Acupuncture for headaches can reduce your symptoms

If you have lots of headaches, that’s no fun at all. So it makes sense that you’re interested in acupuncture for headaches. The good news is that the evidence base is now strong that acupuncture can provide real relief, for both migraines and tension headaches.

Headache symptoms

It might seem like a simple problem, but headache symptoms can be very diverse. For example they can include:

  • Aching, throbbing, pressure or sharp pain
  • At your temples, behind your eyes, behind your forehead, to the rear of your head, or throughout your head
  • On one or both sides of your head

Your headaches may be better or worse:

  • At certain times of the day
  • In certain weather
  • With certain foods
  • With stress
  • With exercise
  • At certain points in your menstrual cycle
  • Etc

In addition they may be accompanied by:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Visual disturbances
  • Eye pain
  • Sensitivity to sound and light
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Neck and shoulder tension

Which type of headache?

The three most common kinds of primary headaches are:

  • Migraines – if you’ve got these, you probably know all about it! Pulsing pain in your head, which can go on for days, may be accompanied by nausa, vomiting and visual disturbances. You may become very sensitive to bright light or loud sounds. You may be completely debilitated while it lasts. Different people may have different triggers, but they may include certain foods, hormonal shifts, sleep disruption or exposure to chemicals. Read my blog post here about the research showing that acupuncture for headaches can be a cost-effective way of preventing migraines.
  • Tension headaches – these usually give you a dull ache in your whole head, and your neck and shoulders or other parts of your head may feel tense and be sore when you touch them. Stress is a common trigger. Read my blog post here about how acupuncture for headaches can help. The research is positive for both treating and preventing chronic tension headaches.
  • Cluster headaches – again, if you’ve got these, you’ll know about it! You will suffer a severe burning pain, on one side of your head. You may get swelling, redness, tears in your eyes and/or nasal congestion on that side too. Typically each headache won’t last more than three hours, but they’ll recur over a period of time. These headaches are more common at certain times of the year, and more common in men.

Is medication causing your headache?

A lot of progress has been made in recent years in recognising that in some people your headaches are being CAUSED by taking painkillers regularly. As a result these are known as ‘medication overuse headaches‘ or ‘rebound headaches’.

Consequently, even though medication may temporarily relieve this kind of headache, the strain on your body of processing the drug has reached the stage where taking the medication may now be the main driver of your ongoing headaches.

Headaches as a danger sign

Most headaches are not an indicator of another, more serious, underlying disease. When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras!

However you should consider seeking medical attention urgently if you have a strong headache accompanied by a rash, fever, neck stiffness, the worst headache you’ve ever had, vomiting, confusion, slurred speech, paralysis and/or loss of vision.

But hopefully your headaches fall outside this category. Still, if they don’t respond to pharmaceutical treatment, acupuncture for headaches, or other commonly useful approaches, I would definitely recommend to get them checked out by your doctor.

Acupuncture for headaches

The evidence base for acupuncture treatment of all kinds of health conditions is at different stages of evolution. Happily, for migraines and tension headaches, a good body of evidence has now built up. In short, we can say with confidence that acupuncture for headaches can bring real benefits.

Book your appointment for acupuncture for headaches

To see how acupuncture for headaches may be able to help you, just get in touch.


Image by photosforyou from Pixabay

The cost of acupuncture in Perth

What is the cost of acupuncture in Perth? After years practising in London, I researched this question before I set up my acupuncture clinic in Leederville.

Most websites don’t tell you their cost of acupuncture, but here’s a snapshot of what I did find.

Cost of acupuncture in Perth

LocationInitial appointmentOngoing appointment
East Perth $110 $100
Fremantle $105-$125
(60-90 mins)
$90
(45-60 mins)
Northbridge$80
(60 mins)
$65
(40 mins)
North Perth $90
(80 mins)
$80
(50 mins)
Midland (1)$50$50
Midland (2)$90$70
Range$50-125
(60-90 mins)
$50-100
(40-60 mins)

So that’s a lot of variation! What are some of the reasons for that?

