my journey to eastern medicine

by jenna on May 26, 2011

First of all, I’m so happy that you all are interested to hear about this! Though I do consider my blog to primarily be a food blog, I am more than happy to take requests for these “musing-style” posts and love to get your input on what you most want to read about!

That being said, it took me awhile to write this particular post, about my journey to eastern medicine, because it’s pretty personal. I want to first say that I am obviously (!!) not a doctor and do not intend to give anyone any sort of medical advice. The information you’ll read about in this post is just my personal story and what has worked for me. What works for me might not work for you! You should definitely see a doctor before switching up your medical plan.

I’ve suffered from migraines for the past 10 years. Both my grandmother and my mother get awful headaches, too, and my migraines began when I was in high school. At the time, I was only seventeen and quick to rush to the doctor when I had my first bad headache. My doctor immediately prescribed me prescription migraine medicine and that seemed to take care of it. My doctor also told me I should keep a headache journal of everything I was eating and drinking so I could find common triggers such as caffeine, meat or alcohol. At the time, I was also suffering from IBS and in an effort to not be in pain anymore, I cut out red meat, dairy and caffeine (I never drank in high school so I booze wasn’t an issue). The headaches kept coming.

Flash forward three years and I still suffered from bi-monthly migraines. On a break from college I came home and met with a neurologist to get an MRI and discuss why these headaches were happening so often. My tests came back fine and he switched me to a new painkiller, one that I hated to take because although they got rid of my migraines, they made me feel incredibly sick for the rest of the day. I started doing yoga to manage my stress levels and found that triangle pose (along with many other postures) actually helped my head feel better when I started to feel a migraine coming on. At this time, I became increasingly interested in a healthy holistic lifestyle and started practicing yoga 4-5x a week and eating a primarily vegetarian diet. My migraines pretty much disappeared for about three years and I thought I had “cured myself”.

Then, flash forward to last fall. I hadn’t had a migraine in about six months and suddenly out of the blue, got a horrible one. Just like that, my migraines came back and started to increase in both severity and frequency. Soon, I was getting two a week and practically living off my meds and black coffee. Keep in mind that this was only a few months ago! After continued suffering followed by unintentional weight loss, I went to see a doctor here because whatever I was doing was definitely not working anymore. So, I went through all the motions of getting all my blood work done, got tested for every allergy under the sun and tried a new prescription. Still, nothing worked. My migraines ruined my days and kept me from doing stuff I love like hiking, yoga and being active outside.

I had always heard about acupuncture (specifically from Caitlin!) but thought it could never work for me. Though I hated to admit it, I enjoyed the “quick fix” that the migraine pills gave me and thought my pain was too much for any “holistic doctor” to handle. But still…I was desperate. I was tired of paying co-pays at the doctor’s office and getting needles stuck in my arm only to find that I was perfectly fine. So, even though it was incredibly pricey, I committed to five acupuncture sessions to see if it helped.

Immediately after my first session, I got a migraine. I was so bummed out because I really wanted this to work. But when I told my acupuncturist, she wasn’t disheartened…instead we just talked about different aspects of my life and how emotions are tied strongly to physical ailments. She told me that sometimes when the body experiences a true shock to it’s system (like a tragic, unexpected death) it can cause everything to go unbalanced. I believe that’s what happened to me when my brother passed away two years ago. Up until the day he passed away, I was fine and had my headaches totally under control…but then when I got the call that changed my life it shifted everything. When you couple that with moving across the country, starting a new job and making friends from scratch, it does a number on your emotions.

Even though I thought I was balanced and healthy, I still was dealing with the aftermath of intense grief and because I’m not really one to “talk” about my emotions that much (instead I hid everything deep inside), the feelings had to come out somewhere…so they manifested in the form of migraines.

Make any sense?

We all know that stress makes you sick and in my case, my pent-up grief made me sick. Through talking and Chinese herbs to balance out my “yin”, we slowly got my body back in balance. Because when your body and emotions are balanced, your health reflects it.

I’ve seen my acupuncturist about five times now over the course of a month and a half and have only had one migraine since starting with her. I consider going from two headaches a week to one a month a small victory, don’t you? Of course I would rather never have any, but the fact that my body is starting to heal itself is a very good sign. I’ve learned that you can’t just bury your emotions—they will come out one way or another! I’ve also learned that even though pills (prescription migraine pills/tylonel/advil) may put a cap on your pain, they really are just a quick fix—a band-aid over a bigger problem. Eastern medicine offers a proactive solution to getting to and treating the root of the problem so that you don’t have pain you need to cover up with a band-aid.

All of this isn’t to say I don’t have respect for Western doctors—you better believe I’m thankful for doctors and hospitals (helloooo grey’s anatomy!). I just think that as a whole, America is a very over-medicated nation and often times if we just take the time to find the root of the problem, we can find a real solution…not just a temporary fix.


Currently, I feel better than I ever have in my entire life. I just feel more “balanced”. Maybe it doesn’t make sense, but overall I feel happier and healthier since starting acupuncture. I just feel like my normal old self again—not someone who is worried everyday about getting a migraine.

If you suffer from migraines, I’m so sorry and totally feel your pain. I feel like it really takes another migraine sufferer to know the extent of the pain that I’m talking about. Pain so bad that all you can do is lay on the couch with an eye mask on and moan all day. I encourage other migraine sufferers to really take a look at their lives though and think about a) when you started to get the headaches and b) what changed in your life around the same time the headaches started. Does your life feel unbalanced at all? Are you in good health and consume a healthy diet? There are many, many factors to consider and unfortunately, not one easy fix for all.

Whew! That was a long one. Is anyone still reading this thing? Tomorrow I’ll give you a brownie. Promise.

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{ 128 comments… read them below or add one }

Alison (postcollegecook) May 26, 2011 at 12:20 pm

Thanks for sharing, Jenna. I’m glad you’re feeling better and more balanced!

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Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing May 26, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Jenna, thanks so much for sharing this. I agree wholeheartedly with your reflections on how we tend to use western medicine as a band-aid, rather than finding a true cure. I wish you the best on your journey towards being migraine-free! :)

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Beth @ Beth's Journey May 26, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Thank you for sharing Jenna! I’m lucky to never have had any migraines, but I tend to agree with you that we as a culture are very quick to jump and take a painkiller the second something starts hurting instead of thinking about why it might be hurting. I’ve never done acupuncture before, but I’m very intrigued by it!

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Lea @ Healthy Coconut May 26, 2011 at 12:23 pm

Thanks for sharing your experience. I trully believe in the healing powers of the eastern medicine. I’ve seen it myself thru my mom’s sickness and I’m glad you talked about it on your blog

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Sarah @ See Sarah Eat May 26, 2011 at 12:23 pm

I totally agree about Americans being over-medicated! I have never tried acupuncture, but I totally believe in holistic medicine, which is the way I try to go most of the time if I can help it. I hope that you continue to see improvement and that your migraines become a thing of the past :)

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Heather May 26, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Interesting stuff, thanks for sharing your experience. I’m feeling a little crappy today (damn sinuses) and am trying to go about it the natural way with no meds. Just lots o’ fluids, rest and stuff that makes me happy!

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Katie @ Healthy Heddleston May 26, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Jenna I loved this post. I had my first migraine in high school (about 7-8 years ago) and after a few trials and errors over the years.. I haven’t had a migraine in the last maybe 3 years? I really think stress has a lot to do with it for sure and loved reading about your experience!

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Leili Learning Life May 26, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Thank for sharing this. I agree with you on the need to address the root of a health issue. Glad to hear you’re finding relief.

