Acupuncture for Headaches and Migraines
With our natural, proven, and effective treatments for headaches and migraines we can significantly reduce your symptoms without drugs or surgery. Our Denver acupuncture clinic utilizes both ancient and modern techniques to help you achieve your optimal level of health.
Contact us today to see what we can do to get you back to 100%.
Conditions We Treat
The Science Behind Acupuncture for Headaches and Migraines
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medicine practice that involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body to restore balance and promote healing. Recent scientific studies have shown that acupuncture can be an effective treatment for headaches and migraines by:
- Increases blood flow to the area of pain, helping the body to heal by delivering more oxygen, nutrients, and immune cells.
- Changes how certain chemicals in the body process pain signals, reducing the feeling of pain.
- Affects how the brain processes pain signals, including emotions and thoughts related to pain.
- The acupuncture needles are inserted close to the site of pain, which helps to improve blood flow and decrease inflammation in the area.
- Acupuncture helps to balance the body’s pain control system, influencing chemicals like endorphins, serotonin, and norepinephrine.
- Acupuncture can help reduce the emotional aspects of chronic pain by affecting the part of the brain responsible for fear and anxiety, while also increasing the body’s natural pain relief mechanisms.
Acupuncture for Chronic Headaches - Randomized Trial
This study published in the British Journal of Medicine, aimed to determine the effects of acupuncture on chronic headache patients compared to those who avoid acupuncture. The trial involved 401 patients with chronic headaches, primarily migraines. Participants were randomly assigned to receive up to 12 acupuncture treatments over three months or to continue with their usual care without acupuncture.
Results showed that the acupuncture group experienced a significant reduction in headache scores after 12 months compared to the control group. Patients in the acupuncture group had 22 fewer days of headaches per year and reported improvements in physical role functioning, energy, and overall health changes. They also used 15% less medication, made 25% fewer visits to general practitioners, and took 15% fewer days off sick compared to the control group.
In conclusion, acupuncture leads to lasting, clinically relevant benefits for primary care patients with chronic headaches, particularly migraines. The study suggests that expanding acupuncture services within the NHS should be considered.
Acupuncture for Episodic Cluster Headache - Randomized Control Trial
The objective of this study published in the journal Chinese Acupuncture & Moxibustion evaluated the effectiveness of acupuncture treatment for episodic cluster headache (CH). The study involved 180 patients with episodic CH who were divided into three groups: combined acupuncture, conventional acupuncture, and sphenopalatine ganglion acupuncture. The patients in the combined group received acupuncture at both sphenopalatine ganglion and conventional acupuncture points, the acupuncture group received only conventional acupuncture, and the sphenopalatine ganglion group received only acupuncture at sphenopalatine ganglion.
All groups received treatment for two weeks, with a course of treatment consisting of three weeks. The patients were evaluated using visual analogue scales, the number of headache attacks per week, the duration of each headache attack, and the migraine-specific quality of life questionnaire version 2.1 before and after treatment, as well as in follow-up after three months.
The results showed that all groups experienced a decrease in the degree of pain, the number and duration of headache attacks, and an improvement in their quality of life. However, the combined group had the best outcomes, with a 93.0% total effective rate, which was significantly higher than the acupuncture group (75.9%) and the sphenopalatine ganglion group (73.7%).
In conclusion, combining acupuncture at sphenopalatine ganglion with conventional acupuncture was more effective in reducing pain and the frequency and duration of headache attacks, and improving the quality of life of patients with episodic CH, compared to using conventional acupuncture or acupuncture at sphenopalatine ganglion alone.
Acupuncture for Migraines With and Without Aura: Randomized Control Trial
This randomized controlled trial published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, aimed to investigate the effectiveness of acupuncture in patients with migraine. The study involved 302 patients who were divided into three groups: acupuncture, sham acupuncture, and waiting list control. The primary outcome measure was the difference in headache days of moderate or severe intensity between the 4 weeks before and weeks 9 to 12 after randomization.
