Articles and Resources of Interest
Acupuncture Eases Tension Headache
by Rita Jenkins
The ancient Chinese practice of acupuncture has proven to be an
effective treatment for tension headache. It not only relieves pain, but
also cuts rates of recurrence by almost half, a recent study indicates.
Traditional Chinese acupuncture therapy involves insertion of needles up to 3
inches deep into the body at prescribed acupuncture points, according to
licensed acupuncturist Rong Zeng of the New York Good Health Clinic in
However, a new, randomized blind study in Germany involving 270 patients with
a similar severity of tension headache has shown that a minimal course of
acupuncture works almost as well as the traditional method.
Fewer Headaches After Treatment
Researchers divided the patients into three groups. Over an eight-week
period, one group was treated with traditional acupuncture, another received
minimal acupuncture (needles inserted only superficially into the skin at
non-acupuncture points), and the control group had neither treatment.
The subjects were monitored for four weeks after their period of treatment.
Those who had received traditional acupuncture care subsequently experienced
seven fewer headaches. The group that had been given minimal acupuncture therapy
had surprisingly similar results -- 6.6 fewer headaches.
The control group did not fare as well, with only 1.5 fewer headaches.
Improvements in headache rates continued for months after the acupuncture
treatment, though they began to rise slightly as time went on.
Results Subject to Interpretation
Such a negligible difference in results between traditional and minimal
acupuncture treatments possibly indicates that the location of acupuncture
points and depth of needle insertion do not make a major difference for
treatment of tension headache, the authors of the study suggest.
However, they caution that the possibility of placebo effects should not be
"Placebo effect is a factor in all types of medicine," Dr. Zeng noted. In
western medicine, for example, blind tests may reveal placebo effects that are
similar to responses to trial drugs, she explained.
In any case, it is clear that the patients who received acupuncture treatment
experienced fewer headaches. The possibility that placebo effect plays a role in
acupuncture does not detract from its efficacy.
Copyright 2005 Daily News Central
Other Acupuncture Resources
Acupuncture for Migraine Headaches - from Holisticonline.com
Migraine Headache Infocenter - Holisticonline.com
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About The Author:
Rita Jenkins is a health journalist for Daily News
Central, an online publication that delivers breaking news and reliable
health information to consumers, healthcare providers and industry