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Acupuncture is again shown to relieve migraine headaches

Posted Jan 11 2012 12:59pm

Acupuncture has been widely used for the treatment of migraine headaches and it has been subjected to many clinical trials. A new study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal confirms what previous research has shown – that acupuncture in fact is effective. This study was performed by Chinese researchers and it involved 480 patients. It was a well-designed and rigorously conducted study. The doctors divided patients into 4 groups with 3 groups receiving different types of real acupuncture and the fourth one receiving sham acupuncture. Sham acupuncture group had needles inserted, but they were not manipulated to elicit a specific “qi” sensation, which was done in the real groups. Patients in all three groups receiving real acupuncture did better than those in the sham group. The benefit persisted for at least three months after the treatment. The difference was statistically significant (meaning it did not occur by chance) but not very large, mostly because the sham group also improved. In summary, this study strongly supports the results of previous clinical trials in migraines, which showed positive effects of acupuncture. It also showed that the type of acupuncture is not important, but needles need to be inserted properly and probably need to have electrical stimulation (all groups in this study had electrical stimulation). One difficulty in following the treatment used in this study is the need for doing acupuncture five days a week for 4 weeks. Many people may have difficulty finding the time (and money) for such a regimen. However, many of the previous positive studies were conducted with acupuncture treatment being performed once a week.

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