A German study has now proved that acupuncture, even sham acupuncture may be as effective as drug when it comes to treating migraine. A comparable level of treatment efficacy has been documented with both forms of acupuncture and similar results were obtained with respect to reduction in migraine days.
More than 400 people with a diagnosis of migraine were included for the study. The study participants who had two to six migraines per month, received either drug therapy using beta-blockers, real acupuncture or sham acupuncture, where needles are placed in areas not used in real acupuncture. They were required to undergo the treatment for a period of 26 weeks.
The percentage of patients who had a 50% reduction in the migraine rate was 47%, 39% and 40% in those who underwent real acupuncture, sham acupuncture and drug therapy respectively. A corresponding 2.3, 1.3 and 2.1 reduction in migraine days could be observed in the three categories.
A significant reduction in the migraine frequency was observed at the end of the treatment. The results of this study appear in the online edition of The Lancet. Acupuncture, a form of alternative therapy that is based on use of needles for manipulation of the energy flow (chi) in treating various disorders, is widely practiced in Germany.
The reasons for effectiveness of the therapy remain unclear. It is believed that patient belief in the treatment modality could have contributed to a successful outcome. After demonstration of such promising results, perhaps may be it is time for doctors to recommend to their patients, acupuncture treatment as well.