Treating migraines with acupuncture
The evidence is increasing. Acupuncture has been used for preventing migraines for a long time and a 2009 Cochrane study concluded that it was safe and effective for preventing migraine when compared to conventional drugs. Even so, the way in which Acupuncture helps has remained a mystery. Some studies have shown that the pain killer (analgesic) effect of acupuncture seems to act through triggering the release of opioid peptides in the central nervous system but the main mechanism was never completely established. The subject has not been without controversy either, as two studies in 2004 and 2006 concluded that acupuncture at the crucial acupuncture points was no more effective in treating migraine that applying acupuncture needles to any other randomly selected points on the body. A new study published in Jan 2014 has taken the research to a new level. The research group highlighted potential chemicals /metabolites (biomarkers) in the body that change during electroacupuncture and during migraines. Electroacupuncture was then carried out on acupuncture points and non acupuncture points (control group) in an animal model and the effects on the biomarkers were analysed. Results showed that the elevated glutamate levels and decreased lipids associated with migraines were normalised after acupuncture treatment at acupoints but only the glutamate levels changed in the control group.
Gao et al. Electroacupuncture at Acupoints Reverses Plasma Glutamate, Lipid and LDL/VLDL in Acute Migraine Rat model: A (1) HNMR-Based Metabolic Study. Evid Based Complement Altern Med Jan 2014.
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