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kate May 26, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Such a well done post. Yoga has really opened my eyes to Eastern medicine and shed some light on the shortcomings, in my opinion, of our Westernized way of medicine. I would certainly call one migraine a month a victory, a starting point in your journey to none!

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Beth May 26, 2011 at 12:29 pm

I’m so glad acupuncture was helpful for you. I has been helpful for me too. A friend of mine is married to a TCM doctor, so I hear all kinds of good things from her and believe strongly in the efficacy of Eastern medicine. I really believe that Eastern and Western medicine practices can be married quite well, and actually complement one another nicely, but I’d always rather try the more natural route first.

Thanks for taking the time to type all of this out!

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Taysa May 26, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Thank you for this very brave post. I didn’t know you had struggled with IBS–this is something that I’ve been dealing with the last few years. This is just another great post that shows true health is just more than cardio and calories. I would love to read more posts like this from you!

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K. May 26, 2011 at 12:31 pm

My migraines are DEFINITELY tied closely to stress. I got them very frequently my third year of college when I was dealing with ending relationships, more schoolwork than ever before, and something of an identity crisis (common enough in college!). This past year they were bad while I was desperately applying to graduate school, working full-time for the first time, and dealing with living in a new city and with a partner for the first time.

When I was admitted to my top-choice school in April, my migraines DISAPPEARED. I get them less than once a month now. Amazing.

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jenna k May 26, 2011 at 12:57 pm

This is pretty much my exact story! They were terrible last year (my third year) and the first half of this year because I felt so much pressure to apply to med school “on time.” But then I realized just because it was on time for my adviser, parents, and schools didn’t mean it was on time for me. Deciding to wait until this year to apply really helped slow my migraines down a lot. It really is amazing what stress can do to the body.

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Brittney May 26, 2011 at 12:31 pm

This is really interesting! Please keep us updated on how the acupuncture goes in the long term. I do get migraines as well, and have kind of tried everything with nothing really helping completely eliminate them- physical therapy, allergy meds, chiropractors, prescription migraine meds, yoga… I have tried acupuncture for running injuries, but never for migraines. Maybe I need to try this!

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Shannon May 26, 2011 at 12:31 pm

I totally understand your migraine pain…I was in the same boat a few years ago and I went to a naturopath and it was the best decision I could have made for my health at the time. When I ran into similar problems over the last year and the naturopath solution didn’t help, I tried acupuncture and it was amazing. I actually had a scheduled appointment one day and went in with a migraine. I just wanted to go home and go to bed. I’m so glad I didn’t! I felt so much better after she was done needling me! I hope you continue to get relief from your migraines, they truly are debilitating things!

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Tiffany May 26, 2011 at 12:32 pm

Thank you so much for sharing! I appreciate your positive approach to both western & eastern medicine.

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alain May 26, 2011 at 12:34 pm

hi Jenna! thanks for sharing your experience with all of us readers! it stroke so many chords with me, especially the belief that stress can manifest itself in many different ways. i was curious to see if anything in particular helped you deal with IBS? for the past few years i’ve been struggling with IBS and am at my wits end. any thoughts that you may have would be greatly appreciated!

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jenna May 26, 2011 at 12:40 pm

thanks! i pretty much grew out of my IBS…but I have found that it will return if I eat a lot of fried food or tons of red meat. Or when I’m under a crazy amount of stress. The thing that really helped me deal with IBS attacks was PEPPERMINT OIL of all crazy things! Just buy a tiny vial of it from the health food store and put a drop on your tongue. It was like magic for me!

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Melissa May 29, 2011 at 9:08 am

Peppermint saves me every time my IBS rears it’s ugly head too! Strangely enough it works better than anything else. It’s awesome to hear that someone else uses it too and gets such good results. I loved this post too, I’ve wondered for a while now about the safety of the mainly carnivore diet most of my fellow midwesterners seem to follow.

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Sarah May 26, 2011 at 1:36 pm

I also struggle with IBS and have unfortunately found that eating a less healthy diet helps. I remind myself that it is healthier for MY body to avoid certain foods, even though they may sit fine with other people’s. Here are the foods that seem to trigger my IBS:
-apples (though a small amount of cooked apples seem to sit fine,)
-oranges
-kidney/black beans, chickpeas, lentils
-Kashi or bran cereals
-a lot of dark leafy greens (raw spinach in particular–I can do a small amount but do WAY better with romaine salad or 50/50 mixes than a pure raw spinach salad)
-broccoli or cauliflower
-plain coffee (I have to have coffee with a snack/meal or not at all)
-a high dairy meal (Lactaid pills can help)

Many of these things were my favorite foods, but I found that they were consistently causing my stomach issues which makes sense when you consider all the fiber and the acidity of some of these items.

Like Jenna said, staying away from fried foods and eating smaller meals throughout the day (I do 3 meals and 3 snacks) seems to help a lot. Also, getting exercise every day is proven to help with IBS–just taking a 15-20 minute walk after dinner is helpful.

I would also really recommend the “Get Relief” tea from Republic of Tea.

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Sarah May 26, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Oh, and as a follow-up–these foods may not be the ones that trigger your IBS, so take what I said with a grain of salt. It is really helpful to keep a journal (physically or mentally) of what seems to trigger symptoms so that you can narrow in on what things make you feel good and what things make it worse. I’ve found that once my stomach feels bad, it takes up to a few days to calm down, whereas if I just avoid the things that make it flare up, I stay feeling good. I still eat the foods I listed sometimes but I just do a mental evaluation of how my stomach has been doing lately and if I will be able to get back on track immediately with my “good tummy” diet. If not (like if I’m on vacation or something) I will try to just eat something bland instead of pushing it.

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AshleyH May 26, 2011 at 8:57 pm

I’m so jealous I wish I could know which foods make me sick like you do. Great job!!

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Mary May 26, 2011 at 12:38 pm

I love this post so friggin much. I have lived that life for so long with the daily fear of migraines (that NO ONE seems to understand), & have always relied on my Maxalt (with occasional bouts of prophylactic medications) which is so backwards when you think about it (i.e. to treat the symptoms rather than try to prevent the problem). I am so happy that acupuncture is working for you & can’t wait to hear about the long-term effects. I’m on a grad school budget so health insurance is my only savior, but it’s great to know there’s a potential solution out there!

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Mellissa May 26, 2011 at 12:38 pm

I also suffer from migraines and use a mix of acupuncture, massage, yoga and the occasional medication when they just get too painful to handle on my own. I think what frustrates me the most about migraines is the fact that insurance will not cover massage, acupuncture or even yoga when that is what works.

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Angelique May 26, 2011 at 12:40 pm

I’ve had migraines since I was 7 years old. My parents were terrified when I got the first one (my Dad’s mom died from a brain aneurysm). Who wouldn’t be when your child is sobbing because light and noise hurts, then proceeds to throw up and sleep for 14 hours? Luckily, my doctor had experience with juvenile migraines – her daughter had them. She gave us a list of trigger foods (processed meats, sugar, caffeine, etc.) and also recommended that I take a dose of advil/tylenol with a Coke and a piece of dark chocolate once I started getting a migraine. She even wrote the “prescription” that way so the school nurse would have my “meds” on hand.

As weird as it sounds, that method actually worked for me. (Partly, I think, because my parents were willing to do what they could to keep me off a prescription medication. My mom is European and prefers holistic medicine if possible.) I started getting fewer migraines by watching my food combinations and I learned to notice when one was coming on. Of course when puberty hit, I had to pay attention once again because hormone changes influenced my susceptability with regards to my triggers.