Extra charges at some clinics

Well, one question is what is included within your appointment. In my clinic I provide whatever you need during your treatment, at no extra charge. As well as acupuncture, that may include cupping, electroacupuncture, gua sha or moxa treatment.

Some of the clinics above charge extra for these though.

LocationExtra charges
Fremantle $20 extra for cupping
Midland (1)$25 extra for cupping
Midland (2)$25 extra for cupping
$25 extra for gua sha
Northbridge $30 extra for cupping
$15 extra for moxibustion

So it may be that once you start adding on these extras, a lower priced appointment may not end up saving you money.

Individual attention

Another variable is whether you get the acupuncturist’s undivided attention. Some practitioners will run two treatment rooms at once, and while you lie with your needles in, they’ll start their consultation with their other patient in the other room. (So then it makes sense that they need to charge extra to do a service like cupping where they will remain in the room with you.)

Further down this path, some practitioners operate in multi-bed clinics, where numerous treatment couches are set up in a large space, and patients are treated alongside each other. This can be a great way of reaching out with low cost acupuncture to those parts of the community that might not otherwise be able to access treatment.

Part of what I enjoy about my work is being fully present with each person I see during the day. If you come to me you will get my undivided attention throughout your treatment.

How long is the appointment?

You can see from my research above that it varies a lot how long each practitioner will spend with you. There’s a really wide range of styles of acupuncture, and a really wide range of how acupuncturists approach their practice.

Some clinics allocate 30 minutes for an ongoing appointment. With a shorter appointment like this, the focus may be very tightly on your main complaint – your sore elbow, say. And if your needles are going to be in for 20 minutes, and you’ll need a few minutes to disrobe and robe, get comfortable on the couch, and for the practitioner to set up and clear the room at the start and finish, the time allocated to ongoing consultation with you about your health will be relatively brief.

In my practice I allow up to 90 mins for each first appointment, and 45 minutes for ongoing appointments, to give time to comprehensively explore your health, review cause and effect within your overall wellbeing, and identify all the ways in which acupuncture may be able to help you.

How many treatments will you need?

Well! That’s a question you’ll need to ask your practitioner. What I would say though, is that it’s best to think in terms of at least 4-6 treatments.

How often will you need to have treatment?

Again, different clinics may have different approaches to this.

For most people who come to me, I recommend weekly treatment initially. This is often for the first 2-3 weeks, then when you are feeling well for the full week between appointments, we stretch them out to every two weeks. When you’re feeling well for the full two weeks between appointments, we stretch them out to monthly.

But of course this is subject to what’s practical for you. Having treatment should never become a source of stress in itself!

The cost of acupuncture in Perth compared to the eastern states

By a lucky hap, a colleague in Melbourne has just done a survey on the cost of acupuncture across Australia.

Prices were similar to what I found in Perth:

  • $81-$130 for a first appointment
  • $70-100 for an ongoing appointment
  • Average prices were a little lower in outer suburbs or rural areas
  • There wasn’t generally a pricing difference between newly qualified practitioners and those with years of experience
  • Practitioners who are running a second treatment room and seeing two patients at once, or who have shorter appointments, don’t necessarily charge their patients less

And there’s a nice table towards the bottom of his article which flags up the full range of the help you are likely to receive from your acupuncturist, beyond just the needling. As well as modalities like cupping and moxa treatment, many practitioners (and I am one of them) are routinely utilising the wisdom of traditional Chinese medicine to provide dietary and lifestyle advice.

Cost of acupuncture with me

I charge $120 for your first appointment, and I ask you to allow up to 90 minutes. Ongoing appointments are $80 and up to 45 minutes.

So, which should you pick?

I wouldn’t say there’s a better and a worse version amongst all this. Cheaper may not be better. More expensive may not be better either. It’s all about a good fit. I think you’ll be drawn to the practitioner who has the right approach for you:

  • Some people want a quick appointment and a sharp focus.
  • Or you may really value having the time to be heard, and for your health to be comprehensively explored and holistically supported.

If you’re in that second group, then I may be the perfect practitioner for you, and I will look forward to hearing from you.

How can you book?

Just get in touch!


Image by Nattanan Kanchanaprat from Pixabay

Acupuncture in Noranda – half price until 16 Dec 2019

Make an appointment for acupuncture in Noranda, and receive your first treatment at half price treatment!

