Daith Piercing for Migraines: Hope or Hype?

I’ll be upfront with you: I’m pretty skeptical about daith piercing for migraines and the supposed benefits. I’ve been reading about this ‘treatment’ – if you can call it that – for a long time now. And I’ve yet to be convinced of the claims.

Aside from a teeny weeny bit of anecdotal evidence, there are no solid numbers or large-scale studies that support the claim that daith piercing cures migraines.

Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s a kind of acupuncture. It isn’t. Out of the 1,120 points in the ears, daith piercing doesn’t coincide with a single point that’s commonly used to treat migraines with acupuncture.

Both Sides Of The Story

Over the years, I’ve read some things that support this treatment, and some that discredit it completely.

Surprisingly, daith piercing for migraines became a ‘thing’ when a mention from one person on social media went viral. For a long time after that, every article that was written about daith piercing was based on that one original social media source. Hardly a very comprehensive piece of research, and it didn’t inspire me with confidence in the validity of the claims.

But I recently read an excellent article in the blog over at Migraine Pal. A small, informal study of 380 participants did produce results that suggest that daith piercing for migraines may have the potential to produce beneficial effects in the early months after the initial piercing.

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However, one year on and only 20-30% of the 380 participants still experienced any kind of improvement. More specifically for migraine severity, of that 20-30%:

  • 17% saw an increase
  • 54% stayed the same
  • 25% were somewhat or greatly reduced
  • 4% have no further attacks

Now, since this was such a small study, that 4% represents just one person. But that does of course still get a big yay!

Migraine frequency was also recorded, with:

  • 13% seeing an increase
  • 67% remaining the same
  • 20% seeing a reduction

It might be easier to look at it like this. Here are the survey results from 24 people after 1 year:

Results

Although only small, this study does show that daith piercing for migraines may break the cycle initially. But it only worked for a very small proportion of participants, and doesn’t appear to have long-term, sustainable benefits. Which means you’ll need a more robust, clinically proven treatment program for your long-term migraine management plan.

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