To this day (almost 20 years later), I haven’t had to get prescription medication to control my migraines. I pay attention to the foods I eat and try to balance my vices (I’m addicted to Coca-Cola, but limit myself to 2 or so a week). I have upgraded my migraine meds to Excedrin Migraine instead of Advil/Tylenol, but I still have a piece of chocolate and a Coke with it. :) Everytime I visit a new doctor, they’re amazed that I don’t take any daily medications. Apparently it’s a rarity.

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Baking 'n' Books May 27, 2011 at 11:41 pm

Why the chocolate and coke if I may ask??

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Julia May 28, 2011 at 6:04 am

Chocolate is rich in magnesium and that could be a factor.

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Kelly May 26, 2011 at 12:43 pm

If you insist…I’ll take a brownie.

It’s always nice to hear that I’m not alone in the headache world. And since my nose is stopped up ALWAYS (thank you inside of nose!) I can’t wait to try those supplements you had on your other post!

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Christina May 26, 2011 at 12:44 pm

Hi Jenna! I can totally relate – and took a very similar journey. I was getting 2-day migraines every other week at the end of my college career and it was affecting my school work, my job and my relationships. I never wanted to do anything because I was afraid I was going to trigger a migraine. After seeing several doctors, a friend – who is a nurse – referred me to this all nature vitamin for migraines and after my reluctance, I started to take them. Between this new vitamin, better eating and taking up running my headaches subsided and now I can go almost 6 months without one. I think taking a better look at myself really improved my grasp on my migraines. Thanks for sharing!

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Shannon Blogs May 26, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Love it when you switch it up just at the right times as far as content :)

I, thankfully, don’t get migraines, however my dad and grandma (on the same side) get them viciously as in my poor gma can’t keep anything down, not even water, can’t drive, but like you said, just lies on the couch with a pack over her face. It’s quite scary.

I’m going to pass this along to her. It makes sense about all the emotions because, Lord knows I love her, but she’s always worried about her, kids, grand kids, life, husband, etc.

Thanks Jenna and thrilled that you’re feeling better :)

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Paj May 26, 2011 at 12:48 pm

I get migraines too and I’ve pinpointed that I often get them before really large rain/snow storms. Something about the change in barometric pressure. Hard to change the weather though…

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Lauren Grier May 26, 2011 at 12:48 pm

Jenna! I am soooo sorry you get mirgraines. I FEEL your pain. I used to get them all the time in high school as well as my little brother. We would always joke that when we would see the “floating spots”, it was a mad dash to the couch to sleep before the headache began. It was a nightmare.

I eventually grew out of them but my brother has not. I changed my diet (clean foods, no soda, etc.) and try to keep my stress level at a minimum, and it seems to be working. But you also might want to check your hormone levels. Sometimes to much estrogen can throw things out of whack. I didn’t find this out until I went on the pill and got a mirgaine the next day. Well, my doctor at the time said my body had too much estrogen in it. I immediately stopped taking the pill and felt worlds better. I know they sell holistic estrogen creams out there so it may be worth checking out.

Also, keep going to your acupncturist. I agree that Western medicine shoves way to many pills down on our throats. One last thing, you might want to look into Meditation. It can really soothe your soul.

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Felicia (Natural and Balanced) May 26, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Hi Jenna :) I’ve been subscribed to your blog for a while now and I’m so glad you shared your story. I started my career as a nurse, but after taking care of patients and seeing how overly medicated everyone is, I knew there was a different calling for me in life and that I was meant to help others through alternative care. After going through personal issues myself that lead to depression, anxiety, hormonal imbalance and daily headaches, I saw an acupuncturist and that day changed me forever. After one session I knew that this was what I was meant to do, and that same week I applied to the 3 year masters program, resigned from my nursing job, and started school in two weeks, and continuous treatments helped me sooo so much. I agree that Western medicine does have its place, but Eastern medicine (acupuncture, herbs, cupping, etc) works, even better than Western medicine for certain things. I’m soooo happy you are doing this for yourself because emotions + stress definitely play a huge part in how your body responds (in your case, migraines). For other people it can show up differently, or be pain elsewhere,and you may not understand the connection, but acupuncture helps your body do what it was meant to do- heal it self on its own! The body is capable of amazing things. So many people are on meds they don’t need to be on, only because they are misguided and acupuncture in our society was never the ideal way to treat problems.. but its starting to progress in the Western world. Sorry for such a wordy comment, but I’m so happy you are sharing your story and spreading the word! :)

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Sophie May 26, 2011 at 1:33 pm

I found your comment really interesting/encouraging. I’ve been suffering with depression and anxiety for years. I tried anti-depressants a few years ago and, although they worked, I didn’t want to rely on medication so came off them and tried to manage it myself. Because of various reasons its become unmanagable again so I’ve been thinking of trying acupuncture/alternative medicine before going back to the doctor. Now I definitely will.

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Julia May 28, 2011 at 6:06 am

I wish it were affordable. I suffer depression and anxiety, but I cannot afford alternative treatments and insurance does not cover.

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Kaleigha Martin May 26, 2011 at 12:51 pm

My Mom has always suffered from migraines and until I graduated from college and stopped spending 3 hrs. a day in the gym (college basketball) I was fine. However, once my life shifted, I got married and started birth control and had a significant amount of stress, the migraines started.

I found that quitting my birth control pills, avoiding harsh florescent lights and giving up caffeine entirely helped me a ton, but I still get them 2-3 days a month. We’re (my Mom and I) are pretty sure our migraines are hormone related since they seem to go along with our cycles, but it’s still miserable to know there is not too much you can do.

Glad acupuncture is working for you! :)

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Lindsey @Textbooks and Cookbooks May 26, 2011 at 12:51 pm

I loved this post, Jenna! I’m so happy that your migraines are becoming less frequent! I suffered from multiple migraines a week for about a year back in high school. They started after a tree went through our house after a hurricane and we had to live somewhere else for 6 months. It’s amazing how much stress impacts our bodies! Thanks again for sharing your experience :)

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Linda @ Lemons May 26, 2011 at 12:52 pm

I totally believe in holistic medicine and the mind-body connection. I had hormonal migraines for years and took medication also, they would last up to three days. In the last two years I have hardly had any migraines, I think because I switched to a clean diet with very very few processed foods, and as much organic as possible, and exercise. I also just hired a holistic health coach who I am working with in the areas of nutrition, fitness, environment, relationships, etc. Everything is interrelated, and if something is wrong in one area it could show up in other areas. But I also believe that sometimes things can be too difficult for us to handle alone, or we are not objective enough to see what is happening, and at those times it is important to reach out for help, like you did with acupuncture. Thank you for sharing your story, it is inspirational and I am so glad that you are feeling better.

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Sally May 26, 2011 at 12:57 pm

I needed this post today. I have had a migraine since Friday… that’s right nearly one full week of migraines. Today was the first day, that I simply couldn’t get up and go to work. I was so exhausted and drained after making myself continue to go, go, go, when all I wanted to do was crawl under the covers in a dark room and cry. I need help and advice in changing my diet, help and advice in exercise (I’m always so tired, that I feel overwhelmed), and advice in reducing stress. Thank you for your post, it does give me hope that I can make enough changes to reduce the severity of each migraine. Hope you stay well!!

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Hannah (Balancing on Two Feet May 26, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Congrats on feeling better! I am a big believer in eastern medicine and have experienced relief from food intolerances and anxiety after going through various treatments. Western medicine simply looks to slap a chemical band-aid on the problem while at the same time creating more. It fails to look at the power of the mind and the innate ability of the body to heal on its own with proper nourishment and rest.

