Acupuncture involves the insertion of fine needles into specific points on the body, followed by gentle manual or electrical stimulation of the needles. Blood flow in the tissues increases when small vessels around the area of the needle dilate. While actions designed to increase circulation are generally an excellent treatment for pain, such a treatment is not beneficial in the treatment of migraines. Because the pain of a migraine may be associated with the dilation of blood vessels in the head, increasing circulation in this area can worsen the patient’s symptoms. By avoiding points in the head, neck and upper body, and instead using points exclusively in the lower body, dilating the blood vessels of the head would be avoided. The entire treatment is often performed with the patient in a recumbent position rather than in a prone position. This also minimizes dilation of the blood vessels during acupuncture.
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