The government funded, prestigious, Cochrane review has found that there is consistent evidence that acupuncture is beneficial in the treatment of acute migraine attacks and as a preventative treatment, with better results and fewer adverse effects than drug treatment.
Two recent studies showed that drug therapy had little benefit. Acupuncture was used with 3 different classical acupuncture systems of point selection and one series of non acupuncture points. All had approx 10 needle insertions and all the needles of all 4 selections were connected to electro current stimulation. All 4 types of acupuncture got significant results for acupuncture with the non acupuncture point selection getting slightly less results than the 3 classically selected points.
An international team of researchers, including Dr. Fan-rong Liang at Chengdu University in China, found that between 50 percent and 75 percent of those with migraines felt better after acupuncture, after 16 weeks.
Another study found an intervention promoting prevantitive drug treatment failed to reduce migraine sufferers' attack frequency or severity, a randomized study indicated, while a separate trial of acupuncture found that it was significantly beneficial.
The monthly control baseline average number of migraine attacks was about six. After acupuncture treatments migraine attack counts fell to about two during the final four weeks of the study in the classical acupuncture groups and to about three with the non classical treatment. The same pattern was seen for migraine and pain intensities.
In an accompanying editorial, Albrecht Molsberger, MD, of Ruhr University Bochum in Germany, said “Acupuncture should be an option for the first-line treatment of migraine along with other non drug treatment options."