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Averie (LoveVeggiesandYoga) May 26, 2011 at 1:06 pm

“I just think that as a whole, America is a very over-medicated nation and often times if we just take the time to find the root of the problem, we can find a real solution…not just a temporary fix.”—

THAT SAYS it ALL !

Thank you for sharing your story and given the post has been up just a short time and already everyone is pouring in with their support and personal stories in the comments, it should validate for you that even though you feel you’re NOT “just a food blogger”…and that people really want to hear more about your personal musings and life path and life ‘stuff’. :)

I am so glad acupuncture has worked for you. I am a firm believer in it, too! It literally saved my life. Too much to go into here, but it was a true miracle what it did for me.

Chinese herbs, yoga, acupuncture, getting back to basics, examining ROOT CAUSES of issues not just medicating and treating symptoms, yep, I am 100% all about that!

So happy for you!

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Liz @ Tip Top Shape May 26, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Such an interesting post. I’ve never had acupuncture (it sort of freaks me out) but I’m glad that it worked out for you! As someone who does get the occasional migraine I can’t imagine having two every week. That must have been just awful so I’m glad you found a solution, if only a partial one.

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Lisa S May 26, 2011 at 1:15 pm

Great post! I love when someone has found a way to improve their medical issues….with a non-medical method!

I’ve suffered from migraines since age 6….and weekly by age 8. I was fortunate enough to have dr’s who believed in biofeedback and it helped alot. They slowly disappeared to just occasional – but by freshman yr in college they were back. I found relieve from acupressure/shiatsu sessions & chiropractic care. Today I’ve embraced yoga and it has helped keep them under control like nothing else I’ve tried. When I was young my triggers were processed foods and getting overheated. My triggers today tend to be hormone fluctuations and stress. I also have no curve in my neck (likely born like that) and many practioners I’ve seen say that has a big part of my headaches- so yoga helps both from the physical and emotional aspects.

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Holly @ The Runny Egg May 26, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Jenna I am glad that you found some relief!

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Kelly @foodiefresh May 26, 2011 at 1:22 pm

I’m so glad you have found something that works for you Jenna! And I promise, I read the whole thing. I’m really interested in the whole yin and yang concepts so I find this stuff really interesting. Thanks for sharing your story!

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Clare - Never Niche May 26, 2011 at 1:26 pm

Beautiful, Jenna. I’m so glad you’re healing.

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Michelle May 26, 2011 at 1:34 pm

Thanks for sharing! Taking changes on figuring out what’s wrong can yield such beautiful results. I’m starting to explore with yoga, and have always been fascinated by Eastern medicine, so I imagine it’s only a matter of time!

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Mellie May 26, 2011 at 1:41 pm

I had a migraine for the first time last week. It was the most miserable thing I’ve ever experienced. I don;t really know how I feel about Eastern medicine-some of it works but some of it seems kind of occult-ish.

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Heidi @ Food Doodles May 26, 2011 at 1:41 pm

That is so interesting! Thank you so much for sharing! I’m so glad things are starting to get better for you! My parents occasionally suffer from migraines(more so when we lived in the city, now they’re out in the country and much more relaxed) I also completely agree, there is a need for our western medicine, of course, but at the same time we really need to find the root cause of things instead of putting a band aid over everything.

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Alayna @ Thyme Bombe May 26, 2011 at 1:44 pm

So glad you’re feeling better. I had migraines in high school almost daily and nearly failed my senior year due to absences from them. Having my wisdom teeth removed took the migraines away completely and after about 6 years of being migraine-free I thought they were gone for good. But nowadays I’ve started getting them regularly again during periods of stress. Chiropractic helps, but I’m definitely on the verge of trying acupuncture too.

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AshleyH May 26, 2011 at 1:50 pm

I have had so many problems with my stomach pain over the last few years that I would do anything to get rid of it. I had some acupuncture done with no results so I’m not sure what to do other than trying to find a holistic doctor somewhere to help me.

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AshleyH May 26, 2011 at 1:51 pm

I was also going to ask what did you do for your IBS. I remembered you writing about it before but I can’t remember. Thanks!

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Kelly May 26, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Hi Jenna!
I am a regular reader but have never commented until now! This post is so, so true. The power that stress and anxiety has over your body is truly incredible. About two years ago I went through a bad breakup and moved to NYC. It was two years ago that I completely stopped getting periods, and developed horrible IBS. I went to tons of doctors, and had a million tests done, all to no avail. Turns out, my issues were all stemming from too much stress! Once I was able to get the anxiety under control, everything, went back to normal. Goes to show that worry and stress can have serious effects on your body!
Good for you for getting your migraines under control, I can’t imagine how debilitating that must have been! I’ve never tried acupuncture but this post makes me think I should give it a try. Thanks for the great read!

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Julia May 28, 2011 at 6:09 am

Very interesting!
If I cannot afford these alternative treatments, how can I benefit to do it on my own? Without acupuncture or other?

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Jamie May 26, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Thanks for sharing! 6 years ago my husband was in a horrible work accident that almost killed him, he spent 2 years recovering just from his leg injury! As a result he has since suffered with migraines. They have escelated to cluster migraines and last sometimes for weeks, one after another with no relief. Its aweful. We have tried so many different medications and treatments all to really do just exactly what you said, band aid the real issue, not fix it. I have been thinking there has to be more we can do, he sees a chiropractor once a week every week and that seems to be helping a little. I was just talking with someone today about maybe having him try acupuntcture. Maybe if I get him to read this he will be open to trying it??? Thanks again for sharing!!

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Michelle @ A Little P May 26, 2011 at 2:05 pm

I’m so happy that acupuncture helps your migraines. The only time I’ve gotten migraines was when I was dating the wrong guy and I was so stressed out about it. I can totally see how migraines are deeply tied to emotions. I love acupuncture and have been going myself for the past three months for fertility purposes. I also was having some carpal tunnel issues and in the same appointment, she helped clear it up in one session! I’m addicted for life…

Hope that the acupuncture continues to help!

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Kelli H (Made in Sonoma) May 26, 2011 at 2:29 pm

As a fellow suffer of frequent headaches, thank you for posting this. I’ve been experimenting with different vitamins / herbs and different natural ways trying to help and find the cause. My experience with doing to an MD is they want to prescribe a pill that masks the pain but does nothing to find the root cause. It’s unfortunate, really. Great post and I’m so happy acupuncture has made a difference for you.

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Alycia May 26, 2011 at 2:43 pm

What a wonderful post, Jenna and thanks so much for sharing your acupuncture experience. I know a combination of western and eastern medicine has worked for me in the past as well. We are so lucky in Canada that acupuncture is covered under medical and I have often contemplated trying it for a variety of reasons. Best of luck to you and your healing.

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Molly @ RDexposed May 26, 2011 at 2:49 pm

I loved the switch of topic! I will admit that I total love hearing about your life-even if it’s just migraines! HA. Unfortunately I’ve heard that gluten-free diets (the horror!) have helped to eliminate migraines.

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kaila @ healthy helper! May 26, 2011 at 2:55 pm

Thanks for sharing! I am big believer in eastern medicine too. And plus it is so interesting :)

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Lauren May 26, 2011 at 2:58 pm

So glad that you have found some much-needed relief — and balance. It sounds like you are doing remarkably well!