After years of experience in the UK I am finally registered to practice in Australia, and you can now book in to see me at the Noranda Chiropractic Centre, working with the fantastic team there.

For my first month in Noranda, to help get my practice off to a lively start, you can book in to see me at half price for your first treatment.

Where & when?

Until 16 December 2019.

At Noranda Chiropractic Centre, 6/36 Benara Rd, Noranda WA 6062 , on Mondays.

How much?

Your first appointment will be 60-90 mins, to give time for a detailed discussion of your health as well as your first treatment. From mid-December the cost will be $120, but currently it’s $60.

Ongoing treatments are 45 minutes and $80.

Why?

It’s a total bargain! Acupuncture is wonderful, and you can receive the help you need from a qualified and experienced practitioner, at a fraction of the normal price.

How?

Just get in touch to book your first appointment.

Half price acupuncture in Leederville until 13 November 2019

Make an appointment for acupuncture in Leederville within the next few weeks, and receive half price treatment!

After years of experience in the UK I am finally registered to practice in Australia, and I am completing some required supervised practice.

To help me complete this, you can currently book in at half price.

Where & when?

Wednesdays, until 13 November 2019.

At Leederville Chiropractic Clinic, 614 Newcastle St, Leederville WA 6007.

How much?

Your first appointment will be 60-90 mins, to give time for a detailed discussion of your health as well as your first treatment. After I finish my supervised practice the cost will be $120, but currently it’s $60.

Ongoing treatments are 45 minutes and will be $80, but currently $40.

Why?

It’s a total bargain! Acupuncture is wonderful, and you can receive the help you need from a qualified and experienced practitioner, at a fraction of the normal price.

How?

Just get in touch to book your first appointment.

Acupuncture can prevent tension headaches

Research suggests that acupuncture for tension headaches may be able to help.

Tension headaches, also known as stress headaches, are really common – up to 80% of us may get them from time to time, according to WebMD.

At their worst, they may feel like a vice clamping your head. A milder tension headache may feel like pressure, tension, or dull pain around your forehead or the back of your head. Knock on problems can include tiredness, irritability and sleep problems. (The difference to migraines is that tension headaches don’t usually include eye pain, visual disturbances, sensitivity to light, nausea or vomiting.)

If you have these types of headaches more than 15 times a month, they’re known as chronic tension headaches, and if they’re less frequent than that they’re known as episodic tension headaches.

The good news is that a body of scientific evidence has built up to confirm that acupuncture may be able to help.

What does the research say?

The Acupuncture Evidence Project summarises the the research supporting acupuncture for tension headaches like this:

“Chronic tension-type headaches and chronic episodic headaches were not reviewed in the Australian DVA review (2010) and rated as ‘evidence of positive effect’ in the USVA Evidence map of acupuncture (2014) (5, 6). The most recent Cochrane systematic review update confirmed that acupuncture is effective for frequent episodic and chronic tension-type headaches with moderate to low quality evidence (43). A brief review of systematic reviews and meta-analyses described acupuncture as having a potentially important role as part of a treatment plan for migraine, tension-type headache, and several different types of chronic headache disorders (44). Studies in Germany and the UK found acupuncture for chronic headaches to be cost-effective (44).”

In the UK the evidence for acupuncture is considered to be strong enough that NICE recommends acupuncture for the prevention of chronic tension-type headaches:

“Consider a course of up to 10 sessions of acupuncture over 5–8 weeks for the prophylactic treatment of chronic tension‑type headache.”

(NICE, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, is the UK’s governmental body which issues recommendations to health professionals about all medical interventions – including pharmaceuticals and surgery.  Their recommendations are based on their assessment of the evidence for efficacy and cost effectiveness.)

How does acupuncture for headaches work?

From a scientific point of view, there is all kinds of interesting research going on into numerous mechanisms by which acupuncture may affect the body, but viewed through a Chinese medicine lens, treating headaches is about releasing tension in the head. Moving your Qi, your daily bodily energy, where your Qi is stuck.

What will my treatment look like?

