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acupuncture and herbs for headaches
headaches benefit from acupuncture and herbs
Index to This Headache
  • Location of Headache
  • Herb Formula
  • Tongue Appearance
  • Similar Syndromes
  • Explanation of Mechanism
  • Other Symptoms
  • Applicable Diseases
  • Cautions and Warnings
  • Usage and Prognosis
  • How to Obtain this Formula

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  • radiating from neck
  • forehead
  • sinuses
  • behind the eyes
  • temples
  • one sided
  • top of the head

  • radiating from neck
  • Empty feeling (see fatigue)
  • Sharp pain fixed in location
  • With stiff shoulders (acute)
  • With stiff shoulders (chronic)
  • Throbbing
  • Heavy sensation
  • Dull pain (see fatigue)

  • stress
  • menopause
  • cold or damp weather
  • fatigue
  • PMS
  • dull and throbbing
  • during period
  • after period
  • dry windy weather
  • allergies
  • common cold
  • flu
  • standing upright
  • laying down

  • morning
  • the afternoon
  • the evening
  • sleep period
  • pre-dawn hours

  • cold hands and feet
  • hypothyroidism
  • frequent urination
  • prefers warm drinks
  • prefers cold drinks
  • often thirsty
  • night sweats
  • hot flashes
  • menopause
  • dry mouth or throat
  • better when laying down
  • when hungry
  • after period
  • high blood pressure

  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • lack of appetite
  • phlegm after eating
  • arthritis
  • physical trauma
  • purple beneath eyes
  • sharp pain fixed location
  • chills more than fever
  • fever more than chills
  • facial tics
  • testicular pain
  • Headaches due to Qi Stagnation

    Location of headache: usually temporal, one sided, may radiate to or originate from the back of the eyes.

    May also be associated with tight shoulders as the GB channel passes through the trapezius muscle.

    the shao yang headache

    Herb Formula: Jia Wei Xiao Yao San (sometimes called "Dan Zhi Xiao Yan San") (Augmented Rambling Powder)

    Tongue Appearance: Red dots in the liver area. Not all Qi stagnations lead to any changes in the tongue, but when they do, the changes often include red dots as the stagnation of Qi causes an internal heat due to the stagnation's friction. Because the organ in charge of ensuring the free-flow of Qi is the Liver, red dots will often appear in the Liver area of the tongue (one or both sides) as the Qi stagnates.  

    red dots in liver area  

    Another indication of Qi Stagnation may appear as a thicker tongue coating, often times in the middle or the rear of the tongue. This can indicate that the stagnation of Qi has compromised the intestine's ability to move their contents downward. Qi movement is required for intestinal peristalsis (or the squeezing action of the intestines to move their contents downward). When the food inside the intestines doesn't move well, it can give rise to dampness in the body which will manifest on the tongue with this thicker coating in the middle or rear of the tongue. Because stagnation causes heat, the coating will reflect this with a yellow color rather than the white which indicates cold.

    thick yellow tongue coating

    Also see:
    Aggravated by stress: Liver Wind
    Aggravated by menopause: Yin Deficiency
    One sided Headache: Liver Wind
    With years of stress: Blood Stagnation
    With endometriosis: Blood Stagnation
    With endometriosis: Phlegm
    With fibroids of the breast or uterus: Phlegm
    With fibroids of the breast or uterus: Blood Stagnation

    Explanation: for menstruating women, this formula works well for just about any problem that arises. Moodiness, irritability, or restlessness may be the most pronounced expression of the syndrome that this formula treats. The pathology here is that the Qi energy simply isn't moving very well in the body. This stagnation causes a kind of friction heat and wind that rises into the Gall Bladder meridian which transverses the side of the head. Where this heat and/or wind collects is where the headache occurs. In some cases, especially those associated with PMS, the heat or wind may rise up into the Liver meridian which connects to the back of the eyes, hence the sense that the headache originates or radiates to the back of the eyes. When the Qi doesn't circulate, the blood doesn't circulate either as the blood is said to be propelled by Qi as well as the pumping action of the heart. When this circulation is compromised, cold hands and feet can be the manifestation as is sharp abdominal pain or large clump blood flow during the period.