I’m so fortunate that I don’t suffer from migraines or any other serious, recurring health issues. However, I *have* visited an acupuncturist for a running injury, and can attest to how miraculous the practice is. I would recommend it to anyone, even skeptics. (Especially skeptics!) It changed how I run, how I heal, and how I think about holistic medicine/treatment. I can’t say enough about it.

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jen @ taste life May 26, 2011 at 3:07 pm

Jenna, I loved this post! I love all your great recipes, but I miss hearing more stuff about your life, and reading about your journey to holistic medicine was fascinating! I’m so glad you’re feeling better in so many ways, and I hope it continues to help.

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Melissa May 26, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Thank you for sharing your story. As a past migraine suffer, I completely understand how you feel. I really tried not to take any medicine and just power through, (drinking coffee and wearing sunglasses all the time) it was only after going on a gluten-free diet did they stop. I went on the diet for GI reasons, but the migraines stopped as well. Knock on wood… I haven’t had one in over 2 years. I am happy that you have found something that works for you!

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Tawnee May 26, 2011 at 3:19 pm

b-e-a-u-tiful photos!

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French Heart May 26, 2011 at 3:27 pm

Can sooooo related. 1st a head injury accident & permanent nerve damage of #5 cranial nerve called the ‘suicide disease’ because it is so painful. Then brother and parents deaths. A total mess. BUT, fortunately, have never been a pill taker…I just believe in doing the mesy, unattractive work of finding ones way through by healthy means (if you don’t count that boatload of wine I drank through this time).

I think a very well trained naturopath, reading ‘Prescription for Nutritional Healing’, being a naturally healthy eater entire life, has helped—but now that also feeling what more myself am definitely going to try acupuncture based on your recommendation.

I feel so sorry for anyone with migraines or chronic pain from a head injury (like so many US soldiers have from ‘blast’ injuries–you look fine when really suffering).

Great post—and on my list to make an appointment. Thanks for the tip!

BTW Jenna–I just did a post on Juan-les-Pins Jazz Festival (next door to Antibes) each July. Can’t make it this year but DEFINITELY 2012. The history is FASCINATING–& related to F Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘Tender is the Night’ which I discovered by meeting one of the festivals headliners here in a Carmel cafe!

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Carrie (Carrie on Vegan) May 26, 2011 at 3:40 pm

My migraines didn’t get under control until I read Dr. Fuhrman’s book “Eat to Live” and changed my diet. Apparently there are a lot of food triggers for migraines.

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mom May 26, 2011 at 3:52 pm

I will say that I NEVER get headaches when I do yoga!! And since I do yoga about 4 times a week ~ i really never do get headaches anymore :)

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Heidi - Apples Under My Bed May 26, 2011 at 3:57 pm

Grat post Jenna. I’ve never had a migraine, thank goodness, but have felt unbalanced since the unexpected passing of my brother too. Getting sick all the time, iron levels off, etc. Maybe I need to look into this too. Thanks :)
Heidi xo

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Danielle May 26, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Thanks for a great post! Being honest and open about personal details is not easy, but it definitely strikes a chord with me, and I am sure many other readers. I have had similar experiences with a Naturopath, where my entire being was considered, not just my symptoms. Good luck in the rest of your quest for balance!

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Megan May 26, 2011 at 4:05 pm

I’m so glad you put your story out there. I’ve mentioned before in comments that I am in school to become an acupuncturist and it only strengthen my desire to keep learning and reassures me that I made the right choice to study TCM. I love to hear how people have used Eastern medicine to better lives because it only reaffirms that this medicine is so much more than voodoo or crazy magic.

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Leah May 26, 2011 at 4:14 pm

Thanks for sharing. I think a holistic approach to medicine is a sensible one – both WEstern and Eastern medicine have their place. For instance, I think a lot of mental health issues would be assisted by a dedicated exercise/yoga/meditation regime (on top of regular counselling etc). Anything that might work is worth trying! I also just wanted to say how much I admire you for surviving a truly horrific time with your commitment and passion for life still intact. I imagine it can’t have been easy.

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Baking 'n' Books May 26, 2011 at 4:28 pm

Very interesting. And heart-breaking.

Yes. I absolutely agree that it has to do with past experiences, trauma, etc. I know people that search for the perfect diet, the perfect workout, lifestyle, job, etc. – but nothing changes.

I seen a Naturopath 3 years ago (whenever I once had insurance lol!) – and she didn’t go into certain diets or eliminations, etc. – just to try to listen to your body, etc. But really she went right into the feelings, the why, build-up emotions, etc. Because until that was dealt with the issue would just continue to manifest.

But question – you said you’ve changed (i.e. diet, lifestyle), etc…so did that coincide with the introduction of more greens and meals on your blog versus desserts, etc?

I think you should post whatever foods you want. Not just brownies or green things or soups or whatever ;) because it’s what other people want. Do and write what you want! People want authenticity right?

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Michelle May 26, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Thank you so much for this post. I’ve been dealing with some work related stress and it’s affected me physically as well as mentally. So you’re post really hits home.

Also – thanks for all the great recipes. Every recipe of your’s that I try comes out great!

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Elisa May 26, 2011 at 4:41 pm

Jenna I LOVE your longer, personal posts. Keep them coming!

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Lauri (RedHeadRecipes.com) May 26, 2011 at 4:44 pm

Wow, Thanks for ‘opening up’ and sharing all of this! I’ve never thought of acupuncture before… wonder if it helps with back pain?!

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Anne P May 26, 2011 at 4:48 pm

I’ve only had one migraine before and it was SO painful – I got it one morning at my old PR job from hell with my evil boss. I remember my vision going weird and spotty and going to CVS to get eye drops, thinking my eyes were dry or something. When I got back, the migraine hit. I was SO unhappy at that job and reading this post made me realize that was probably why I got the migraine! I asked to go home because I felt so sick and I couldn’t look at my computer screen without intense pain; my boss said no (seriously, she was evil) and sent me out to do errands instead. It was horrible.

Miss you! xo

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A Tablespoon of Liz May 26, 2011 at 5:05 pm

Thank you so much for this post- I get really bad headaches almost every day- not quite migraines, but bad none the less- and I’ve tried almost everything. I’m hesitant to take medicine because I don’t think that will solve my problem. I’ve thought about acupuncture, but after reading your post, I think I’m definitely going to try it!

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The Healthy Apple May 26, 2011 at 5:19 pm

Thank you for this amazingly beautiful post, Jenna. I have been suffering from a painful issue since December of this year. After suffering from eating kale from a farmer’s market…I’ve been diagnosed with colitis, 2 parasites, pathogens, bacteria overgrowth and 2 ulcers…needless to say I am still in pain and on heavy pain killers every day. I have switched to Eastern medicine, acupuncture, massage and yoga and it seems to be helping but still in chronic pain everyday hoping for a day without pain and can’t wait to feel ‘like my old self’ again.
Thank you for writing this post. I have spent almost $20,000 out of my pocket on numerous doctors in NYC, Philadelphia and NJ all of whom just push medicine and don’t listen or hear anything I’m saying…I agree with you about Eastern medicine and I too believe in it and believe it will heal me and balance me during this painful time in my life.
Thank you, Jenna.
xoxo
So happy you are feeling well.

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Michele May 26, 2011 at 5:48 pm

There is an amazing book called Chill out and Get Healthy by Aimee Raupp- a certified acupuncturist & herbalist who talks about pretty much every health problem and a healthy solution….

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AshleyH May 26, 2011 at 7:48 pm

This book sounds great. Thanks for the recommendation!

