kodchakorn (Ked) Tawonsupajalean
Head Therapist at Form Recovery and Wellness
Kodchakorn received a Degree in Physiotherapy from Mae Fah Luang Univeristy in Chiang Rai. Kodchakorn is the Head Therapist at Form Recovery and Wellness and works closely with all the therapists from all departments to ensure that every single client who comes to us has the highest chance of success.