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Study finds Acupuncture Effective for Episodic Migraines

By: Vanessa Vogel Batt L.Ac. MSOM

Can a minimum of six acupuncture treatments actually reduce the number of migraine headaches? A 2016 study titled "Acupuncture for Preventing Migraine Headaches" sought to answer to this question. The study was published in the Cochrane Library.

A migraine causes severe pain, usually one-sided, and may be accompanied by nausea or photo-sensitivity. The results of the study showed that acupuncture is an effective treatment to reduce the frequency of migraines.

Researchers analyzed 22 trials, which included more than 5,000 patients. Several benefits from acupuncture were recorded. The average number of migraines was reduced. The benefits of treatment still persisted even six months after treatment. Sham acupuncture can provide a small benefit for certain patients.

The study found that if a patient had migraines six days a month then after six acupuncture treatments that number reduced to 3.5. If a patient was given sham acupuncture or prophylactic drugs, that number reduced to 4. Therefore researchers concluded that acupuncture is an effective, safe treatment for patients suffering from migraines.

Source: Linde K, Allais G, Brinkhaus B, Fei Y, Mehring M, Vertosick EA., Vickers A, White AR. "Acupuncture for the prevention of episodic migraine". Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2016, Issue 6. Art. No.: CD001218. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001218.pub3


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About the Author: Vanessa Vogel Batt, L.Ac., MSTOM, studied at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, and practiced acupuncture and Oriental medicine in New York for several years. Vanessa enjoys traveling the world, and has published articles on acupuncture and Oriental medicine and related health topics for websites and publications in both the U.S. and abroad.

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