Therapy: Dr Huang Yu, who is a specialist in migraines, treated more than 1,000 migraine patients with acupuncture therapy at the National Institute of Traditional Medicine in Thimphu recently. Dr Huang Yu, who lives in the US, was invited to treat people with migraines. She spoke with Kuensel’s Tenzin Namgyel on the issue.

What is the cause of migraine and why it is common in Bhutan?

According to Chinese medicine, migraine has two types of causes: the external and internal.

External cause is mainly because of heat and cold that is occurred due to change in weather while internal cause of migraine is because of blood deficiency, stress, and blood stagnation.

During my last two weeks of treatment in Bhutan, I found that diet is the main issue. Bhutanese diet has low protein and highly spicy, which is not good for health. It is probable that the poor diet habit in Bhutan is one of the common causes of migraine.

Why is it important to have adequate protein?

For 1 kg of body weight requires 0.8 gram of protein. If your body weight is 40 Kg then you need 32 grams of protein. An egg contains 6 grams of protein. For us to maintain a minimum healthcare, we need at least 20 grams of protein in a day.

In Bhutan, most of the people do not have even basic protein. Bhutanese need to cut down spicy, which otherwise will make your body imbalance. If you do not have a minimum supply of protein in your body then you are prone to get disease such as migraine.

If you eat eggs, beans, tophus, soya bean, lentos and nuts it is not necessary to eat meat.

Kids need protein for at least 20 grams. Bhutanese also eat too much rice, which causes high blood pressure, cholesterol and high blood sugar.

What is acupuncture and how does it help relief headache?

Acupuncture is the conduct of energy flow in the body. If there is imbalance of energy, it creates problem in the body. When there is imbalance of energy we need to correct it. When you put needle, it releases energy, which has created blockage in the body either due to cold and heat or due weather factors.

Migraine can also be prevented by doing a continuous meditation and yoga as it helps in a proper flow of energy in our body.

How can eating meals on time help prevent migraine?

Bhutanese eat very late dinner. Chinese stop eating by 3 PM, which is impossible for Bhutanese. However, one should eat dinner by at least 6:30 PM.

According to Chinese medicine, early dinner helps in digestion. When we go to bed early, the body functions well because we get adequate rest. The body needs adequate time to digest extra food that we have put in.

When we eat meals on time, it helps in digestions and maintains a proper blood circulation.

I also emphasise people to dress warm because if you do not dress warm external factors cause migraine. One needs to eat and sleep well otherwise, internal factor can cause migraine.

Cold always block energy flow and according to Chinese medicine it is important to keep our feet warm because the cold can get through feet and block energy flow.

Since migraine is something to do with weather change, how you adapt with the weather and how you interact with environment is also important.

How is acceptance of acupuncture globally?

It is pretty good. I live is the U.S and 99.9 percent of my patients are from the U.S. I would be happy to see Bhutanese accept acupuncture as Bhutanese like natural therapy like Americans and Westerners. Acupuncture in the U.S and Western countries is legal, so Bhutan must think along this line too.