Your personal holistic diagnosis, and your individual needs, will be at the heart of your treatment. You are more than just a cluster of headaches! 

Try acupuncture for your headaches

Get in touch today to book your first appointment.


References

5. Biotext. Alternative therapies and Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold and White Card arrangements. In: Australian Government Department of Veterans’ Affairs, editor: Australian Government Department of Veterans’ Affairs; 2010.

6. Hempel S, Taylor SL, Solloway MR, Miake-Lye IM, Beroes JM, Shanman R, et al. VA Evidence-based Synthesis Program Reports. Evidence Map of Acupuncture. Washington (DC): Department of Veterans Affairs; 2014.

43. Linde K, Allais G, Brinkhaus B, Fei Y, Mehring M, Shin BC, et al. Acupuncture for the prevention of tension-type headache. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016;4:Cd007587.

44. Coeytaux RR, Befus D. Role of Acupuncture in the Treatment or Prevention of Migraine, Tension-Type Headache, or Chronic Headache Disorders. Headache. 2016 Jul;56(7):1238-40.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.

Acupuncture for knee arthritis can help

Research suggests that acupuncture for osteoarthritic knee pain can reduce pain, improve mobility and help with quality of life. Acupuncture for arthritic knee pain even appears to be more effective than several other treatments, including standard medical care.

And so many people are suffering – Arthritis Australia says that 1 in 6 Australians has arthritis, and around half of those are of working age. It’s the leading cause of chronic pain.

If you have osteoarthritic (OA) knee pain, acupuncture may be able to help.

What does the research say?

The Acupuncture Evidence Project summarises the the research supporting acupuncture for knee arthritis pain like this:

“ Knee osteoarthritis pain was not reviewed in the Australian DVA review (2010) and rated as evidence of potential positive effect in the USVA Evidence map of acupuncture (2014) (5, 6). In a network meta-analysis comparing 22 interventions in 152 studies, acupuncture was found to be equal to balneotherapy and superior to sham acupuncture, muscle-strengthening exercise, Tai Chi, weight loss, standard care and aerobic exercise (in ranked order) (52). Acupuncture was also superior to standard care and muscle-strengthening exercises in a sub-analysis of moderate to high quality studies (52). In a systematic review of 12 randomised controlled trials, acupuncture was found to significantly reduce pain intensity, to improve functional mobility and quality of life (53). Subgroup analysis showed greater reduction in pain intensity when treatment lasted for more than four weeks (53). The reviewers concluded that current evidence supports the use of acupuncture as an alternative for traditional analgesics in patients with osteoarthritis (53). ”

How does acupuncture for knee arthritis work?

Chinese Medicine sees this in terms of releasing blockages to the flow of your Qi, your vital energy.  Where there is obstruction and stiffness, there should be flow and ease.

From a scientific perspective, there are a range of ideas about how acupuncture is able to reduce pain – for example it may have an anti inflammatory effect.  This is an area where lots of research is going on, with interesting information emerging all the time.

What will my treatment look like?

Your treatment will be all about you, and personalised to your needs.  You are a richly flavoured individual, not just a pair of knees! 

We will discuss your health holistically, to fully understand the context of your knee problem, and how best to help.  Your treatment plan will fit you as an individual.

Try acupuncture for your knee arthritis

Get in touch today to book your first appointment.


References

5. Biotext. Alternative therapies and Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold and White Card arrangements. In: Australian Government Department of Veterans’ Affairs, editor: Australian Government Department of Veterans’ Affairs; 2010.

6. Hempel S, Taylor SL, Solloway MR, Miake-Lye IM, Beroes JM, Shanman R, et al. VA Evidence-based Synthesis Program Reports. Evidence Map of Acupuncture. Washington (DC): Department of Veterans Affairs; 2014.

52. Corbett MS, Rice SJ, Madurasinghe V, Slack R, Fayter DA, Harden M, et al. Acupuncture and other physical treatments for the relief of pain due to osteoarthritis of the knee: network meta-analysis. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2013 Sep;21(9):1290-8.

53. Manyanga T, Froese M, Zarychanski R, Abou-Setta A, Friesen C, Tennenhouse M, et al. Pain management with acupuncture in osteoarthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014;14:312.

