I had a recent patient who came to see me in Aldershot who had been suffering from migraines for the last 3 years. She had initially seen her GP and then referred to a neurology consultant. Scans and blood tests revealed nothing to indicate any issues that could be causing the migraines and various drugs had no effect. The consultant was unable to provide a diagnosis or prognosis but suggested trying pregablin as a last resort though there was no treatment path identified.

So how does a practitioner trained in Chinese medicine approach this issue? The first and most important principle that guides diagnosis and then treatment, is that all aspects of the patients health are considered, hence the term ‘holistic’. Diet, emotions and physical symptoms are all areas where detailed questions are asked. From this a unique ‘pattern’ is identified that then guides the subsequent treatments. For example, one of the common patterns in migraines in Chinese medicine is rising heat (yang). Heat can be present for a number of reasons – systemic depletion, feeling frustrated, angry, stressed, spicy food, chocolate, coffee. So in this case the treatment approach is to clear heat and nourish the system (with acupuncture) and to eliminate further heat developing in the system by introducing cooling foods and relaxation techniques. This is a great example of how practitioner and patient work together to address the underlying cause of the migraines.

Of course this takes time, but the aim is to equip the patient with the knowledge to take control of their own health and make lasting change. The result? One migraine during 3 months of treatment, from one every fortnight and the patient going off all prescribed medication.

I practice Chinese medicine in clinics covering Aldershot, Farnborough, Camberley and Farnham – 07913 008 084.