Headache

Health Issues/Symptoms Connections

"Headache" Issue / Symptom Connections

Below you will find various relationships to, and potential clinical treatment approaches for headache.

It is critical to appreciate that in Chinese Medicine, treatment for "headache" is rarely focused on the symptoms exclusively. Alternatively, a practitioner is looking at the factors that led to the development of "headache" - i.e. the "cause(s)".

For non-practitioners, we recommend reading treating the "cause" and not the "symptoms" for more on the overall approach and the importance of the TCM diagnostic system in formulating treatment approaches.

Within TCM, "headache" is potentially related to one or more of the following diagnostic patterns: blood stagnation, kidney qi deficiency, liver qi stagnation, liver wind, liver yang rising, lung wind invasion - wind cold, and/or lung wind invasion - wind heat.

The above patterns are common examples. In clinical situations, however, there are any number of other possibilities. Many times there will be a layered combination of patterns in an interwoven blend with their symptoms - some being the cause of an issue and the result of another issue. While initially complex, this is illustrative of the the web of relationships that Chinese Medicine is designed to approach.

Related Acupuncture Protocols

When developing an acupuncture protocol a practitioner is very often focusing on the causal diagnoses in Chinese Medicine terms, not on the condition itself. To illustrate and guide developing an acupuncture treatment for someone experiencing headache, this issue is referenced in the following acupuncture protocol section:

Some acupuncture points are considered "empirically" related to a specific condition or diagnostic pattern. While this would rarely, if ever, dictate the entire composition of a treatment, the following points should be considered, possibly even more so within the context of acupressure:

  • View EX Huatuojiaji at C1 (Sides of Spine at C1)

        .5 cun lateral to the lower border of the spinous processes of C1

        C1 innervates the top of the head and is an important juncture between the brain and body.  Affects the parietal lobe, sensory and motor areas of the brain.   If patient has predominately left sided problems, then the right side of C1 wil…
  • View KD 1 (Gushing Spring)

        On sole, in depression with foot in plantar flexion, at the junction of the anterior 1/3 and posterior 2/3 of line conn…

        Descends excess from above, useful for LV Yang Rising or LV Fire - headaches, tinnitus, hypertension, epilepsy. Cooling KD empty heat - chronic sore throat, dry mouth, low back pain. Tonify KD/HT Yin - insomnia, palpitations, anxiety, po…
  • View KD 3 (Great Ravine)

        In depression midway between the tip of the medial malleolus and the attachment of the achilles tendon.

        Tonify KD Qi, Yin or Yang Deficiencies from any etiology. Asthma from KD Deficiency - difficulty inhaling. Tonifies Yin of KD (chronic sore throat, empty heat), LV (dizziness, tinnitus, headache) a/or HT (anxiety, insomnia, excessive dre…
  • View LI 4 (Union Valley)

        In the middle of the 2nd metacarpal bone on the radial side.

        Releases the exterior for wind-cold or wind-heat syndromes Strengthens the wei qi, improves immunity Regulates the sweat glands, for excessive sweating tonify LI 4 then disperse KD 7 and vice versa. Any problem on the face - sense organ…
  • View LI 8 (Lower Ridge)

        4 cun below LI 11 on the LI 5 to LI 11 line.

        The following relationships exist between the ST and the LI and can be used to treat ST, LI and SI organ problems: SI: LI 8 & ST 39 LI: LI 9 & ST 37 ST: LI 10 & ST 36 Blood in the urine arising from heat in the SI - use wit…
  • View PC 1 (Celestial Pool)

        1 cun lateral to the nipple in the 4th ICS.

        Window of the Sky Point, opens the chest - fullness, counterflow qi, cough with phlegm. Headache, blurred vision, axillary sweating, malarial disorders, difficulty moving the limbs. Breast disorders, breast abscess, insufficient lactatio…
  • View SI 1 (Lesser Marsh)

        .1 cun posterior to the corner of the nail on the ulnar side of the little finger.

        Breast disorders of any etiology, insufficient lactation, mastitis, breast abscess, cysts. Jing Well Point, clear heat from the opposite end of the channel, for eye redness, earache, tinnitus, sore throat, stiff tongue. Headache, dizzine…
  • View SI 2 (Front Valley)

        When a loose fist is made, at the ulnar end of the crease, distal to the 5th metacarpophalangeal joint at the junction …

        Local point for pain, swelling, numbness of the fingers.  As the water point it will remove heat - febrile disease, hot palms, darker urine. Clear heat from the opposite end of the channel, tinnitus, headache, sore throat, neck, ear and/o…
  • View SI 3 (Back Ravine)

        When a loose fist is made, at the ulnar end of the distal palmar crease proximal to the 5th metacarpal phalangeal joint…

        Master Point of the GV, effects entire pathway. Pain in the scapula, arm a/or hand combine with local points. Stiff neck, cervical strain/sprain, pain of the back or neck. Occipital headaches, combine with local points. Night sweats, c…
  • View SI 4 (Wrist Bone)

        On the ulnar side of the palm in a depression between the base of the 5th metacarpal joint and the hamate bone.

        Local point for shoulder, arm, hand and wrist problems particularly along the course of the meridian. Useful point to treat problems with all fingers - contracture, pain, swelling, stiffness. Headache, neck pain. Jaundice.  
  • View SI 17 (Celestial Countenance)

        Posterior to the angle of the mandible in a depression on the anterior border of the SCM.

