A multicentre, randomized clinical trial was undertaken to test the hypothesis that acupuncture is more efficacious than sham control procedure in the prevention of episodic tension-type headache. Fifty subjects were randomized to receive a course of treatment with either brief acupuncture or a sham procedure. Subjects were followed up for 3 months. Changes in headache were assessed by daily diary, the primary outcome measure being the number of days with headache. No significant differences were found between the changes in the two groups for any measure at any time point. Results also show that patient blinding was successful. In conclusion, this study does not provide evidence that this form of acupuncture is effective in the prevention of episodic tension-type headache.