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Shaina May 26, 2011 at 5:53 pm

Thanks for such a great post, Jenna. I have suffered from migraines my entire life (yes, seriously) and they just don’t seem to ever go away (I’m 29 now). It is really discouraging, and no one in my family gets migraines so it seems impossible for them to really understand what a hell it is. I went on birth control when I was 16 to help regulate what seemed, at the time, like hormonal migraines. Over the years, they just started getting worse and worse, and I went through a period in college when I had to have at least one dose of Excedrin Migraine a day. Oh, and forget drinking – pretty much every time I got drunk (hey, it was college!), I would get a huge migraine and throw up half the night. So I basically gave up drinking (save for wine here and there), and life was so much better.

Then, more migraines. So I saw a specialist and went on Topomax. Which completely took away any and all hunger and I lost a ton of weight. I hated the Topomax and I just decided to take myself off of it (bad Shaina). I tried another prophylactic med, and it made me SO SICK that I got the worst migraines I’ve ever had in my life. I ended up in the ER, incredibly dehydrated from throwing up 800 million times along with the worst migraine on earth.

That was the day I gave up daily meds for migraines. I now take Zomig if I need to, but I refuse to take another daily med. I was still getting several headaches a month, but then – I went off of birth control. How ironic that the pill I originally started taking 13 years ago to HELP migraines ended up causing them? Now, I get MAYBE 2-3 migraines a month. Compared with 3-4 a week, this is huge. I try to avoid some foods and get exercise, but I don’t do either of those things as much as I should. I have been dying to try acupuncture, both for migraines and fertility/endometriosis, but I haven’t wanted to spend the money. Your post has convinced me that I should give it a try! So, back to blogging to work on saving my pennies. Thanks for posting your experiences here!

And, crap, this is long.

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Rebecca May 26, 2011 at 6:27 pm

You should check out “The Divided Mind” by John Sarno. It helps to explain how pain and the mind are connected.

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Kate May 26, 2011 at 6:36 pm

Thank you for sharing! I’m glad you feel so much better. Kudos to you for getting to the root of the problem.

I found acupuncture helpful when I was experiencing infertility. I don’t necessarily think it helped me get pregnant (fertility drugs may have played a bigger role–ha!) but it helped so much in terms of lowering my stress. So many times I cried on the table and felt the release…meditation helped too.

I think anything that helps you get the emotions out can be useful. For many years I saw a therapist to help deal with childhood and relationship issues. I too was uncomfortable expressing my feelings for most of my life. After starting therapy I probably started oversharing with people. ;) But it made a world of difference in terms of understanding myself and my patterns better.

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chelsey @ clean eating chelsey May 26, 2011 at 6:41 pm

Absolutely fantastic post. I am a true believer in Eastern/holistic medicine. The US is way overly medicated. I hate how doctors prescribe medicine as a quick fi to everything. While I do have to take medication for thyroid problems, after I have children I want to look into a holistic approach to thyroid management!

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Katie May 26, 2011 at 6:43 pm

Thank you so much for sharing this! I have suffered from migraines since I was 6 years old, and have experienced bouts of relief, and also periods when they are much worse, over the years. One thing I have been aware of in the past few years is how closely related they are to stress and emotions, like you have also discovered. I have always hated taking the prescription drugs because they make me feel awful. I will definitely be giving all of this some thought! I am so glad to hear that you are feeling great and are having (almost) no migraines at all.

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Liv @ The Salty n' Sweet May 26, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Growing up with Chinese parents, I was always aware of maintaining a “balance” in life, from emotions to what we eat. If you have sinus problems, it means you’re inflamed and have “too much heat”. So to balance that out, you should eat cool foods, like watermelon and mung bean soup. I think this balance is so important, and Chinese medicine definitely allows you to feel more in tune with yourself, and forces you to be self aware to heal the wounds.

Awesome post, and I hope that the migraines go away permanently!

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Virginia May 26, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Long-time reader, first time poster! I might be biased because my office is next door to an acupuncturist (I work in a mind-body wellness center), but it’s always great to see someone find relief like this. My grandmother had migraines as a young woman, and acupuncture was the only thing that helped, and actually stopped them completely. Probably the most remarkable acupuncture story I’ve heard is about the woman who needed dialysis, started acupuncture treatments, and went back to her doctor and he told her that her numbers were good enough that dialysis was no longer needed! I’m glad it’s coming around, with people in this culture more and more open to it! Take care of yourself Jenna. You’ll thank yourself later!

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Ashley May 26, 2011 at 6:59 pm

Wow such a great post! I’ve slowly been switching to a more vegetarian diet as well (although I don’t think I could totally convert!), good luck with the migraines and I hope they stay away for you!

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Lauren May 26, 2011 at 7:00 pm

I’m a newbie to your blog and loving it. I really appreciate that you expand your discussion of food to include reflections on the whole body. You’re right about the emotional correlation. I’m a back and neck pain gal and have been for years, but in the last few years it’s been the worst (complete with headaches!). Three years ago, I was in a long distance engagement, planning my wedding, dealing with my dad’s stage 4 cancer, traveling every other weekend to see him, relocating to start work on a Ph.D. (I feel like that alone would give most people headaches!), struggling to find a church and friends, and so on. Medication, chiropractics, etc. didn’t do it. Thanks for this post. Based on the other comments, I suspect that you’ll have a lot of converts to acupuncture. I’ll be checking it out pronto.

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meghan@ struggle muffins May 26, 2011 at 7:03 pm

Well said! I’ve always been intrigued by Eastern Medicine and recently had the opportunity to learn about it in yoga teacher training; very fascinating stuff and though its such a departure from what we’re all accustomed to with Western Medicine, it all kind of makes sense when you get more familiar with it. Its amazing how much emotions and energy play into a person’s overall health and well being, and I think that’s a major area where Western Medicine falls short. Glad the migraines are getting better and you’re feeling more vibrant :)

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Sam May 26, 2011 at 7:11 pm

Thank you for sharing your story Jenna. Though I have never suffered from migraines, I’ve always been interested in Eastern medicine and finding more natural ways to heal health problems. I also believe in a more proactive approach rather than simply masking the problem/symptoms with a pill or other form of medicine.

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Maureen May 26, 2011 at 8:48 pm

I had my first acupuncture treatment last summer after I threw my back out. I had back pain from May (when I over-lifted planting flowers) for three months and by July couldn’t stand up straight, sit in a chair, sleep or even put my pants on without tremendous pain. One acupuncture treatment and I was free again. I went back a week later because if 1 was a miracle worker 2 would be the clincher. Have not had back pain since that moment. My brother in law (a general practice physician) recommended it. Now THAT is modern medicine.

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Katrina May 26, 2011 at 8:54 pm

Beautiful story. Great post!

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Dominique May 26, 2011 at 9:16 pm

Hi Jenna,
Thanks so much for sharing your migraine story with us. Your story sounds incredibly similar to mine. My migraines started in high school as well but I never thought they were migraines; I had always thought they were really bad headaches. Not until a really long time later (probably 3 years) did I see a doctor who said I probably had migraines. She made me log everything I ate, how I felt, weather, etc so I could cross out some foods from my diet and that seemed to help. She also gave me prescription meds for the migraines.

But then my migraines worsened because every med I was on, my body would just get used to them. I’ve had four different ones now and even this latest med isn’t working as well as it used to. In the past two years I’ve been on 4 different preventative meds but I’m not sure how well they are working either. I used to get 13-15 migraines a month and am now down to 6-8 so I see that as an improvement but 6-8 is still too much. The cost of the meds (thank goodness for work health insurance!) and me having to take a day off work are not my idea of a good time.