Image by Dr. Manuel González Reyes from Pixabay

Acupuncture for hayfever can help

Acupuncture for hayfever is one of the better researched areas of acupuncture, highlighting acupuncture’s role as a safe and effective treatment for this problem.

As you’ll know very well if you’ve suffered from hayfever – or seasonal allergic rhinitis as it’s technically known – it can be a nightmare.  Sneezing, streaming nose, itchy eyes can make time spent outdoors something to be endured rather than enjoyed.

Thankfully, relief is at hand!

What does the research say?

Here’s a summary from the Australian Acupuncture Evidence Project on the research supporting acupuncture for allergic rhinitis:

“For allergic rhinitis, acupuncture was rated as ‘effective’ in the Australian DVA review (2010)  and ‘unclear’ in the USVA Evidence map of acupuncture (2014) (5, 6). A systematic review of 13 randomised controlled trials concluded that acupuncture could be a safe and valid treatment option for allergic rhinitis (moderate quality evidence) (54). Another systematic review (which included two large multi-centre randomised controlled trials, three comparisons of acupuncture versus medication and one cost-effectiveness study) concluded that there is high quality evidence of the efficacy and effectiveness of acupuncture and that it appears to be safe and cost-effective (15). Clinical practice guidelines for allergic rhinitis published by the Otolaryngology Head Neck Surgery Foundation in 2015 included acupuncture as Option five: Clinicians may offer acupuncture, or refer to a clinician who can offer acupuncture, for patients with AR who are interested in nonpharmacological therapy (Aggregate evidence quality – Grade B) (37).”

How does acupuncture for hayfever work?

From the point of view of Chinese Medicine, this is all about soothing and rebalancing your Qi, your vital energy.  Specifically your Wei Qi, your defensive Qi or immune system, is overreacting to an external stimulus, and needs to be calmed.

Looking through the lens of Western medicine, there are various ideas about the mechanisms of how acupuncture may work.  It may have an anti inflammatory effect, or help to modulate the immune system.  With more research, this is all likely to become clearer.

What will my treatment look like?

Your individual needs will be at the heart of your treatment.  You are more than just a case of hayfever!  We will discuss your health across the board and in detail, to fully understand where your problem is coming from,  and how best to help.  Your treatment plan will fit you as an individual.

When should I start treatment?

Ideally your acupuncture treatment will start a few weeks before your hayfever would normally get started.  It’s not too late though, even if your seasonal problem has already got going.

Try acupuncture for your hayfever

Get in touch today to book your first appointment.


References

5. Biotext. Alternative therapies and Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold and White Card arrangements. In: Australian Government Department of Veterans’ Affairs, editor: Australian Government Department of Veterans’ Affairs; 2010.

6. Hempel S, Taylor SL, Solloway MR, Miake-Lye IM, Beroes JM, Shanman R, et al. VA Evidence-based Synthesis Program Reports. Evidence Map of Acupuncture. Washington (DC): Department of Veterans Affairs; 2014.

15. Taw MB, Reddy WD, Omole FS, Seidman MD. Acupuncture and allergic rhinitis. Curr Opin Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2015 Jun;23(3):216-20.

37. Seidman MD, Gurgel RK, Lin SY, Schwartz SR, Baroody FM, Bonner JR, et al. Clinical practice guideline: Allergic rhinitis. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2015 Feb;152(1 Suppl):S1-43.

54. Feng S, Han M, Fan Y, Yang G, Liao Z, Liao W, et al. Acupuncture for the treatment of allergic rhinitis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Rhinol Allergy. 2015 Jan-Feb;29(1):57-62.

Image by Luisella Planeta Leoni from Pixabay 

Acupuncture for migraines has a good evidence base

Happily, acupuncture for migraines is one of the areas that has been best studied by researchers, and a good scientific evidence base has built up. 

If you’re suffering with migraines, you’re definitely not alone, the Migraine Trust tells us that it’s the third most common disease in the world.  Migraines affect one in seven people (Steiner, Stovner, & Birbeck, 2013), so finding something that can help, can make a huge difference.

What does the research say?

