Academic journal article International Journal of Yoga

Prevention of Chronic Migraine Attacks with Acupuncture and Vamana Dhauti (Yogic Therapeutic Self-Induced Emesis) Interventions

Academic journal article International Journal of Yoga

Prevention of Chronic Migraine Attacks with Acupuncture and Vamana Dhauti (Yogic Therapeutic Self-Induced Emesis) Interventions

Article excerpt

Byline: Naveen. Halappa

Chronic migraine is a prevalent neurological disorder. Conventional treatment has been providing symptomatic relief by reducing the symptoms of pain and vomiting. In addition, there are side effects associated with these medications. A 53-year-old male presented with chronic migraine with aura. He was treated for acute symptoms for 10 days with the following acupuncture points at the EM 6 (Qiuhou), ST 8 (Touwei), GB-8 (Shuaigu), LI 4 (Hegu), and ST 44 (Neiting). In addition, Vamana Dhauti (VD) (self-induced emesis) was taught once followed by VD practice once a week as part of a long-term follow-up for 10 years. Results suggest that acupuncture is beneficial to reduce the acute symptoms of migraine and the possible frequency of migraine attacks. However, VD has shown to be beneficial in reducing the frequency of migraine attacks over a period of time and eventually led to the complete cessation of migraine attacks. In conclusion, randomized controlled trials are required for testing the efficacy in managing migraine.


Chronic migraine is a neurovascular disorder which manifests as a unilateral pulsating headache. Migraine with aura manifests as visual or sensory symptom prior to the onset of migraine headache, whereas no prior symptoms are observed in migraine without aura.[1] Approximately 15% of people are affected by migraine worldwide, and it is estimated to be the 7th highest cause of disability across the globe.[2] Conventional treatment has been beneficial to provide symptomatic relief for these patients. However, there are many common side effects associated with these medications (sleep disturbance, fatigue, nausea, gastrointestinal disturbance, drowsiness, weight gain, and others) and patients are reluctant to take the medications.[3],[4] This case report demonstrates the beneficial effects of combined Vamana Dhauti (VD) (yogic self-induced emesis) and acupuncture treatment (AT) as a comprehensive therapy.

Case Report

A 53-year-old married male who had a family history of migraine was diagnosed with migraine associated with aura since 15 years old. He also had a family history of migraine. He had visited a naturopathy and yoga clinic in the southern part of India. He had presented with a complaint of a unilateral left-sided headache since 38 years and had a history of a unilateral migraine headache mainly on the left side associated with nausea, sensitivity to loud noise, pulsating veins in the temporal region, and sensitivity to light exposure. In addition, the aura was associated with blurred vision and heaviness in the head region for 5-10 min before the onset of a migraine headache. Migraine was aggravated by stress and relieved by vomiting. Besides, the frequency rate of migraine attacks was initially 2-3 migraine attacks in a year for 15-16 years. Subsequently, the frequency increased to 5-6 times per year for the next 20-22 years. Each migraine attack episode lasted for 2-3 h for the first 10 years. Consequently, the duration increased to >24 h.

Clinical findings

On initial examination, his blood pressure was 112/74 mmHg, the pulse rate was 72 beats per minute, and body mass index (BMI) was 30.21 kg/m2. He had not undergone any laboratory investigations. Conventional treatment started after 10 years of onset of the migraine attacks with tablet vasograine (paracetamol 250 mg + ergotamine 1 mg + caffeine 100 mg) twice daily for 1 month. Furthermore, his neurologist advised him to take these tablets only during acute symptoms according to his needs. However, the relief was temporary.

Diagnosis and assessment

The migraine diagnosis was made based on the International Headache Society criteria-II.[1] According to yoga, mental stress at manomaya kosha is the root cause for migraine headache and yang excess is the cause according to acupuncture.[5],[6] Body weight, BMI, and resting blood pressure were also measured. …

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