Acupuncture has proven to aid in many bodily ailments, including back pain, weight loss and even depression. Now, you can add tension headaches to this growing list. German researchers tested acupuncture on 270 adults with tension headaches. Some patients received traditional acupuncture while the others got minimal acupuncture as the needles were only superficially placed at non-acupuncture points. A third group went on a wait list for acupuncture.
New Studies On Acupuncture Treatment
Both of the acupuncture groups had similar drops on their headaches, with the benefits lasting for months after even when the treatment has already stopped. The two methods used might have been equally effective, or maybe the high hopes of the patients played a role. This was what the researchers in BMJ Online First noted.
What is Acupuncture?
A staple of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture has been around for thousands of years. Recently, it has drawn attention from Western doctors, patients and researchers. In traditional acupuncture, needles are placed in specific spots for different conditions with the goal of rebalancing or unblocking the glow of qi. Chinese medicine holds that qi is a kind of energy that flows along pathways, called meridians, in the body.
Who are the Participants?
So many people have signed up for this study, with the researchers receiving about 2,700 applicants. In the end, they took only a tenth of this number. About three-fourths of the chosen participants were women with an average age of 43 years old. Some experience tension headaches for more than 15 days in a month, while others had less often. None of them suffer from migraines. Both acupuncture groups received 16 half-hour sessions over a 12-week period. The wait-listed group received acupuncture three months after the other patients. All the patients kept headache diaries.
What are the Results?
The headache-free days improved among the acupuncture groups during the first 12 weeks. Those who went through traditional acupuncture had 7.2 more headache-free days; minimal acupuncture had 6.6 more headache-free days; and wait list had 1.5 more headache-free days. The study lasted another 12 weeks as some patients still had headache benefits at this time, even when they were no receiving acupuncture any more. When the wait-listed patients finally got acupuncture treatment, they experienced fewer headaches than before, although their improvements were not as dramatic.
Are there Side Effects?
The researchers are not sure if the results were brought about by acupuncture or if it was brought about by the high expectations of the patients. The patients were not told which type of acupuncture treatment they are getting, although some apparently figured it out. There are a few patients who experienced side effects, although their cases were not serious. The most common symptoms were bruising, dizziness, headache or other pain.
Acupuncture Is Now Popular Alternative Medicine
Indeed, with these researches and studies, we are seeing more and more just how powerful acupuncture is. Perhaps in the next couple of years, experts can use it to battle some other diseases or health problems that need special care.