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Study Shows Acupuncture Works for Migraines

By: Diane Joswick, L.Ac., MSOM

The latest study, published in the March, 2008 journal, Headache confirms that acupuncture significantly reduces migraines and works better that drugs alone. 

The study, conducted at the University of Padua in Italy by Dr. Enrico Facco and his colleagues, included 160 participants that were divided into four groups; a true acupuncture treatment according to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in migraine without aura, a standard mock acupuncture protocol, an accurate mock acupuncture healing ritual, and an untreated control. 

The participants in all the groups were given the medication, Rizatriptan, to treat any migraine attacks.

Over six months, only the group receiving true, traditional acupuncture showed lasting improvement in migraine disability measured on a standardized scale.  The groups using only the medication and the mock acupuncture plus Rizatriptan showed only temporary or transient improvement.

Dr. Facco theorizes that acupuncture prevents migraine by altering nerve signals or affecting neurotransmitters released in the central nervous system. The results are promising, according to Dr. Facco, but more studies are needed to confirm the benefits of traditional acupuncture for migraine.

However, Facco added, since the therapy carries little risk of side effects, it could be worth a try for migraine sufferers who are not adequately helped by standard preventive treatment.

SOURCE: Headache, March 2008.

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