The results showed that both acupuncture and sham acupuncture groups experienced a reduction in the number of days with moderate or severe headaches compared to the waiting list group. However, there was no significant difference between the acupuncture and sham acupuncture groups. The proportion of responders (reduction in headache days by at least 50%) was 51% in the acupuncture group, 53% in the sham acupuncture group, and 15% in the waiting list group. The study concluded that acupuncture was not more effective than sham acupuncture in reducing migraine headaches, although both interventions were more effective than a waiting list control.
Note on sham acupuncture in this study:
In the sham acupuncture group, the number of sessions, their length, and how often they occurred were the same as in the traditional acupuncture group. In each session, at least 5 out of 10 pre-selected non-acupuncture points were used for the treatment, with needles placed on both sides of the body (totaling at least 10 needles). The needles were inserted only slightly into the skin, and manual stimulation of the needles was avoided.
What the results mean in regard to sham acupuncture:
In regard to the study findings with sham acupuncture being just as effective as traditional acupuncture, it means that an acupuncturist can choose the “incorrect” points or miss the traditional points and get significant relief for patients with migraines.
Acupuncture for Tension Headaches - Literature Review
The updated Cochrane review published in 2016, included 12 trials, with a total of 2349 participants, to investigate the effectiveness of acupuncture in preventing tension-type headaches in adults. The main findings reveal that acupuncture is more effective than no prophylactic treatment or routine care only, with two large trials comparing acupuncture to these control groups. Acupuncture showed significant benefits, with a higher proportion of participants experiencing at least a 50% reduction in headache frequency compared to control groups. When compared to sham acupuncture, the moderate quality evidence still demonstrated the effectiveness of acupuncture. Out of the seven trials comparing acupuncture to sham acupuncture, five large studies contributed data to the meta-analyses. In these studies, 51% of participants receiving acupuncture experienced at least a 50% reduction in headache frequency, compared to 43% in the sham group.
Acupuncture for Trigeminal Neuralgia - Research Analysis
This study published in Acupuncture in Medicne, aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of acupuncture in managing trigeminal neuralgia, a severe facial pain condition, in comparison to the first-line drug treatment (carbamazepine) and a common surgery (microvascular decompression). The research analyzed data related to efficacy, side effects, and cost from medical databases.
The results showed that acupuncture was not significantly more effective than the control group, but it had the highest effectiveness (86.5%) compared to surgery (79.3%) and drug treatment (71.7%). Acupuncture also had fewer side effects (22.7%) than surgery (25.3%) and drug treatment (88.8%).
Regarding costs, acupuncture was found to be the least expensive option. After five years, acupuncture’s cost was approximately $1005 (converted from £750), compared to $2020 for carbamazepine (converted from £1507.73) and $6543 for surgery (converted from £4878.42). Acupuncture was also found to be the least stressful treatment for patients, with a score of 53 points on the Social Readjustment Rating Scale, while surgery scored 153 points and drug treatment scored 217 points.
In conclusion, acupuncture appears to be more effective, safer, and less expensive than drug therapy or surgery for treating trigeminal neuralgia. The study suggests further research to explore these findings and the availability of acupuncture in healthcare systems like the UK’s National Health Service.
Acupuncture for Post-Traumatic Headache Management
According to research published in Military Medicine, chronic post-traumatic headache (PTH) is a common issue after mild traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), but there is currently insufficient evidence for conventional headache treatments. Acupuncture has been shown to be at least as effective as drug therapy for migraine prevention and tension-type headaches. Due to its safety, cost-effectiveness, and long-lasting benefits, acupuncture should be considered as an adjunct treatment for patients with chronic PTH, and as a primary treatment alternative for those with contraindications to medication.
Approximately 1.7 million Americans experience TBIs annually, with 75% being concussions or mild TBIs. Acute PTHs occur in up to 90% of all individuals who suffer from a concussion or mild TBI, with chronic PTHs lasting longer than 3 months and having a prevalence of 43%.
