1.25 billion people across the globe had migraines in 2017. Apart from usual care, manual and sham acupuncture have emerged as prophylactic treatments for migraines. The objective of this research is to evaluate the effectiveness of acupuncture for the treatment of episodic migraine.

This was a multicenter, randomized, controlled clinical trial with blinded participants and outcome assessment. The research setting included seven hospitals in China, and 150 acupuncture naive patients with episodic migraine without aura. The participants were given 20 sessions of manual acupuncture at true acupuncture points with usual care, 20 sessions of non-penetrating sham acupuncture at heterosegmental non-acupuncture points with general care.

Compared with sham acupuncture, manual acupuncture resulted in a substantially higher reduction in migraine days at weeks 13-20, and a reduction in migraine attacks in weeks 17-20. There were no instances of adverse effects, and no major difference was seen in the proportion of patients perceiving needle penetration between sham and manual acupuncture.

The research concluded that twenty sessions of manual acupuncture were more effective than sham acupuncture and usual care for episodic migraine without aura. These results support manual acupuncture in patients who don’t want to use prophylactic drugs for episodic migraines.

Ref: https://www.bmj.com/content/368/bmj.m697