Migraine treatment: What does an acupressure mat do?

There are more than 300 different types of headache ranging from mind to severe and they affect us all. There isn’t a cure but there are plenty of medical treatments available in the UK and methods you can try at home to take the edge off. One of these is an acupressure mat, but what does an acupressure mat do?

Migraine is the sixth most disabling condition globally, according to the World Health Organisation.

If you are having more than five episodes of migraine in a month, or less than that but the headaches last several days, it is worth seeing your GP and trialling a treatment.

However, there are side effects to prescription treatments so you may need to play around to find out what works for you in the long run.

If you take pain killers more than ten times a month, you will make your headache worse. This is called pain-killer overuse.

Dr Zoe’s Migraine Clinic on This Morning revealed a number of treatments you can use at home to dull your migraine.

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How do you cure migraines?

Dr Zoe said: “There’s no cure but there are loads of treatments. The first thing is to think about things people can do themselves.

“One of the most important things people can do is to keep a headache diary.

“Prevention is better than cure. If you can work out what your triggers are, then you’re part of the way to preventing getting the migraines.

“Common triggers would be anything that disrupts your usual routine.”

Dr Zoe listed a number of common triggers, including lack of sleep, too much sleep, missing meals, stress, dehydration, heat, and flashing lights.

She added: “We have loads of treatments. There are things you can buy over the counter such as paracetamol, ibuprofen, and aspirin, and then lots of prescription drugs as well.

What does an acupressure mat do?

Dr Zoe said: “There’s loads of really good evidence around acupuncture– needles being inserted into the skin– for migraines.”

Acupuncture stimulates various systems of your body, and this may trigger a healing response.

The needles are usually put near nerves in your body with the aim of stimulating specific nerves to release hormones.

She explained: “There are randomised controlled trials, there are meta-analyses that consistently show that acupuncture is a really useful treatment for migraines.

“The acupressure mat is based on that. This is really spikey.”

The acupressure mat can be placed behind the neck or down the back, and they come in different sizes. You could also purchase an acupressure pillow.

Dr Zoe recommended trying this mat at home to reduce the pain, but if that is not enough to ease your pain you should try acupuncture.

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According to the NHS, if medicines are unsuitable or do not help to prevent migraines, you can try acupuncture.

Some GP surgeries offer acupuncture, but most do not, so you may have to pay for it privately.

The NHS site says a course of up to ten sessions over a five to eight week period may be beneficial.

See your doctor or a neurologist before making any decisions.

Cold therapy

Next, Holly and Phil tried a purple cold therapy cap.

Dr Zoe exampled: “Cold therapy has been used for centuries for headaches.

“The evidence for cold therapy is not that well-established. There are lots of small trials.

“Cold therapy causes a numbing affect and can cause the blood vessels to constrict a little bit.”

A quick Google revealed that cold therapy works by extracting heat from the affected area, and it may dull the sensation or throbbing pain.

You can buy these migraine hats online and wear them while walking around, sitting, or trying to sleep.


Not mentioned on the show but still a popular choice, triptans may be prescribed if regular painkillers don’t do the trick.

Your GP may recommend taking painkillers with a type of medicine called a triptan, and possibly anti-sickness medicine.

Triptans are a painkiller specifically for migraine headaches, and they are thought to work by reversing the changes in the brain that may cause migraine headaches.

They are available as tablets, injections, and nasal sprays.

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