Effect of acupuncture on headache measured by reduction in number of attacks and use of drugs

Scand J Dent Res. 1979 Oct;87(5):373-80. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0722.1979.tb00696.x.


The experiment was performed in order to study the effect of acupuncture on headache by comparing the number of attacks during a 2-month period after acupuncture with the number of attacks during a similar period before treatment. Twenty-nine students (age: 19-24 years) all suffering from headache filled out questionnaires noting the days with attacks of headache and the amount and type of drugs used for 60 consecutive days. After acupuncture this observation procedure was repeated. One group of 10 students, however, received a placebo treatment instead of acupuncture but followed the identical questionnaire procedure. After 120 days acupuncture was given to this second group without revealing that the first treatment was a placebo. This treatment was again followed by a 60-day observation period. Comparison of the questionnaires before and after acupuncture showed a significant reduction in the number of days with headache. The placebo treatment resulted in a nonsignificant reduction in attacks of headache. A reduction in the amount of drugs used, especially the acetylsalicylate type, was noted following the acupuncture treatment. It is concluded that acupuncture is a relevant therapy for headache with a definite symptomatic effect.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy*
  • Adult
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Female
  • Headache / drug therapy
  • Headache / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Placebos


  • Placebos