Acupuncture & Natural Health Solutions Newsletter
Providing Natural Health Care for the Entire Family
Headaches, Migraines and Acupuncture
Do you suffer from headaches? If so, you are not alone. Over 50 million of us experience some form of headache at some point in our lives. Whether you experience minor head pain or severe migraines, headaches can take valuable time out of your day and your life, and leave you searching for relief.
One option is to reach for pain relieving drugs and other pharmaceuticals. This usually works for the short term, and is usually successful in stopping a headache quickly once it has started. Unfortunately, these medications do not address the "root" causes(s) of the headaches. I guarantee you are not suffering from a deficiency of aspirin. Many of these medications, when used over long periods of time, can also cause unwanted side effects.
Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers a safe and effective approach to relieving headache pain, without causing harmful side effects. Chinese medicine incorporates a comprehensive diagnostic protocol that can help me, as your acupuncturist, to understand and address the "root" cause(s) of your headaches.
There are many factors in TCM theory that may play a key role in the root cause(s) of a headache. These factors include body constitution, emotional health, excessive work, work atmosphere and conditions, social and exercise activities, improper diet, food allergies, physical trauma and hormone imbalance that can occur during pregnancy or menopause. Headaches can also be diagnosed according to specific symptoms, times of occurrence, location on the head, type of pain, headache triggers and remedies which provide relief.
Acupuncture & TCM take a whole body approach to health. At the time of your first acupuncture visit, I will determine what root causes are contributing to the headaches/migraines. This will allow me to identify the type of headaches you are experiencing. By identifying and treating the underlying causes, not just treating the symptoms, I am then able to apply the most effective treatment strategy.
A key part of acupuncture and TCM is the concept of Qi. Qi (pronounced "chee") is the vital energy that animates the body and protects it from illness. It flows through pathways in the body, similar to blood vessels and the nervous system, called meridians. The flow of Qi through the meridians provides nourishment to all of the body's organs. When there is an imbalance or blockage in the flow of Qi, physical symptoms may result. Qi stagnation is one of the possible causes of your headaches.
During an acupuncture treatment, fine sterile needles will be inserted at specific points along the meridian pathways, in order to restore the balance and flow of Qi. Based on your unique symptoms, I will choose to concentrate on acupuncture points related to your specific diagnosis. Afterwards, a variety of self-care techniques may be prescribed to further expedite your healing process.
It is important to remember that acupuncture is not a "quick fix". Changes may occur quickly or over a longer period of time, depending upon your overall constitution and health. It is also important to closely follow self care recommendations that I may recommend. Whether it is one visit to address a migraine that you have currently, or several visits to address a chronic problem, I will create a treatment protocol that will maximize your healing potential.
Below are a few ways that you can participate in your own healing, by making simple lifestyle changes that may help soothe, or even prevent, headache pain.
Track those triggers:
Try to keep track of when your headaches start. Migraine sufferers may find it especially helpful to keep a diary of symptoms and possible causes. Triggers might include anything from eating chocolate, to anxiety, or inhaling specific smells. Pinpointing these triggers, and avoiding them when possible, could help.
Stress puts a lot of strain on the body and can contribute to many types of health concerns, including headaches. Exploring healthy ways to handle stress, such as meditation, breathing exercises, yoga, walking, or a nice hot epsom salt bath are all great ways to reduce the effects of stress on the body.
Physical activity is an important part of any healthy lifestyle, and it is also a great antidote to stress. I can help recommend types of exercise that may work best for you.
Making minor changes can make a big difference in your overall health and vitality. Do your best to eat healthy, organic foods and make sure you are getting enough sleep every night.
There is no reason to suffer any longer. Acupuncture care is extremely effective in reducing the frequency and severity of many types of painful conditions, including headache and migraine pain. Call my office today, 239-260-4566, or go online, www.AcupunctureSolutionsOnline.com to schedule an acupuncture appointment. I look forward to working together soon to get you on your way toward a healthier, happier, pain-free life.
Commit... Then Follow Through
Let's get right to the point. There is no magic bullet, the easy way out is the wrong way, and quick fixes never stand the test of time. We all know this to be true yet, astoundingly, we have been led to believe the exact opposite when it comes to our health and well-being.
Medicine has become our magic elixir, our get-out-of-jail-free card. Why exercise your bones and joints when you can pop a pill instead?
Sure you risk abdominal cramping and bone death, but at least you don't have to get off the couch. Hair loss, obesity, short temper, shyness, itchy skin, dry eyes... You can bet that whatever ails you, no matter how trivial, there is a pill marketed for it.
The reason acupuncture continues to thrive for the past 2,500 years, even at times in the face of fierce opposition, is because it is built on solid, lasting, time-tested principles and theories.
The health of your body is in direct proportion to the health of how your bodies innate healing energies travel throughout your meridian system. Energy flows throughout your body by way of an intricate network of pathways called the meridian system.
Taking migraine medicine for a headache requires that your body not only fight the cause of the migraine, but now also the dangerous chemicals you are dumping into it. We have essentially been trained to put out a fire by dousing it with gasoline.
We have been led to believe that the work that the body has been accomplishing over thousands of years with amazing efficiency is suddenly no longer possible in the absence of drugs.
As much as we tend to overcomplicate it, staying healthy is really pretty simple. Getting well requires that we optimize the function and flow of energy within our meridian system and then maintain its integrity to allow the body to do what it was created to do.
