Acupuncture good for migraines — and so is random poking with needles

A study published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association compared the effectiveness of acupuncture as a treatment for migraine headaches against “sham acupuncture” where the doctors used needles at non-acupuncture points. The results of the two groups were virtually identical: a 2.2-day reduction in the number of days with moderate or severe headaches in a four-week period. That’s significantly better than the 0.8-day reduction for the control “waiting list” group that got no treatment, but begs the obvious question: why spend years studying acupuncture if needle location doesn’t really matter?

As a side note, I’m too cheap to pay the $12 to to download the full paper, but there’s a nice breakdown of the study at the UK National electronic Library for Health. (Thanks to Bob Park’s What’s New for the link!)