Emerging Trends in Migraine Treatment: Daith Piercings

June 6, 2017

Popping up in Your Feed
As everyone with migraine knows, managing headache and attacks are difficult. Since the condition is complicated and not-fully-understood, there’s simply no single way to treat it. However, new approaches are popping up all the time, and for many people, they’re working. One trending treatment on migraine blogs and social media is “daith piercing.” Daith piercings are a special kind of ear-piercing—one that goes through the ear’s inner fold of cartilage. The hype is that some claim it can stop or significantly reduce the frequency of migraine attacks.

But does daith piercing work? If so, what’s actually happening? Given the excitement and enthusiasm surrounding it, it’s worth taking a closer look.

Pressure Points
The theory behind daith piercing is akin to the theory behind acupuncture; there are certain areas of the body called “pressure points,” which, when stimulated, stimulate connected parts of the body, and thus, help heal them. In acupuncture, this stimulation is achieved through needles placed shallowly into the skin. The needles release endorphins in the body and can stimulate blood flow believed to have a calming and soothing effect. It’s a little scary at first, but it usually doesn’t hurt and can, indeed, be very relaxing.

With daith piercing, the stimulation of the nerves is in the flap of the ear by piercing it. It is also believed to produce a similar, palliative effect. While this approach is only now trending, the earflap has been targeted by acupuncturists to take on headaches for centuries now. Currently, there’s little-established evidence for daith piercing per se—no major clinical trials have been conducted regarding it effectiveness—but, as the following shows, more and more migraineurs are reporting success with it.

Even though acupuncture itself has roots in ancient Chinese medicine, there is mounting evidence this modality can be effective in Western medicine for certain kinds of pain management. A number of trials have shown positive the effects for many who had shunned acupuncture for decades. Although the results are positive, today’s doctors haven’t quite pinpointed why it works.

Positive Feedback
In absence of clear medical and scientific guidance, assessment of daith piercing requires studying qualitative anecdotal evidence and rely on reports from migraineurs who have tried it. Given this, a quick look at the blogs and social media posts reveal it does seem to be working for a number of people. Here are some positive first-hand accounts that were gathered by writer Lisa Jacobsen at Daily Migraine: a blog and migraineur community resource (see reference #1 for the full article):

  • B. Clark: As acupuncture was a success for me, I decided to try this piercing. Two weeks in, so far so good….People may say it’s ridiculous but when you suffer with migraines as severely as some of us do, we will give anything a try!  
  • L. Eastep: I had my daith pierced 9 days ago, [and] so far I have had no migraines. I haven’t had to take my medicine, which…I was taking every day, twice a day with Ibuprofen in between….I have had a slight headache, but that could be because the day-of, there was an abundant amount of stress surrounding me….So with that being said, I’m a believer in this piercing [and] will be getting the other ear done as soon as I can.
  • B. Nordtröm: The migraines have slowed down drastically but haven’t stopped completely. What is nice though, is that they are manageable now, whereas before they were out of control. I’d do it again…and plan to hit up the other side as soon as the first piercing is done healing.    

Daith piercings didn’t work for everybody, but it certainly has been effective for a number of people. It’s also, as one migraineur noted, a funky fashion statement.

Migraineurs shouldn’t lose hope. If medications aren’t cutting it, and if alternative treatments like daith piercing don’t work out, there are surgical options that have proven to be effective. With complicated conditions like migraine, it’s essential to be proactive, engaged, and to never give up.

If you’d like to learn about safe and highly effective approaches to migraine treatment, talk to a Patient Care Manager at Migraine Treatment Centers of America. These dedicated professionals are reachable any time: call (855) 300-6822 today!    


  1. Jacobson, Lisa. ‘Does Daith Piercing Really Work? First Anecdotal Study of Its Kind’. March 2, 2016. Accessed February 23, 2017. http://www.thedailymigraine.com/blog/2016/3/1/does-daith-piercing-really-work-first-anecdotal-study-of-its-kind.
  2. Moss, Rachel. ‘Could This Piercing Be the Secret to Ending Your Migraines?’. November 11, 2015. Accessed February 23, 2017. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2016/01/07/daith-piercing-migraine-relief_n_8531022.html.
  3. Choices, NHS. ‘Acupuncture’. January 12, 2017. Accessed February 23, 2017. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Acupuncture/Pages/Introduction.aspx.

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