Recent studies on the effects of acupuncture in treating the pain and misery of migraine headaches are showing the acupuncture is more effective than the standard drug therapy.
Acupuncture practitioners treated women suffering from migraines and found that their attacks were lessened in severity and frequency and required less analgesic (pain-killing) medication than patients who had the standard drug therapy alone.
The research was focused on patients with classical migraines; intense one-sided headaches with visual disturbances, or auras.
The research trail took place at the Women’s Headache Centre in Turin where 160 patients were studied. The lead researcher, Dr Gianni Allais and his associates found that the acupuncture group of women experienced fewer migraine headaches throughout the six months of acupuncture treatment.
This group also took less of the standard drug used to prevent migraines: flunarizine.
The study was published in the “Headache” medical journal. Dr Allais and his team treated 80 women with acupuncture once a week during the first 2 months, then one treatment a month for the following 4 months. The acupuncture points were standard throughout the treatment session, with needles inserted in the same points each time. The needles remained in place for 20 minutes.
The second group of 80 women took flunarizine every day for the first 2 months, then reduced the dose to 20 times a month for the following 4 months.
Both the acupuncture group and the drug therapy group experienced less migraine headaches, the researchers found. However, the women having acupuncture treatment had fewer episodes of migraine than the women taking the flunarizine. The acupuncture group had an average of 2.3 migraines during the first four months of the study, whereas, the drug therapy group averaged 2.9 attacks.
There are over 6 million people suffering from migraine headaches in the UK, and over 36 million in the US.
The acupuncture treatment, which has been used in China for over three thousand years, are thought to have a direct influence on the body’s nervous system, causing a state of relaxation, block pain receptors and stimulate the release of endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers and “happy” chemicals.
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