The reason that so many of us struggle with our health is because as simple as the concept is, actually following through requires a high level of commitment and necessitates specific action steps on a daily basis.
Everyone knows the formula for losing weight is to cut out the bad calories, watch your portions, and exercise daily, but few people can commit to following through. It's easier to look for the pill that requires no work output or the exercise video that promises miracles after 2 weeks, or to simply give into temptation.
Your body is a masterpiece and it requires consistent attention and respect. If you're ready to make the commitment to getting well - not just feeling better through artificial means, but truly getting well - then welcome aboard!
We'll do everything we can to help you get there.
Tom Kha Soup
Tom Kha soup is a dish from Thailand. It might possibly my most favorite dish ever. The richness of the coconut milk mingles with the tartness of the lemongrass in a base of super delicious bone broth soup. It just tastes so darn good!
We make a big batch of this soup once a week and eat it numerous times throughout the week. When we have dinner guests or bring food to folks (because of injury or recent birth) we generally serve this soup. And we always hear people ranting and raving.
We love to eat this soup in the winter time as part of our medicine cabinet to keep our immune systems strong throughout the winter and to avoid getting upper respiratory infections like colds and the flu.
It is packed full of powerful immune herbs and spicy warming herbs that are perfect for the cold winter months.
There are lots of Tom Kha recipes out there, I hope you enjoy this version which has a few more local veggies than what you'll typically see in these recipes. Soups beg to be altered so experiment away!
Before we get to the recipe here's a bit more information about the yummy herbs in this soup.
Health benefits of the herbs in it:
Lemongrass is a prominent spice in Thai cooking. It has an aromatic, lemony scent and taste... but also has something so much more. I find it hard to describe myself but I recently heard someone describe it as a lemony pepper taste with a hint of rose.
Besides its seductive taste, lemongrass is a powerful medicinal herb. It is used for fevers, for digestive complaints and for headaches.
It makes a delicious tea. I often add small amounts to other tea blends simply because I love the taste of it so much.
The oil of lemongrass is referred to as citronella and is commonly used as an insect repellent.
This recipe calls for fresh lemongrass. If you can't find it fresh, you can also make a strong tea out of dried lemongrass for a similar taste. I would try two heaping tablespoons of lemongrass in 8 ounces of just boiled water. Let sit for 10 minutes, then strain and add the water to the soup.
Cilantro is often thought of as simply garnish for guacamole, but this is yet another unassuming plant that is disguised as potent medicine.
Before I go on I know someone out there is thinking, "yuck! I hate cilantro." It's true people seem to either adore cilantro or detest it. If you think cilantro tastes like soap, then it's probably not your fault! Some people genetically lack the ability to taste the flavor that most people love in cilantro. Concurrently they also have a stronger reaction to another flavor within cilantro. If you don't like cilantro, feel free to omit it from the soup.
Cilantro is loaded with antioxidants and is an aromatic carminative herb that is great for promoting digestion. My teacher, Michael Tierra recommends strong cilantro tea or cilantro pesto for stubborn urinary tract infections.
Garlic is a strong antimicrobial herb that stimulates circulation and boosts the immune system. Just eating one fresh clove a day (not bulb, clove) can deliver powerful health benefits such as supporting good cholesterol ratios and promoting digestion.
Ginger is a spicy herb that can promote digestion, quell nausea, lessen headaches, reduce pain, fight intestinal infections, and shorten the duration of a cold or flu. Ginger is one of my most reached for herbs simply because it does so much and it does it so well!
I adore shitake mushrooms, so I love piling them in the soup until it looks like I am eating shitake mushroom soup! Shitakes are a wonderful food for the immune system. They have been studied extensively for preventing and treating cancer.
- 32 fluid oz bone broth soup
- 3 cans regular coconut milk (look for BPA free coconut milk)
- 2 big stalks lemongrass, sliced in large pieces
- 4 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons tamari
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 4 tablespoons lime juice
- 4 tablespoons minced ginger
- 8 cloves minced garlic
- 1 pack skinless chicken thighs, cubed in very small pieces (sometimes we use salmon instead)
- 8 ounces shitake mushrooms, sliced
- 1 bunch bok choy, chopped
- 1 bunch of kale chopped
- 1 bunch green onions
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 1 tablespoon green thai curry paste
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped (leave the stems in!)
- Heat the bone broth and coconut milk in a large, heavy bottomed pan.
- Once the liquids are heated you can add the fish sauce, tamari, apple cider vinegar, lime juice, ginger and garlic.
- Bring broth to a slow simmer, make sure it doesn't boil, and do not cover it during cooking.
- When the broth is simmering, add the chicken, mushrooms, bok choy, kale, green onions, carrots and green curry paste.
When the chicken is fully cooked and the carrots are tender, add the cilantro. After a minute, taste the soup and add some lime juice if desired.
Your tom kha soup is ready to serve! A cilantro and red pepper garnish is a nice touch.
This recipe makes a lot of soup. Perhaps 8 - 12 servings. It makes great left overs!
The information contained within the
newsletter is only used to educate and inform. This newsletter is
not a substitute for the advice of a licensed and registered health
care provider. Seek prompt attention for emergencies. Consult
a health care provider for specific health concerns, and before
starting a diet, cleanse or exercise routine.