I’ve been debating the acupuncture route. I’ve actually been debating it for months but haven’t really met anyone with the same problem who has had any positive results. I’m really glad that you shared your story with me. Your story and today’s migraine (I had gone a week without one…huge victory for me) are enough to make me call the holistic health centre and get an appointment.

Story for long story! PS: I also have IBS and a bunch of food allergies so I can relate.

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Lindsay May 26, 2011 at 10:51 pm

I was so excited to read this! I started learning about naturopathic medicine several months ago. I’d had an abnormal pap smear and gone through all the biopsies, surgery, etc., only to find that it was still abnormal. I read about people who used herbs and nutrition to reverse the abnormalities. So, I saw a naturopathic doctor who helped me come up with a plan. Three months later, everything was fine! I’ve read a lot about how sometimes medicine can hurt more than it helps and how a lot of things could probably be fixed with our bodies by our eating habits or other more natural ways.

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Erin May 26, 2011 at 11:59 pm

You’re amazing. I love your blog…. I love hearing about your life outside of food… your move to CA, wine workings, your family, your southern livin…(lived in NC for over 2 years) and now this. I use to suffer from them for like 2 years…. not having a clue what was causing them. I really just thought i’d have to live with them. I’d get migraines two to three days at a time…for most of the month…. taking 1000mg of tylonal/Ibi mix… every 4 hrs. Yeah…was killing my body with that alone. I was having so much intestinal problems as well at that point…which I was told was IBS but was more like Colitis and no insurance and no help with western meds anyhow….I too turned to acupuncture. Taking MANY herbals a day…for months…i finally started to get better. It wasn’t right away, but i just enjoyed going!! But still had the headaches. My acupuncturist mentioned my birthcontrol..and suggested i get off it. I did…and they went away!!! They affected my life for SO long… so much pain…and this was the answer! I am grateful for her for so many reasons…and look forward to getting back into it to help me balance my body again. I moved to WA and just haven’t taken to them to find a great place. I am SO glad you are able to manage them better….I know how they can ruin a life. I wish you loads of health and happiness. :) A long time reader, Erin C.

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Sarah May 27, 2011 at 1:16 am

Thanks so much for this post. I get really bad IBS, almost on a weekly basis and have never really considered acupuncture. I know you used acupuncture for your migraines but I consider them to have the same root cause of imbalance, tension and unresolved emotions as IBS. It’s got me thinking about giving it a go? Btw, I know you mentioned briefly that you had IBS, do you still get it? What did you/do you do to manage it?

Thanks jenna :)

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Nic Dempsey May 27, 2011 at 1:41 am

I think it depends on the doctor. My GP encourages me to take responsibility for my health. With my migraines, we talked about triggers and how best to cope when they were happening. Supplements that would help (high doses of Co Q10) in some cases. Also the importance of regulating sleep, not eating junk or processed food and generally being healthy. I kept a food diary so we could look for triggers, it wasn’t chocolate and red wine, it was PMT (I was just more likely to eat chocolate and red wine before my period!). So I need to remember that the ice cream isn’t going to help with the PMT, I have the painkillers for when I’m not mindful about my life and health but as my doctor says the migraines are a warning from my body to my head that I need to behave!! I would say that you need a good doctor who will take the time to do that and often they don’t.

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Marie-sophie May 27, 2011 at 2:43 am

Thanks for this post about migraine! i’ve been suffering from it for Years and i am still trying to find a Way to live with it! And yes, only fellow migraine sufferers can understand what this really means! I think for me it’s my perfectionism regarding my studies and the breaks between two pill packages … A hormonal issue. So glad that you’ve found a way!!!

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Christie {Nourishing Circle} May 27, 2011 at 3:16 am

Thank you for sharing, Jenna. I switched over to naturopathic medicine in December but have been wondering if Eastern Medicine is what I really want to try. My naturopath’s office has an accupuncturist but I haven’t made the leap of seeing her. I know I will someday soon it is just a matter of making the leap.

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Christine @ Burning It Off May 27, 2011 at 3:51 am

Thanks for this. I suffer from migraines as well, usually about three a month. Now that I think about it, I didn’t get my first migraine until after my dad passed away a few years ago; I’d never really made that connection before. I agree that people turn to pharmaceuticals far too often to fix everything.

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Kirsty May 27, 2011 at 3:59 am

Thanks for sharing Jenna. So glad to hear you found some relief via acupuncture.
I also suffered from migraines. I found when I was stressed I was getting a couple a week. About a year and a half ago I changed my diet to be more inline with the Primal diet. I found cutting the carbs and more specifically going gluten free eliminated my migraines. The times when I have been tempted by food with gluten, I have had a migraine the next day.

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Fancy May 27, 2011 at 4:18 am

Thank you for sharing, Jenna! This post was so well written!

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Ellen May 27, 2011 at 5:31 am

Thanks so much for sharing your experience! I personally have never suffered from migraines, but I can’t imagine. I’m so happy you’re feeling much better! It’s always interesting to hear how people journey to better health!

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Regan May 27, 2011 at 5:54 am

Jenna,
Thanks for sharing. I was raised by my dad who believes in Eastern medicine, and I actually became a doctor of Western medicine. I’ve had exposure to both and believe that each side has it’s own purpose (and I agree, most Americans are over medicated). During med school, I took a course in mind-body medicine that was earth shattering. We all go through trauma in our lives, and it manifests itself clinically in so many ways. This book really helped me: John Sarno, The MindBody Prescription (’cause I know you are all about books!) and there are a lot of courses out there designed to help you work through it. But, like many things, realizing that you have unresolved issues is sometimes enough to make the pain go away.
Good luck with your journey to becoming migraine free!

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Krista May 27, 2011 at 9:21 am

I have to second this recommendation to read The MindBody Prescription. I have suffered from many physical ailments (back pain, hives, and foot pain), but they were all related to emotions/coping and manifested as physical pain. This book changed my life and I really think it would make a difference for you too!

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Kim May 27, 2011 at 6:34 am

Great post! I have been seeing an acupuncturist for anxiety and sinus issues and it has really helped with both. My favorite part about it is that it is SO relaxing… sometimes I literally can’t feel my body during the treatment, I am so relaxed. Love love love it. Thanks for sharing.

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Urban Wife May 27, 2011 at 6:54 am

Thank you for sharing such a personal experience. My best friend has suffered from migranes most of her life but I’m not sure that she’s given acupuncture a try (not to say that will be her cure but it’s worth a shot). It is so true that there is usually always a deeper issue or an external factor that causes headaches, migranes, etc. and when you find relief by figuring out those possible causes, oh boy does life become joyous again! God bless you, Jenna. :)

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Jil @ Big City, Lil Kitchen May 27, 2011 at 7:18 am

Thanks for sharing – and I agree about this country being overly medicated…there is a pill for just about everything it seems. I shared this with a friend who suffers from migraines, too.

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Michelle | GOLD-HEARTED GIRL May 27, 2011 at 9:50 am

I am SO glad you wrote about this. It’s totally the type of subject I’m interested in. I get pretty bad allergy (or what I think to be allergies) headaches, and I know that emotional stress adds to it. I’ve never tried acupuncture, but I’ve tried alterations of my diet (removing gluten, adding bee pollen, raw honey). Any diet suggestions are greatly appreciated! I definitely want to book an appt. with a holistic doctor. It’s next on my to-do list!

