Migraine Procedure: Creepy Crawlers Need Not Apply!

June 28, 2013

Be forewarned: If you are a squeamish soul struggling with migraines, you may not really want to learn much more about a story of a British migraine sufferer who found some creepy relief!  We are talking about leech therapy, or hirudotherapy that dates back to the ancient Egyptians. 

Fortunately medical science has come a long way since leeching, and migraineurs can opt for a migraine procedure without ever needing to even see one of these bloodsucking, spineless creatures.  According to Wikipedia, the use of this historical multi-therapeutic practice peeked in the 1800’s.  It has enjoyed a current revival as an alternative form of medicine, and has been used mostly in microsurgery to alleviate blood clotting and improve circulation.

The British author Emma Parker Bowles was recently featured in an online news story about her leech therapy adventure for migraines.  She said during one of her migraines, she couldn’t even tolerate the sound of her bed sheets crunching.  It was this desperation that emboldened her to allow a hirudotherapist to attach the leeches onto her temples. She was seeking a natural alternative solution to analgesic medication. She did not indicate whether she suffers with a chronic headache condition or had considered a migraine procedure.

According to the MailOnline article, researchers in Germany found that leech therapy can reduce knee pain from arthritis.  Once a leech attaches to the skin, its saliva releases blood-thinning, analgesic and anti-inflammatory substances.  Ms. Bowles said that when the leech smells a food source (You!) it wiggles and cranes it’s head toward that direction. 

When the critter bites into the skin it hurts, but soon after, the leech’s anesthetic saliva secretions numb the area while it feasts on the blood until it is full, and falls off, drunk with satisfaction. Hmm.

If the thought of hunting for bloodsucking worms and a hirudotherapist to treat your migraines is just too creepy, don’t worry about it. This migraine treatment really doesn’t have as much compelling scientific research or anecdotal evidence as some other treatments and migraine procedures such as neurostimulation. 


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