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Ancient Chinese Therapy More Effective than Drugs for Chronic Headaches

A review published in the December 2008 issue of the journal Anesthesia and Analgesia found that acupuncture may be more effective than drugs in decreasing the frequency and severity of chronic headaches.

This review, lead by a team from Duke University, analyzed the results of 31 studies that included over 4,000 patients suffering from chronic migraine or tension headaches.

After analyzing all of the data, researchers found that 62 percent of patients who underwent acupuncture treatment reported headache relief. Only 45 percent of those who took prescription medication experienced relief from chronic headaches.

Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine which has been used for over 2,000 years. The therapy involves inserting small needles into the skin to open energy channels and allow energy to flow freely throughout the body. In the West, acupuncture is most often used to reduce pain or as an anesthetic.

According to lead author Dr. Tong Joo Gan, more people are turning to acupuncture for a variety of ailments. The ancient therapy has been shown to enhance fertility, decrease post-operative pain, provide relief from menopausal symptoms and reduce chemotherapy-induced nausea.

Acupuncture is also associated with fewer side effects than many prescription drugs and traditional Western therapies.

One reason many people decide not to try acupuncture is because they worry that it will be painful. In reality, acupuncture is not painful and actually releases natural painkilling enzymes in the body.
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