Acupuncture has been shown to be slightly more effective and safer than prophylactic migraine medications. It is also as effective as standard care in managing chronic tension headaches, and short-term for cervicogenic pain. Adjunctive acupuncture is safe, efficacious, and cost-effective for chronic headaches of various and mixed etiologies, and should be considered for patients with PTH as a treatment option.
The Benefits of Acupuncture for Headaches and Migraines
Reduces headache frequency and intensity
Acupuncture can help decrease the frequency and severity of headaches and migraines by targeting specific pressure points that are believed to be connected to these conditions.
Natural and drug-free pain relief
Acupuncture offers a non-pharmacological option for headache and migraine sufferers, reducing reliance on medications and their potential side effects.
Provides long-term relief
Many patients and research studies find that acupuncture provides long-lasting relief from headaches and migraines, reducing the need for ongoing treatments or medications.
Relieves stress and tension
Acupuncture can help relieve stress and muscle tension, both of which are common causes of headaches and migraines. Acupuncture, through increasing relaxation, can give help for persons suffering from these conditions.
How we Achieve 0ur Results
The Subtle Point recognizes that each person’s headaches and migraines are unique, we provide tailored care that meets your needs and goals. To give long-term relief and better wellness, our acupuncture treatments address both the symptoms and the underlying causes of headaches and migraines.
It is critical to have a solid support system during your health journey. Our dedicated team is available to assist, answer questions, and address concerns during your treatment. We provide a compassionate and supportive environment for improving your headaches and migraines.
When it comes to treating headaches and migraines we understand that some patients may have food related triggers or nutrient deficiencies that may be causing them. We will try and help you to eliminate any food triggers, recommend nutrient dense meals, and pre and probiotic foods.
We know that lifestyle factors can have an impact on headaches and migraines. We assist our patients in identifying and changing lifestyle decisions that may be triggering them. Mindfulness exercises, deep breathing, a regular sleep routine, and moderate physical activity may be recommended.
At The Subtle Point, we understand that trying something new, especially when it comes to your health, can be a big decision. That’s why we’re pleased to offer free consultations at our Denver clinic for new clients interested in exploring the benefits of acupuncture and our other services.
During your free consultation, you can expect:
- A welcoming and judgment-free environment: We believe in providing a safe and supportive space for you to explore your options and make informed decisions about your health and well-being.
- One-on-one discussion: Our experienced practitioners will sit down with you to discuss your health concerns, answer any questions you may have, and help you determine if acupuncture is the right fit for your needs.
- Personalized treatment plan: If you decide to move forward with treatment, we’ll work together to create a customized plan tailored to your specific goals and concerns.
Taking the first step towards better health has never been easier or more accessible. Schedule your free consultation today by calling us at (720)285-6251 or booking online. Discover how The Subtle Point can help you unlock your body’s natural healing potential and guide you on your path to wellness.
What to Expect from Your First Treatment
Comprehensive Health Assessment
During your initial appointment, our expert practitioner will discuss your medical history, lifestyle, and concerns in order to determine your health goals. To determine any imbalances, your practitioner will evaluate your pulse, tongue, and ask numerous questions. They will diagnose and prescribe a personalized treatment strategy based on the results of this evaluation.
During your acupuncture appointment, you’ll lie back comfortably on a treatment table as the practitioner delicately inserts thin, sterile needles into certain sites on your body for headaches and migraines. While the needles are inserted, they may cause a slight pinch, but the procedure is usually painless. Once the needles are in place we will let you relax for 20-30 minutes while the points do their magic.
Aftercare and Follow-ups
Following your treatment, your practitioner will give you lifestyle, dietary, and at-home care homework. They will also discuss the frequency of follow-up appointments based on your needs. The frequency of your follow-up appointments will be determined by your needs, treatment goals, and response to the treatment.
