Image Alt


Migraines: How Can Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture Help?

Migraines: How Can Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture Help?

Migraines are usually moderate or severe headaches felt as a throbbing pain on 1 side of the head. Many people also have symptoms such as feeling sick, being sick and increased sensitivity to light or sound.

Migraine Awareness Week is a campaign to spread awareness on the treatment of migraines from 5th – 11th September. Migraine is a common health condition, affecting around 1 in every 5 women and around 1 in every 15 men. They usually begin in early adulthood and can be extremely debilitating. However, Chinese medicine may be able to get to the root of the problem.

From the perspective of Chinese Medicine, migraines can be caused by internal and external factors. For internal factors, common patterns of migraine are liver Qi deficiency, liver blood deficiency and blood stagnation. Chronic conditions caused by functional disorders of the kidneys, liver and spleen can also result in migraines as well.

Migraines can also be caused by psychological factors such as stress and emotion. Stress can have physical and emotional influences on the body, which are thought to influence migraines. TCM treatment aims to treat not only the migraine symptoms, but the root cause of the illness.

Chinese Herbs for Migraines

Migraine due to internal factors:

For liver Qi deficiency: Xiao Yao Wan

For liver blood deficiency: Si Wu Tang

For blood stagnation: Tong Qiao Huo Xue Tang

Migraine due to external factors:

For wind cold: Chuan Xiong, Jing Jie and Fang Feng

For wind heat: Chuan Xiong, Bai Zhi and Ju Hua

For wind dampness: Qiang Huo, Du Huo and Chuan Xiong


Other herbs:

Yan Hu Suo: can be used to treat migraines in Chinese medicine. Studies suggest that an alkaloid found in corydalis, is effective to relieve pain.

Xiao Bai Ju: commonly used in treating migraine and its accompanying symptoms such as nausea, anxiety, pain, dizziness, light and sound sensitivity.

Hou Po: the bark of Magnolia officinalis, a flowering tree that is native to China. It has been used to treat fever, headache, muscle pain and stress in Chinese medicine.

Acupuncture for Migraines

According to the World Health Organization, acupuncture has been proved through controlled trials, to be an effective treatment for headache. Studies suggest that acupuncture can reduce the frequency of headache in people suffering from migraines. People who receive acupuncture experience a reduction in migraine days, frequency, and intensity. Some headache specialists believe that acupuncture should be the first choice of treatment for migraines.

Some of the acupuncture points which help to treat migraine are located on the head. You can recommend stimulating acupressure points for patients suffering from migraines:

  • Yintang (EXTRA 2/M-HN-3)
  • Baihui (GV20)
  • Fengchi (GB20)
  • Hegu (LI4)


If you would like any further advice regarding the above information, please contact us via

Disclaimer: Please note that this information is intended to assist those who practice Chinese medicine.