Acupuncture for Tension Headache

Tension and stress headaches are often hard to treat. A patient tries over-the-counter medications, prescribed medications, and preventive measures but nothing help. Some patients suffering from tension headaches are looking at acupuncture to treat this form of headache.

The study group consisted of three different groups of patients that were diagnosed with tension headaches. In a controlled trial, a group of over 250 patients were divided into three groups. One group had normal acupuncture treatment, one group had minimal acupuncture treatment, and one group had no treatment for their tension headaches. This group study lasted for eight weeks.

Minimal Acupuncture

The difference between traditional acupuncture and minimal acupuncture is minimal acupuncture is when the needles are inserted only partially into the skin and not necessarily at traditional acupuncture points.

The traditional acupuncture group reported their tension headaches decrease by almost 50 percent. They had fewer days with headaches. The group taking minimal acupuncture also showed a marked improvement in the frequency of their headaches. The group that did not get treatment showed only a slight decline in their headaches.

Effects Continued

The two groups that showed an improvement in their headaches continued to show the decline in their headache rate for several months after the treatments were finished. The effect did wear off the longer it was after the treatment.

The nontreatment group began getting acupuncture after the first study closed. Their headache rates improved at the same rate as the previous treated groups in the trial.

There are some reports of side effects with acupuncture treatments. Some patients reported bruising at the acupuncture site. Others reported they experienced bruising and dizziness after treatments.

The results were so similar between the groups that received traditional and minimal treatments, it signals it does not make any difference if the needles are inserted at normal acupuncture points.

Arguments Against

Some doctors and researchers believe acupuncture works no better than other home cures. Many believe it is the power of suggestion that allows people to feel better after an acupuncture treatment.

If you are experiencing headaches and are thinking of trying alternative methods of treating them, acupuncture may be a good choice. Other home remedies and natural herbs can also be tried to relieve tension headaches.

Good old-fashioned physical activity, proper rest, and eating a healthy diet will help you prevent the onset of tension or stress headaches. Reducing stress in your life will also help but sometimes that is not possible.


So follow a few suggestions. Take a walk; get away from the situation even for a few moments. Take a soothing bath, throw in some aromatic salts or bubble bath and relax. Practice deep breathing techniques. Breathe from the bottom of your stomach, inhale through the mouth and breathe out through the nose.

Tension and stress headaches can give you a good reason to go on vacation! Take a few days off, go somewhere, but if the gas is too high, turn off your phone and relax on your own couch!

Acupuncture may be a great treatment for tension and stress headaches, but researchers believe more tests and trials need to be conducted to decide its usefulness.