        Both SI 16 & SI 17 are Window of the Sky Points and are useful for throat distention, swelling, goiters, lumps in neck a/or throat. Chest oppression, wheezing, cough, asthma. Ear issues - tinnitus, deafness. Tong Ren/Tam Healing Sys…
  • View ST 8 (Head Corner)

        Directly above ST 7, .5 cun within the anterior hairline at the corner of the forehead, 4.5 cun lateral to the midline …

        Classically mentioned for "splitting headache; headache w/nausea/vomiting; headache w/eye pain (migraine)" - particularly for frontal headaches. Poor vision, twitching eyelids, eye pain, excessive tearing. Dizziness. Hair loss.
  • View ST 9 (Man's Prognosis)

        Level with the tip of the Adam's Apple on the anterior border of the sternocleidomastoideus muscle (where the pulse of …

        In ancient times the ST Qi was assessed by palpating the pulse here and at ST 42. Regulation of Blood Pressure - lowering high blood pressure. Headache, dizziness. Sore throat, counterflow qi (vomiting), coughing, hiccups. Acute lumbar…
  • View ST 40 (Beautiful Bulge)

        8 cun below ST 35, one finger width lateral to ST 38, two finger widths lateral to the anterior border of the tibia.

        Empirical point to resolve phlegm in the body anywhere from any origin. Phlegm in the head - headaches, dizziness / vertigo, depression, poor concentration, stronger shen disturbances - mania. Phlegm in the body - chest oppression, breat…
  • View ST 41 (Ravine Divide)

        On the midpoint of the transverse crease of the ankle, approximately level with the tip of the external malleolus, in a…

        Opposite end of channel issues (i.e. head/face) - swelling, headache, dizziness / vertigo. Abdominal pain, bloating, constipation. Can aid groundedness and focus - ADD/ADHD, mania, restlessness, palpitations, epilepsy. Local point for a…
  • View ST 45 (Severe Mouth)

        .1 cun posterior to the corner of the nail on the lateral side of the 2nd toe.

        Release heat a/or move stagnation from the channel and organ - headaches, toothaches, facial pain, sore throat, TMJ, bell's palsy, facial deviation from stroke. Agitation a/or insomnia w/heat signs, excessive dreaming, loss of consciousne…
  • View UB 2 (Bamboo Gathering)

        On the medial end of the eyebrow, directly above the inner canthus of the eye (on the supraorbital notch).

        Local point for sinus congestion a/or headache. Red, itchy, watery eyes - allergies. Use in facial massage for headaches with GB 20, ST 8, LI 4, and UB 60. Glaucoma, night blindness, blurry and/or weak vision. Generally, needle towards…
  • View UB 3 (Eyebrow Ascension)

        .5 cun inside the anterior hairline, directly above UB 2, between GV 24 and UB 4.

        Local point for headaches, nasal obstruction. Epilepsy, agitation of the heart (possibly resulting in mania or excessive giddiness).
  • View UB 4 (Deviating Turn)

        1.5 cun lateral to GV 24, or .5 cun inside the AHL at the junction of the medial 1/3 and lateral 2/3's distance between…

        Local point for headache and/or nasal issues. Headaches, particularly frontal/sinus, eye pain, vision issues (dimness, blurry). Nasal polyps, nosebleeds, allergies, rhinitis.
  • View UB 5 (Fifth Place)

        .5 cun behind UB 4 or 1 cun above the AHL and 1.5 cun lateral to the AML or 1.5 cun lateral to GV 23.

        Local point for headache and/or eye pain. Epilepsy, yang ascension issues (manic episodes, dizziness, etc.) Sinus congestion, stuffy head.
  • View UB 6 (Light Guard)

        1.5 cun posterior to UB 5 or 2.5 cun above AHL and 1.5 cun lateral to the AML.

        Local point generally for headaches and vision issues - clears heat and wind. Headaches particularly with visual dizziness. Visual issues - blurry vision. Wind-heat conditions when there is no sweating - vomiting, nasal discharge, etc. …
  • View UB 7 (Celestial Connection)

        1.5 cun posterior to UB 6 or 4 cun above the AHL and 1.5 cun lateral to the AML.

        Clear wind and resolve the exterior - important point for sinus congestion, sinusitis, rhinitis, nosebleed, nasal polyps. Loss of sense of smell. Headaches and/or dizziness from wind and congestion. Neck pain and stiffness, throat goite…
  • View UB 9 (Jade Pillow)

        1.3 cun lateral to GV 17 or 2.5 cun above the PHL, 1.3 cun lateral to the PML in depression level with GV 17.

        Expels wind-cold - nasal congestion, chills and fever, headaches from wind. Occipital headaches and/or neck pain, heavy head. Eye pain and/or redness, blurry vision. Unbalanced temperature/sweating - cold sensation in head with sweats, …
  • View UB 11 (Great Shuttle)

        1.5 cun lateral to GV 13, level with T1.

        Wind disorders. Hui-meeting point of the bones, useful with any bone or problem such as osteoporosis, arthritis, inflammation, sensation of heat in the bones, etc. Useful adjunctive point to effect the lungs in cases of infections, colds…
  • View UB 12 (Wind Gate)

        1.5 cun lateral to GV line, level with T2.

        Main point to expel wind from the Wei Qi level of the body, useful for early stages of wind-cold conditions (Common cold, cough, fever, headache, stiff neck). Apply moxa here and on ST 36 to strengthen the Wei Qi (or the defensive layer o…
  • View UB 22 (Triple Burner Shu)

        1.5 cun lateral to GV 5, level with L1.

        As Triple Heater Shu this point effects conditions related to imbalances between the upper and lower parts of the body especially those related to water: edema, bloating, ascites, borborygmus, difficult or painful urination, urinary retent…

The Tom Tam/Tong Ren Therapy system can be applied via energy healing/medical qi gong methods as well as an acupuncture component. The acupuncture aspect is generally utilized in combination with more standard TCM diagnostic approaches.

For the specific points/areas that would generally be utilized in someone experiencing "headache", please read "Tam Healing and Tong Ren Therapy for Headaches ".

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