    This formula is indicated for just about any problem that arises as part of the premenstrual syndrome. This formula essentially does two things. It stimulates the flow of Qi and Blood which assists in initiating the menstrual flow, but it also regulates the digestion to make sure that more blood is created for the body. If your migraine or PMS headache is associated with any of the following symptoms, you'll do well with this formula. It also treats bloating, gas, diarrhea, pain below the ribs, breast distention, dizziness, dry mouth, dry throat, fatigue, depression, poor appetite, menstrual irregularities or pain.

    Stimulating digestion doesn't mean you'll gain weight. This formula will increase the appetite only when the appetite is adversely effected by Qi stagnation. When there is no appetite, it is likely that you're not metabolizing your food very well either, and this can quickly lead to anemia especially if the problem occurs during menstruation. Think of the appetite as a sign of metabolic processes. If you're not turning food into Qi and blood, you'll have no appetite either. If you have no appetite you have deficient metabolism and that is one reason that it is so easy to gain weight even though you may not be eating much. So, let's fix that digestion and metabolism so you can eat, become healthy and do it without ballooning outwards.

    Applicable diseases: Chronic hepatitis, irregular menstruation, PMS, uterine bleeding.

    Other symptoms: Just about anything that is aggravated by the period or the PMS time: moodiness, breast distension, bloating, diarrhea, etc.

    Cautions and warnings: This formula is fine to take anytime for anybody. It won't hurt you, but if you're not taking the right formula, it won't help you either.

    Usage and prognosis: This formula can be used all month long. Because it stimulates the flow of Qi and Blood, it is especially valuable before and during the period, but this formula also stimulates the digestion and creation of new blood which makes it an important part of the post period weeks. However, if you want to just take this formula for symptomatic relief of your PMS, that is absolutely fine. Qi stagnation is considered an "excess" condition which makes it quick and easy to treat successfully so you can simply take it when the symptoms arise. However the Blood deficiency that follows a heavy period (or a light one, if you're already anemic) can take longer to fix and it is suggested that if you do have a light period that you continue to take this formula all month long until your periods have more volume in the flow. In severe cases, you'll likely need to take this formula for a few months, at least.

    As for what denotes a light period, this can be described by either of the following three parameters. If the period flow last less than three days, that is light. If the color of the flow is pale or watery, that is light, and if the quantity of the flow is very light, that would obviously be a light period too. How much quantity is light? Unfortunately, that is difficult to say, as it seems the only way in which women talk about the quantity is in the number of pads or tampons they use, it varies somewhat. I'm going to have to leave up to you to decide what light is when it comes to flow quantity.

    How to obtain your formula: You can purchase the formula mentioned in this article by simply clicking on its name. Another option is to obtain this formula modified for your unique situation.

    Other locations to purchase this formula include your friendly neighborhood Chinese herb pharmacy. You'll likely need to live near a Chinatown to obtain your herbs there. They'll probably come in raw form (twigs, branches, etc.) and you'll have to take them home and cook them into a nasty tasting brew. This may provide the strongest medical efficacy, but it is also the most hassle.

    In some cases, the formulas that are described in these articles are available in premade capsule, tablet, or pill form. The name of the formula may be spelled or described slightly different, and I can't really anticipate how they'll end up looking on the package, but they too are out there, most frequently at those Chinese herb pharmacies, but often at health food stores or stores that target consumers of natural or organic products.

    Finally, acupuncture and TCM schools tend to carry a rather extensive stock of these kinds of herbal medicines. Most of them have a clinic for people to come in and get treatments. Here's a list of the schools, perhaps there is one near you... TCM schools. Here are some herb suppliers too, they may be able to provide you some help in locating your formula: Herb Suppliers.

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