Some of our Patient Testimonials
"Michael is a true healthcare practitioner! His research went above and beyond, and his dedication to treating the whole person as well as the etiology of the presentation was paramount! He even did research to help my son, who at the time, was a peripheral patient but I digress... I went to Michael with the hope of simple pain mitigation. After months of consistent acupuncture, herbal and light therapy, as well as supplements to address deficiencies, I have gone from relatively hopeless to incredibly hopeful, as the pain is almost gone. Michael addresses the root cause of the issue, and for me, helped to create an environment that was tolerable until true health was achieved. You are not going to get this kind of dedication and in depth research for your individual health issue from many practitioners... especially those who are hamstrung to disease management. Like I said before, Michael's work is true healthcare!"
– Erin VanGilder
“I went to Mike for my intro session today and I’m so glad I did! His treatment options are integrated and I can honestly say I feel better right now than I have in a while. I highly recommend that if you are thinking of trying something like acupuncture you should definitely go here! Plus he literally spent so much time helping me and listening. He even sent me my requested recommendations for a few things right away like he said afterwards! I look forward to my journey to health through this proven modality(s)!"
– Christin Daniels
“Mike is amazing! He reduced my chronic migraines to almost none. He is very knowledgeable, friendly, and professional. I highly recommend!"
– Kelsey Briding
I highly recommend The Subtle Point as Mike, the acupuncturist, is very professional and is an extremely knowledgeable treatment provider. I could not be happier with my treatments from acupuncture to dry needling and even fire cupping; it all left me feeling amazing. Every issue I had was addressed with care. I really like his office as it is a very relaxing environment. I recommend The Subtle Point to everyone I know.
I highly recommend Subtle Point, I was in a lot of pain from my flight over to Denver. They took good care of me and were incredibly welcoming. I'd give them 10 stars!
I highly recommend The Subtle Point and acupuncturist Mike! The pricing is very fair, the environment is elegant yet welcoming-a very relaxing atmosphere and a great escape from the bustle of the city-and Mike is a warm and extremely knowledgeable treatment provider happy to tailor your experience to your desires. I would definitely suggest trying out the fire cupping: it felt amazing! I will return to The Subtle Point!
Mike is an incredibly intelligent and skilled healer. The acupuncture treatments have helped decrease my pain so much. He listens and takes the time to really address your issue. Thankful for this place!
I got my neck cranked pretty hard in jiu jitsu a couple months ago and had some pretty bad nerve issues/pain around the neck and shoulder. I decided to visit Mike at The Subtle Point to give acupuncture a try to see if it might help. After a few sessions I started to feel way better and actually started to heal. I also got some cupping done which helped with some muscle soreness as well. It was amazingly relaxing and after a few sessions the pain was gone. Not sure why I waited this long in life to try it, definitely helped the healing process for me and Mike was great to work with.
Mike is experienced and knowledgeable of accupuncture practice. His prices are affordable and he is professional but very welcoming and friendly. This has to be one of the best accupuncturist that I have seen. Anyone in the colorado area should definitely stop by at subtle points. It is definitely a great experience and life changing. He specializes in all area but mostly with chronic pain, anxiety and stress. Look no further this will be one of your favorite places to go to.
I had cupping and acupuncture, AMAZING! Can’t wait for my next treatment. Mike is nice and very knowledgeable. Highly recommended.
Left feeling amazing and pain free, great facility!
Thank you Dr. Sugiura! Great treatment + Clean Clinic (Cool lemon tree btw). Went back to work right after without the muscle pain so that was a huge difference. Right place right time for that discount. Thanks again for the advice and will definitely follow-up during my weight training. I won't be lifting that way again hahaha no more Boulder lifting for a while!
Great place. Highly recommend it! He is very professional, knows what he is doing, and charges a very fair price. My back and leg feel great!
Mike was great! Cupping helped loosen all the tension in my back. Great first experience for my bf as well. Thank you!
Awesome experience .....knowledgeable clean and thorough process.
He took the time to hear what I needed. Explained everything he did before he did it. Felt comfortable! Excited for my next appointment!