Acupuncture can help to prevent migraines, making them less frequent, and it does this at least as well as medication does.  The advantages of acupuncture for migraines include that it is a safe treatment, can have long-lasting results, and is cost effective.

Here’s how the Australian Acupuncture Evidence Project sums up the research supporting acupuncture for migraines:

“Since March 2013 a narrative review of high quality randomised controlled trials and two systematic reviews including a Cochrane systematic review update, have confirmed that acupuncture is superior to sham acupuncture and seems to be at least as effective as conventional preventative medication in reducing migraine frequency (Da Silva, 2015), (Linde et al., 2016) & (Yang, Que, Ye, & Zheng, 2016). Moreover, acupuncture is described as safe, long-lasting and cost effective (Da Silva, 2015). Subgroup analysis in the Cochrane systematic review found that 16 or more treatment sessions showed a larger effect size (Z=4.06) than 12 treatments or fewer (Z=2.32). Evidence levels in these three reviews was moderate to high quality.”

How well accepted is this evidence?

The evidence is strong enough that in the UK, NICE recommends acupuncture for migraine prevention

(NICE, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, is the UK’s governmental body which issues recommendations to health professionals about all medical interventions – including pharmaceuticals and surgery.  Their recommendations are based on their assessment of the evidence for efficacy and cost effectiveness.)

How does acupuncture for migraines work?

Chinese Medicine thinks about this in terms of rebalancing your Qi, your vital energy. 

From a Western scientific perspective, the mechanisms of action aren’t yet clear, but there is all sorts of interesting research going on.  Mark Bovey, of the UK’s Acupuncture Research Resource Centre, describes research results so far for the various ways acupuncture may work to reduce migraines in this interesting article.

What will my treatment look like?

My approach puts you at the heart of your treatment.  We’ll discuss your health holistically and in detail, to get a really clear idea of what is happening and how best to approach it.  Your treatment plan will be uniquely tailored to you as an individual.

The best approach for treating your migraines with acupuncture will vary with your specific needs, but acupuncture points on the feet are likely to be relevant, to start to ease the stress which Chinese Medicine would often see as one of the roots of your headaches.

Try acupuncture for your migraines

Get in touch today to book your first appointment.


References

Da Silva, A. N. (2015). Acupuncture for Migraine Prevention. Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain, 55(3), 470–473. https://doi.org/10.1111/head.12525

Linde, K., Allais, G., Brinkhaus, B., Fei, Y., Mehring, M., Vertosick, E. A., … White, A. R. (2016). Acupuncture for the prevention of episodic migraine. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (6), CD001218. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD001218.pub3

Steiner, T. J., Stovner, L. J., & Birbeck, G. L. (2013). Migraine: the seventh disabler. The Journal of Headache and Pain, 14(1), 1. https://doi.org/10.1186/1129-2377-14-1

Yang, Y., Que, Q., Ye, X., & Zheng, G. hua. (2016). Verum versus Sham Manual Acupuncture for Migraine: A Systematic Review of Randomised Controlled Trials. Acupuncture in Medicine, 34(2), 76–83. https://doi.org/10.1136/acupmed-2015-010903

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

Five Element acupuncture now available in Perth

Your individual constitution can be the source of your greatest strengths as well as your greatest challenges.  The beautiful and ancient Chinese Five Element framework is keen to look not just at how you are right now, but who you are in general.  Five Element acupuncture supports your wellbeing from that perspective.

Chinese Medicine is strong in general in looking at you as an individual.  A good acupuncturist is always looking at you as an individual, and looking at you holistically.  We don’t just see you as ‘a case of …’.  Like, you’re more than just your sore knee or your migraines!  Obviously.

Seeing you clearly

And a good Five Element acupuncturist takes that to a deeper level, spending quality time to really listen and look, to deeply hear and see how you are and who you are, to reflect on what help it is that you need.

This helps to create the very best treatment plan for you.  Like, really, for you.  

An interesting idea, right?  If you’re keen to see what Five Element acupuncture might be able to do for you, your luck is in.  Jessica is now available in Perth, bringing Five Element acupuncture within your reach.

Experience the difference for yourself

Just get in touch to book your first appointment.