Let’s start by answering the question: What is a daith piercing? Daith piercing involves a piercing done on the smallest fold of cartilage in the ear at the point of the outer ridge that runs along the top of the ear that connects to your inner ear, right above the ear canal. It is not easy to pierce because it is a small curvy piece of cartilage.
Another thing is that it will be hard to change the daith piercing jewelry very often. It also takes sometimes maybe months to heal and if it is pierced incorrectly or is not taken care of properly, it becomes prone to infections. Daith piercing is argued to assist with a migraine, a severe headache condition often preceded by symptoms that affect the senses causing anxiety and other symptoms.
What is the relationship between daith piercing and migraine?
Since acupuncture is a common method of treatment for a migraine, there are some who claim that there is acupuncture pressure point on the same spot in the ear that corresponds to the digestive system. This theory first emerged on social media platforms especially Facebook and Pinterest. The argument is, when you wear an earring in your daith, it will provide constant compression to the pressure point which is the one believed to relieve the pain.
It is further believed to be more effective if the acupuncture in the same spot has been effective to you. However, it is important to note that this piercing is very precise and without acupuncturist guidance, it may not be done correctly and even if it is done correctly, it is not a guarantee to relieve your pains.
What is a migraine?
This is a headache beyond the normal headaches. It is a severe headache that can last for hours or even days. To know if you are suffering from a migraine, find out if you have been experiencing these symptoms: flashes of light, blind spots, tingling in the arms and legs, nausea, vomiting and increased sensitivity to light and sound.
According to the Migraine Research Foundation, migraine affects a certain group of people which include women, people aged between 35 to 55, lower social economic groups of people and Caucasians. The options available for treating migraines include the use of medication to treat and prevent the migraine attacks, botox injection, transcranial magnetic stimulation, transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation, supplements and herbs, and acupuncture.
Is daith piercing effective for treating migraines?
This is one method of treating a migraine that has gained popularity as an effective way of treating migraine for some time now. Daith piercing for migraines is done on the innermost cartilage fold of the ear. There are practitioners who believe that people who suffer from a migraine will experience fewer symptoms if they do a daith piercing. There are even some people who have claimed to have experienced relief after having a daith piercing.
They say that the occurrence and impact of a migraine have reduced to a great deal. Daith piercing would be very effective for people who have found acupuncture helpful in treating migraines and they are now looking for a long-term solution to their problem.
One doctor Will Foster, an acupuncturist in Knoxville, Tennessee, actually confirms that the daith piercing is done in a pressure point that is associated with digestive organs in that part of the ear. However, the expert recommendations on this form of treatment to a migraine are very limited. The little information available states that wearing an earring in your daith will provide content compression to the pressure point and this in return will relieve the pain.
The risks of daith piercing
Most leading headache specialists, researchers, and advocates in the United States argue that the risks involved in daith piercings outweigh the reward in the sense that the piercing is attributed to the placebo effect. This basically means that this treatment is temporary and psychological other than that physical.
The piercing itself is painful and it involves a high risk of getting a daith piercing infection. This can actually make migraine symptoms even worse in the wrong run. Moreover, the American migraine foundation strongly believes that seeking piercing from a non-medical specialist is not a solution to migraine problems.
In addition, just like anybody piercing, daith piercings involves a lot of risks as bacterial infections that may occur after healing, allergic reactions to jewelry, bleeding, nerve damage which may end up in loss of sensation, swelling, severe pains, scarring or keloid and infections while healing such as hepatitis, HIV or tetanus. Before you make up your mind to get a daith piercing, it would be important to consult a qualified acupuncturist or auriculotherapy practitioner so that they can give you their final views.
Scientific proof supporting daith piercing as a form of migraine treatment
Although some people have claimed to have gotten some relief of migraine pains through daith piercing, there is no scientific evidence to support this. Whether this is true or force, the only available evidence supporting this is purely anecdotal and no research to support that theory. The American migraine foundation does not support this theory and argues that the temporary relief could be due to the placebo and the risks involved are higher than the benefits.
Alternative treatments for a migraine
Finding out what triggers a migraine is a good way to try and calm or prevent the condition. Other treatment alternatives include:
Although it is relatively new to the west, it has been a Chinese technique of healing from way back in 200bc. It has gained popularity over time especially in the west since in the 1970s. The traditional Chinese medicine describes illness and disease as a disturbance in the vital force energy. This energy flows along a path of 14 body surface areas or meridians.
