ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Quit Smoking the Holistic Way
Ginkgo No Shield Against Alzheimer's
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
A Little Drink May Be Good for Your Bones
Breast-feeding Might Shield Women From Rheumatoid Arthritis
Winter Is Tough on Feet
CANCER
Where You Live May Affect Your Cancer Diagnosis
Many Ignore Symptoms of Bladder Trouble
Vitamin D May Improve Melanoma Survival
CAREGIVING
For Dialysis Patients, More Pills = Lower Quality of Life
Medication Errors Could Be Cut: Experts
Tiniest Babies Carry Biggest Costs
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Firefighters Have Narrower-Than-Normal Arteries, Study Finds
Secondhand Smoke Quickly Affects Blood Vessels
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
COSMETIC
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Scientists Find Gene for Tooth Enamel
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
Gummy Bears Join Cavity Fight
DIABETES
'Standard' Glucose Test May Be Wrong One for Obese Children
Out-of-Control Blood Sugar May Affect Memory
24 Million Americans Had Diabetes in 2007
DIET, NUTRITION
Is Your Refrigerator Getting Enough Attention For Your Raw Food Success?
Eating More Soy May Be Good For Your Lung Function
The Best Diet? That Depends on You
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Household Chemicals May Affect Cholesterol Levels
Restaurant Sushi May Have More Mercury Than Store-Bought Fare
Seasons Arriving 2 Days Earlier, Study Says
EYE CARE, VISION
Too Much Sun, Too Few Antioxidants Spell Eye Trouble
Nutrient-Rich Diet Lowers Risk of Age-Related Eye Disease
Certain Diabetes Drugs May Pose Eye Risk
FITNESS
Research Confirms How Valuable A Healthy Lifestyle Can Be
Brisk Walk Can Help Leave Common Cold Behind
Yoga Can Ease Lower Back Pain
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
GENERAL HEALTH
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Heavy Alcohol Use Linked to Cancer
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer
Ingredient in Dark Chocolate Could Guard Against Stroke
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Dangerous Toys Still on Store Shelves, Report Finds
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
More Calcium And Dairy Products in Childhood Could Mean Longer Life
MEN'S HEALTH
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
Heal Your LifeŽ Tips for Living Well
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
A Simple 'Thank You' Brings Rewards to All
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
SENIORS
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
Any Old Cane Won't Do
Seniors Cope With Sleep Loss Better Than Young Adults
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
Omega-3 May Reduce Endometriosis Risk
How Much Fish to Eat While Pregnant?
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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