Acupuncture for Migraines: Migraine in the Temples or Eyes
by Grace Ganel L.Ac., Dipl.Ac., C.Z.B.
Migraine in the Temples or Eyes and Related symptoms
Many people experience migraine main in their temples or eyes. Often, this type of feels as though there is pressure pushing against the inside of the temple or eye. Clients with this type of migraine commonly experience difficulty sleeping, often waking up feeling hot at night, maybe even getting very sweaty at night. This pattern of migraine is also associated with many eye-related symptoms. Clients might have dry eyes, eyelid spasms, and vision impairments such as “floaters,” little specks moving around in the visual field. I also notice that these clients are more likely to have visual changes during or before migraines (such as lights, blurry vision, or tunnel vision).
In addition, clients with this type of migraine headache tend to complain of a “hot temper,” tinnitus, and feeling on-edge. Low back pain, knee pain, and some symptoms of the urinary and sexual organ systems are also common with this pattern of migraine. When I see this collection of symptoms in a client, I understand that the symptoms share one common Chinese medicine root, and I create a treatment plan aims to help them create balance in the related systems.
Why do these symptoms develop?
The primary cause of this pattern is emotional stress. When anger, frustration, or resentment are present over a long period of time, these emotions cause the energy of the body to move upwards very strongly, rising to the head and creating the pressure in the head, and the signs of deficiency below, including the low back pain and knee problems. That rising energy is also very hot in nature, and therefore is believed in Chinese medicine to burn up the resources that help us to keep a cool demeanor and a comfortable body temperature. All of these factors combine to create the various symptoms described above.
The affected areas, such as mood, eyes, and low back, are vulnerable to this cause of illness because of the nature of the channels involved. Anger corresponds to the Liver channel. The Liver channel smooths our mood and, enters the brain, and nourishes the eyes. The Liver channel is nourished by the Kidney channel. So when the Liver pulls a lot of resources from the rest of the body to deal with the emotional response of anger, the Kidney channel and its partner the Bladder channel suffer, resulting in symptoms in the parts of the body they govern: the neck, throat, low back, knees, urinary system, and reproductive system.
Another major factor that contributes to the development of these symptoms is mealtime behavior. The Liver channel does not behave normally when we eat while we’re working, eat while watching television, or eat while in an emotional state. Generally, multitasking while eating is a nonstarter for the Liver channel.
How do you prevent these symptoms from developing?
1) Move Your Anger
Emotions are simply energy in motion. Emotions move through us like waves. Ideally, we are able to experience the wave of the emotion, take any action the emotion is calling us to take, and then express the emotion and let it go.
We tend to hold our anger to ourselves, creating resentment. There are a number of ways to get that emotion moving. Qigong, martial arts, doing something creative such as writing or art or music, going for a walk, venting to a friend, throwing eggs at a tree… the possibilities here are really endless. The key is not to ignore the emotion or deny it.
2) Seek Emotional Health Services
It’s essential to create systems to help you manage anger and frustration if you experience these symptoms. Don’t hesitate to ask for help: see a therapist, or attend anger-management meetings, if you need support with this.
3) Don’t Multitask During Meals
Don’t eat in front of your computer, phone, or TV.
Just sit down, far from all of your electronic devices, and give yourself a break to just eat. Make it your only job during that time.
Of course sometimes things will interrupt mealtime. Do your best to make mealtimes a relaxing time with only one thing to do – eat. And if something comes up and you’re not able to have a focused mealtime, forgive yourself for the distraction rather than beating yourself up over not being able to isolate your mealtimes. This advice is about successive approximation, not immediate perfection. Make an attempt to be of one mind while eating. Just do your best.
4) Rest and Nourish
These symptoms often mean that you need to slow down. Take time to be still each day. Drink plenty of non-caffeinated fluids, and consider stopping all caffeine intake. Take naps. Make your usual sleep interval 11 PM to 7 AM if possible. Eat things that come from the ocean if possible, such as seaweed and fish. Consider adding more eggs and seeds (quinoa, sesame, and sunflower) and some dairy to your diet to help nourish the energy that belongs to Kidney and Bladder channels, since they have been depleted by the activity of the Liver channel. It’s a good idea to limit fatty foods if you experience these symptoms. Eat no more than one handful of nuts per day. Consider increasing your leafy greens intake.
Be careful if you take medications: some medications don’t work as well if you eat a lot of green veggies or dairy, so please always check with your doctor or pharmacist before changing your diet if you are on any medications.
5) Acupuncture and Zero Balancing
Acupuncture and Zero Balancing aim to balance the stuck energy that leads to this disharmony. If you’re struggling with these symptoms, schedule your appointment today.
Learn more about acupuncture for migraines
To learn more about how acupuncture and lifestyle changes can help those with other types of migraines, check out these related blog posts about acupuncture for migraines.