ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Uncover Why Turmeric Helps You Heal
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
Birds Don't Miss a Beat
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Using a Balloon to Repair a Broken Back
Rheumatoid Arthritis Hits Women Harder
Drinking Cuts Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk
CANCER
Many Ignore Symptoms of Bladder Trouble
Researchers ID Genetic Markers for Esophageal Cancer
Green Tea Compound Slowed Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
CAREGIVING
3 Steps Might Help Stop MRSA's Spread
Simpler Sleep Apnea Treatment Seems Effective, Affordable
Health Tip: Benefitting From Adult Day Care
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
COSMETIC
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
DIABETES
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Abnormal Heart Rhythm Boosts Death Risk for Diabetics
'Standard' Glucose Test May Be Wrong One for Obese Children
DIET, NUTRITION
Marinades Help Keep Grilled Meat Safe
Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
Asparagus May Ease Hangover
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Ozone Pollution Taking Toll on American Lives
Global Warming May Bring More Respiratory Woes
EYE CARE, VISION
Kids Think Glasses Make Others Look Smart, Honest
Nutrient-Rich Diet Lowers Risk of Age-Related Eye Disease
Hybrid Cars Pose Risk to Blind, Visually Impaired
FITNESS
MRSA Infections Can Bug Fitness Buffs
Research Confirms How Valuable A Healthy Lifestyle Can Be
Exercise Key Player in Knee Replacement Recovery
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
Proven Strategies for Avoiding Colds and the Flu
Simple Exercise Precautions To Help Keep Baby Boomers Fit
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
Fructose Boosts Blood Pressure, Studies Find
Fatty Fish May Cut Heart Failure Risk in Men
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Exercise Eases Obesity and Anger in Kids
Older People at Greater Risk of Swine Flu Death
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
MEN'S HEALTH
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
MENTAL HEALTH
Meditation May Boost College Students' Learning
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
Psychotherapy Can Boost Happiness More Than Money
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
SENIORS
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
As You Age, Better Health Means Better Sex
Community Exercise Programs Boost Seniors' Strength
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Smoking Ups Risk of Second Breast Cancer
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Health Tip: Be More Comfortable During Childbirth
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Needling Away Your Headaches With Acupuncture



Do you suffer from chronic headaches? Acupuncture treatment may help.

Studies show that this ancient Chinese healing technique may help relieve many types of pain, including some headaches.

According to traditional Chinese medicine, health is achieved by keeping the body in a balanced state. Practitioners believe disease is due to an imbalance of "qi" (pronounced "chee"), or energy force in the body. A blockage in the flow of qi, they say, can lead to disease and pain. In good health, qi is believed to flow freely through certain pathways known as meridians. Acupuncture points are found along these meridians.

What is involved?
Acupuncture involves inserting fine needles into specific points on your meridians. Stimulating these points is thought to aid the body's natural healing abilities.

The needles used are tiny and hair-thin. Most people feel little or no pain when they are inserted. Some say they feel energized by treatment, while others feel relaxed.

If you struggle with chronic headaches, acupuncture therapy may help. Among complementary treatments for pain management, acupuncture is one of the most widely used and well accepted by doctors.

Effect on migraines and tension headaches
Results from 33 trials involving over 6,000 people compared the use of acupuncture to medication. The findings showed that:

* Almost half of those treated with acupuncture plus pain medicine said it at least halved the number of tension and migraine headaches they got over an average of three months.
* Those treated with only acupuncture (no drugs) had fewer tension and migraine headaches than people who were given medication. They also reported fewer side effects.
* Another long-term study of people with headaches showed that acupuncture treatments led to fewer missed work days, less need for medication and fewer visits to the doctor.

When "fake" or "sham" acupuncture was compared to acupuncture done in the correct manner, the results were mixed:

* Several studies were done for prevention of muscle contraction headaches. They showed that people who were given the correct treatment had statistically fewer headaches than those who got the fake acupuncture.
* The results were not as clear for migraine headache sufferers. People in both groups - those who got the real and the "sham" acupuncture - reported about the same reduction in headaches.

Experts say the pain relief from the sham treatment may be due to the hands-on, repetitive stimulus of the needles. It may also be because people believe acupuncture works. This is known as the placebo effect.

Is acupuncture safe?
Talk to your doctor about acupuncture before you try it. It is usually safe in the hands of a licensed and qualified practitioner. Soreness or pain could result if the needle isn't placed properly, is defective or if you move during the treatment. If not done properly, you could also suffer an infection or damage to internal organs. Always be sure that the practitioner is using an unopened set of sterile, disposable, one-use needles.

Acupuncture therapy is becoming widely available. You may find it offered at your local hospital, at a pain center or through a neurologist. Ask your doctor for a referral. As with any treatment, talk to your doctor if your symptoms persist or get worse after this therapy.

SOURCES:

* American Academy of Medical Acupuncture. NCCAM acupuncture information resources. Accessed: 02/23/2009

* National Guideline Clearinghouse. Assessment and management of chronic pain. Accessed: 02/23/2009

* Linde K, Allais G, Brinkhaus B, Manheimer E, Vickers A, White AR. Acupuncture for tension-type headache. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2009. Accessed: 02/23/2009

* Patel G, Euler D, Audette JF. Complementary and alternative medicine for noncancer pain. Medical Clinics of North America. 2007;91(1):141-167. Accessed: 02/23/2009

* National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. An introduction to acupuncture. Accessed: 02/23/2009

* Jena S, Witt CM, Brinkhaus B, Wegscheider K, Willich SN. Acupuncture in patients with headaches. Cephalalgia. 2008;28(9):969-979. Accessed: 02/23/2009