Great treatment, very professional and kind! Definitely would go back
Mike was great! You can really tell he cares about what he does and wants to help people feel better. He has great bed side manor and explains everything he does in detail along with recommending supplements. Definitely will be coming back!
Excellent highly recommend I’m going back as Often as possible!
I cannot recommend this place enough! I was always hesitant to try acupuncture because I didn't if it would help my back pain or not. I am so glad I had my first experience at Subtle Point with Micheal. It was easy to get scheduled. Mike took his time and made me feel very comfortable. He is very knowledgeable and alleviated my pain. I can't wait to go back!
Mike did a great job! I suffer from chronic pain and I didn’t know I could feel such relief. I left completely relaxed and shocked at how low my pain level was. He explained everything he was doing and made the session very comfortable. Basically he’s just good at what he does and I would recommend him to anyone.
Mike is a great professional. He explained every step of the process. The clinic is very clean and well equipped. I'll definitely be back.
Mike is very professional and knowledgeable. He did acupuncture for my hernia and it is much smaller now. He also suggested some herbs to improve digestion. I also had some main in my arm and it's gone after gua sha treatment. Me and my wife (she did some treatments as well) both feel much better.
I’ve always been super tight in my lower back, after just my first cupping session I could feel the major difference from before the session. I will definitely be making this a regular appointment.
Dr. Michael was fantastic, he was extremely professional and detailed. He was interested in my pain issues and did a great job of getting me on the mend! I will definitely be back!
Over 290 5 Star Reviews
40 Five Star Reviews
Great experience. I do the 90 minute acupuncture and cupping combo. I usually go in with moderate to severe back pain and leave pain free. Mike does a great job explaining things…
– Emily L.
247 Five Star Reviews
Wonderful experience! Mike was amazing and truly cares about your health and healing. He offered lots of time to ask questions and discuss my issues. He also offered great sugges…
8 Five Star Reviews
Michael is very knowledgeable..I’m a very hardworking Hair Stylist and since he has been treating my aching back I feel 20years Younger and so much out of pain.
– Nikki Sanchez
The Subtle Point Blog for Headaches and Migraines
Frequently Asked Questions
Does acupuncture Hurt?
Acupuncture employs needles that are substantially smaller than those used by doctors for injections. The sensation has been compared to an insect bite or a pinch, however most people do not experience anything at all. Certain points are painful to needle, and we try to avoid them unless absolutely necessary. If you are sensitive to needles, we will modify your therapy so that you can reach your health goals while remaining comfortable.
How Many treatments does it take?
The number of treatments required to treat headaches and migraines is determined by a variety of factors. Some of these factors may include: the length of time you have had the headaches and migraines, your age, dietary and lifestyle considerations, your willingness to do self-care at home, and so on. It’s also reasonable to note that this medicine isn’t magic, and no ailment will be completely resolved with just one treatment. Having said that, many patients often leave the office in less pain than when they arrived and feeling more calm.
How long is each treatment?
At The Subtle Point, we offer a variety of services that can run from 5 minutes to as long as 90 minutes. Initial appointments, however, are one hour long to 90 minutes. Typically treatments for headaches and migraines require 30 minute sessions unless a patient wants cupping or massage at the end of their treatment.
Do i need to disrobe for my treatment?
For headache and migraine treatments you will not have to disrobe. The needles will go into your arms, legs, hands, feet, and head. If there is a digestive component that may be the root cause of your headaches, then needles will be placed around the belly button as well.
How can I schedule an appointment?
To schedule an appointment you can call, send us an email, or book online by clicking on the “Book Now” button in the upper right portion of the screen.
What forms of payment do you accept?
We accept cash, check, and credit card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover).
Do you accept insurance?
At this time I am not accepting insurance, but I can give you an invoice/superbill to give to your insurance company for reimbursement.
3600 South Beeler Street Suite 150 Denver, CO 80237
Make an Appointment
To make an appointment please click the link below or call (720) 285-6251
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 11am - 8pm Saturday: 10am - 7pm