Scientific research confirms that acupuncture is safe and effective for preventing and alleviating migraine headaches.
Studies demonstrate that acupuncture is an effective method for relieving migraines. Small clinical studies and large scale meta-analyses confirm the efficaciousness of acupuncture. Additional research demonstrates that acupuncture is an effective alternative to medications for the treatment of migraines with acupuncture demonstrating superior positive patient outcomes in both short and long-term results.
A large body of scientific evidence demonstrates that acupuncture is effective for the relief of migraines. From small clinical studies to large scale analyses, acupuncture has been proven both safe and effective. In addition, researchers find true acupuncture more effective than sham acupuncture.
RMIT University and Royal Melbourne Hospital researchers find acupuncture effective for the relief of migraines (Wang et al.). They note, “Acupuncture can be used as alternative and safe prophylaxis for frequent migraine. Our recommendation is that practitioners treat migraine sufferers twice per week for at least eight weeks.” Their controlled study documents that sham acupuncture does not produce the significant positive patient outcomes as in true acupuncture. The researchers note that “more participants in the RA [real acupuncture] group used less pain killers as relief medication than in the SA [sham acupuncture] group” at the end of the treatment regimen. In addition, the total number of days with a migraine was significantly lower in the real acupuncture group as compared with the sham acupuncture group. Wang et al. document that 73% of real acupuncture patients had a 50% or greater reduction in the number of days with a migraine whereas the sham acupuncture group had a 29% reduction.
The researchers note, “The present trial showed that acupuncture was effective in reducing migraine days, as well as effecting a reduction of medication consumption and improvement in quality of life, when compared with sham acupuncture.” They add that the “results demonstrated that manual acupuncture can be an effective and a safe prophylaxis for frequent migraine sufferers.”
Scott et al. conclude that acupuncture is “of comparable efficiency to several proven drug therapies for the treatment and prevention of migraine[s].” The meta-analysis conducted by Scott et al. involved the investigation of twenty-five randomized controlled trials involving a sample size of 3,004 migraine sufferers. Given these and the aforementioned findings, the consensus of modern research is that acupuncture is both safe and effective for the treatment of migraines.
Wang, Yanyi, Charlie Changli Xue, Robert Helme, Cliff Da Costa, and Zhen Zheng. “Acupuncture for Frequent Migraine: A Randomized, Patient/Assessor Blinded, Controlled Trial with One-Year Follow-Up.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2015 (2015).
Scott SW, Deare JC. Acupuncture for migraine: a systematic review. ‘Aust J Acupunct Chin Med’ 2006;1(1):3-14).