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Julien May 27, 2011 at 9:54 am

My input for what I would like you to write about:

It’s nice to hear about YOU again. For years, I used to read this blog every morning, it was the first thing I did when I got up (and drank my coffee). I found your daily commitments to treating you body right and living well inspiring. Your new blog style doesn’t really appeal to me and I’ve stopped reading except for once every week or two, and then I generally go back and read older posts- but I’m sure you took that into account when you changed the content of your blog.

When I see posts like this, I get a little excited and it rekindles my joy for this blog. I always came to read because I liked you and felt like we were (in some way) friends, not really so much for your shiny pictures of cake and numbered lists about bubble baths, slippers and yoga pants. Posts like this one remind me that you are an amazingly thoughtful, introspective writer.

I like hearing about food in a greater context than “it tasted good”, a concept which we are bombarded with constantly in American culture: eat food, it tastes good. Well, yes, why would I eat something that tastes bad? But there are so many more interesting reasons to eat. I like hearing about how food can make your body feel better, bring family and friends together, how the process of making it is satisfying in itself, even the joy of where it comes from.

Food is such an amazingly integral part of every. single. person’s life. And so often it gets pushed aside as an after thought and the only foods at the top of the food pyramid get any glorification because they are supposed to be eaten sparingly. I’d like to see every day foods get just as much love, beans and rice, salad, fruit, whole grains, the ones that sustain us every day.

Sorry for such a long comment, but that is what I would like to see you write about.

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jenna May 27, 2011 at 10:33 am

I appreciate your input, Julien!

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Courtney May 27, 2011 at 10:27 am

Thank you sharing!! Amen on the quick fix mindset… We all want that but there comes a point where we need to get the fix! Even if it means not taking pills and adapting a new lifestyle!
I suffer from ovarian cyst and 2 years ago I did a hair analysis and found my body was not balanced vitamin/mineral wise, which was causing some health problems. I would eat healthy foods and was active but I needed more guidance on the type of foods… 2 years now and I’m feeling healthier than ever!

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Jin May 27, 2011 at 10:36 am

Wonderful post, Jenna.

It’s great to hear you have found what works for you… though I am not a frequent migraine sufferer, when I do get one, I can’t do anything else. I cannot imagine having them a few times a week.

I had my own experience with acupuncture a year ago due to extreme low energy and re-occurring stomach ulcers. Medication didn’t help so I turned to eastern medicine. It didn’t cure me completely, but it helped me a lot.

Hope those migraine buggers stop bothering you!!!

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Caitlin May 27, 2011 at 11:03 am

Thanks for sharing! I’m glad to hear you’ve found something to help and now I’m interested in learning more about acupuncture. I wonder if it could help my allergies…

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LeeAnn May 27, 2011 at 11:16 am

Great post! I am a chiropractor and do a lot of work with migraines as well. I cannot tell you the number of patients who have been through countless numbers of drugs and still suffer from their headaches. I think Holistic Medicine is awesome (I may be partial). It is amazing to see what the body can do when you remove interference and let it heal itself! I love my acupuncturist…and that I get to trade with her so we both benefit!

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Wendi @ Earth, Wind, and Fire May 27, 2011 at 11:56 am

I really enjoyed your post. The part I like the best is when your acupuncturist said that things that happen in our lives influence how our bodies feel. It makes you think, what is sickness really?

I am very interested in acupuncture. I wonder if it will help my sinuses. My doctor put me on an over the counter medicine that made me feel icky, so i stopped using that and started using a netipot. It has really helped.

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Michelle May 27, 2011 at 6:05 pm

When I went to my acupuncturist they were talking about how much it helped with sinus infections. I’d give it a go.

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Cindy May 27, 2011 at 2:40 pm

I suffer from chronic daily headaches and have had a headache almost every day since 2006. I have tried everything but acupuncture only b/c insurance didn’t cover it, and now I am in a post grad program and the cost unfortunately is more than my expenses can handle. I hope that I can eventually find an acupuncturist who would be willing to help an ailing post grad student out and see if it would remedy my situation. I am so glad that it worked for you, b/c it gives me hope that there is a solution out there for me.

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Ellen May 27, 2011 at 2:58 pm

So wonderful that you’re getting relief from acupuncture. I truly believe it is so valuable. My sister had migraines for 15 years without a solution. She did acupuncture for a couple years, and while it helped, it never totally made them go away. What did work was going gluten free. She doesn’t have celiac, just an intolerance, but the only migraines she’s had since have been after she’s cheated. It’s not worth it to her. She’s medicine free and feels great. Apparently gluten is a huge migraine trigger for a lot of people.

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Michelle May 27, 2011 at 6:04 pm

EXACT same thing happened to me with my food allergies and IBS. I was hospitalised in Japan 2008 and that triggered intense food allergies, food intolerance, depression and binge eating. After about two years of constant leaky gut, gaining weight, etc..I finally started acupuncture every 2 weeks for 4 months. There were times when I would have a needle placed in and I would instantly start bawling. uncontrollably. It was amazing. So much was inside of me. Now I can handle gluten, my binging is totally under control and my depression is pretty much fixed. it was the best thing I’ve ever done and I honestly think that our bodies manifest our emotions through physical symptoms and it needs to be ‘let out’.

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Sana May 27, 2011 at 6:47 pm

I can’t even imagine what you have been through, I hate the occasional headache. But you are soo right, your body will never feel “right” unless you control the outside issues!

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Katie May 27, 2011 at 9:05 pm

Jenna, I loved loved loved this post! Because it’s idferent, gives us a glimpse into your life, and is something I’m so interested in. I have a debillatating chronic pain condition and while I know this is just your experience, it has motivated me to just jump into eastern medicine. I have gotten no where with western doctors for two years. I have felt guilty about spending the money on acupuncture but I think it’s worth a try and that I deserve it!
And I can see you’ve gotten a lot of comments. Guess everyone else likes this post too.

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Rachel Wilkerson May 28, 2011 at 10:20 am

Not only was this an informative post, but I was really touched by how you talked about your grief. I can completely relate. I’m glad you found something that is working for you and you’re feeling so great!

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suzy pepper May 29, 2011 at 7:07 am

You’re a wonderful writer. Thank you for this post.

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doniree May 29, 2011 at 12:12 pm

Hi, new reader here :) Thank you for sharing this perspective! I actually took a similar approach with yoga and anxiety many years ago and to this day, yoga (and physical activity, a good diet, and limited caffeine) help me keep my anxiety at bay. I’ve talked to counselors before, but was always nervous about meds, so continued to seek ways to manage without going that route. I understand that doesn’t work for everyone, but I’m happy that I feel a little in control of my emotions and health. I’ve been wanting to try acupuncture for some time, and now might add that to my list! Thanks again for sharing your story :)

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Rebecca June 8, 2011 at 9:30 am

Hi Jenna,

I am new to your blog and really enjoying it. Reading through old posts I found this one, and had a comment I thought might be helpful. I just graduated with my degree in Osteopathic Medicine. It is a western medical degree, with all of the same licensure privileges awarded to MD’s, but we use the letter’s DO after our name and take a much more holistic approach towards patient care. We also practice something called Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine, which I have found to be very helpful for both my migraines and my IBS. Most people still don’t know there are 2 different types of western medicine, so I just wanted to let your readers know they have even more options than they might realize! Thanks, look forward to reading more :)

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Debbie Jones February 11, 2012 at 10:34 am

Hi Jenna…..thank you for sharing your story. I to have many migranes. I would so like to try the eastern medicine, but living in a rural area I will have to dig right in and try and find someone. It won’t be easy but will be well worth it by your writings. I find dairy to be a big part of my headache problems also. Thanks again!

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