The main attraction to any Wellness Based Medicine disciplines like Acupuncture, Naturopathic Medicine, Nutritional Therapy, etc., for me is that their approach to care is centered around each individual patient. Unlink Allopathic Medicine, which is mostly focused on treating conditions, we focus on individual patients and their unique symptom manifestations from that condition. Therefore, our treatment for any condition (including a migraine headache) varies from patient to patient.
Let's focus on one aspect of Classical Chinese Medicine for the treatment of migraine headaches: acupuncture. Although there are many well known acupuncture points recommended in treatment of Migraine headaches, they can (and most likely will) be used in conjunction with other acupuncture points to address the greater underlying imbalance observed in that case. I often use the example of cooking with different food ingredients to explain this to my patients. You can create many different recipes from 6 or 7 basic ingredients by adding different ingredients & spices, or by changing the cooking temperature, time, implementing order, and many other subtle factors. The same phenomenon is accurate when it come to an acupuncture treatment. You can create many different therapeutic effects by using only a handful of acu-points when using them on different individuals, in a different order, with a different insertion technique and retention time, or you can couple them with other relevant points to encourage the right synergy and create a healing effect on the patient. From Western Allopathic Medicine, a migraine is usually categorized as a severe headache and is mostly treated with heavy dose of pain medication. This approach, although relevant since the patient needs to get a relief from their severe headache, is not sustainable in the long run. I interview patients at my office on a regular basis who are receiving this type of care to treat their symptoms for months or years. When any medicine is prescribed in this fashion, we refer to it as "suppressive therapy", which is not a sustainable (nor healthy) approach in a long run.
At 2bwell, we try to find the root cause of the conditions we treat. The main reason to have several different providers offering different modalities of Wellness Based Medicine is to collaborate and create a long-term treatment program for the patients, while simultaneously addressing the immediate needs related to their chief complaint. I sometimes team up with one of our naturopaths, or refer the patient to receive Massage or Nutritional Therapy in conjunction with my care, in order to create a comprehensive treatment approach.
Acupuncture is very effective in controlling headache symptoms and, in most cases, eliminating them within few minutes. However, if used only to control the symptoms when they are acute, the approach will be as same as using a prescription medication, although its much safer and has no side effects. We always consider the long-term welfare of our patients; therefore we ask them to stick to a certain treatment program for few weeks to be able to understand and truly address their issue from its root cause. In the case of migraine headaches, we usually see patients when it's active and at an acute stage, thus our immediate focus will be using acupuncture to reduce and control their symptoms. But we also start asking questions about their lifestyle, food and nutrition, stressors in their life, hormonal cycles, and many other relevant questions in order to get to know them and understand their condition better.
With this type of multifaceted and comprehensive approach, I have been successfully treating and managing many patients with debilitating migraine headaches over the past 20 years. Please contact the front desk to make a free consultation appointment with me, or feel free to write to me personally.
Siamak F. Shirazi, LAc, DOM
Founder / Director - 2bwell Group