The western medical acupuncture, on the other hand, focuses more on the biological effect of piercing the body. The theory states that the nervous system receives benefits from the use of acupuncture when needles are placed both near and far from the source of pain. Remember that acupuncture that is performed by a qualified acupuncturist is relatively safe with fewer risks involved although there are some minor risks such as minor bruising or bleeding, drowsiness, euphoria and pain at the site of the needle.
There are other rare side effects that can be avoided by the care of a highly qualified acupuncturist and they include skin infection, blood-borne disease transmission, and lung or heart membrane puncture. A published study by JAMA Internal Medicine revealed that use of acupuncture may reduce the occurrence of a migraine in the long run to some people.
Auriculotherapy is also known as auricular medicine and it has some similarities to traditional acupuncture although some types of equipment used are different. The needles used in auriculotherapy uses focused pressure, lasers, magnets and electoral stimulation. All these tools can be used in auriculotherapy to target certain acupuncture points on the ears for the sole purpose of easing migraine.
Other alternative methods of treating migraine include stress-reducing practices such as yoga or meditation, using essential oils such as lavender, having dietary changes, herbal treatments and vitamins.
Anxiety and daith piercing
Since a daith piercing is located in the innermost fold of your ear, some people believe that piercing can help to ease anxiety related migraines and other symptoms. However, this evidence is primarily anecdotal although there is some research around the daith piercing going on.
A human ear is a home to several pressure points that the acupuncturists together with other holistic health practitioners stimulate to relieve any headaches. The main target point is the vagus nerve. The theory behind daith piercing will place constant pressure on the vagus nerve to release the pain. Nerve stimulation has been proven to work on some other health conditions such as depression and epilepsy and a research is ongoing to see if that stimulation can treat other conditions.
The placebo effect
Placebo effect simply refers to a treatment working simply because you believe it is working. Ideally, if daith piercing can be able to ease anxiety symptoms, then probably it would be because the piercing mechanism is the same as acupuncture.
Since there is no much information about the treatment of anxiety, it would be difficult to rule out the placebo effect at the end of the day. More so, it can be seen identified that getting acupuncture to treat migraines and anxiety has shown positive results which are far much better than a placebo.
Which side of the ear is the best to pierce?
Are you wondering which ear to pierce? Well, from the theory of daith piercing as a treatment to a migraine, you cannot pierce any ear to be precise. It does matter because you are supposed to get piercing on the side of your head where the anxiety related pain tends to occur.
If your piercing is for beauty and not treating anxiety related migraines, then you can do it on any ear you choose. If the anecdotal evidence is true, the piercing on any side of your head can still relieve other anxiety symptoms you may be having.
What to consider before getting a daith piercing
Before you decide to get piercing, whatever your reasons, to improve your look, daith piercing for anxiety or daith piercing for headaches, you should ensure that you are comfortable with the way the daith piercing looks. You should also have enough knowledge of how to take good care of that piercing because it is very sensitive and if not taken care of, it can result to an infection.
You should also consult a health professional and ensure all of your questions are addressed before taking the bold step. Remember that most insurance companies do not cover for therapeutic piercings and so you should be ready to cater for all those expenses.
If you have already made up your mind, make sure that you only choose a reputable piercing shop. You can find out by checking your piercer’s appropriate license. Your piercer should be in a good position to answer all your questions in regard to the immediate, aftercare and long-term care of your daith piercing.
Possible side effects
One side effect would be if you decide to let the piercing close, a small mark will be left behind and it will be clearly visible. Another thing you should know is that cartilage piercing is likely to get infected compared to lobe piercing. This is as a result of cartilage piercings being close to your hairs and maybe get tugged along during piercing. If the piercing is prone to bacterial infections, it can lead to sepsis or toxic shock syndrome.
Another challenge is that there is no concrete evidence that daith piercing can treat anxiety related migraine. You are left with only one option of trying out for yourself and if it does not work, which can be the case, you become the loser.
Normally, daith piercing healing time can take from four months to a year. If you take blood thinners or have hemophilia, diabetes, have an autoimmune condition or any other health condition that affects your healing rate, daith piercing is not for you.
The research done on daith piercing
For now, the information available on daith piercing as a form of treatment to anxiety is purely anecdotal and there are no clinical trials or explanatory studies that show daith piercing as a form treatment to any anxiety related conditions. However, there are several studies that have argued that acupuncture is a promising treatment method for panic attacks.
There is also a clinical case that can be made for using acupuncture as a form of treating anxiety and migraine. A panic attack may be different from anxiety attack but it has similar symptoms to a migraine. There is actually a tentative connection between acupuncture and piercings. This is because daith piercing is done at the same spot acupuncturists target while treating migraine.
This shows that piercing provides the same benefits theoretically. The growing anecdotal support has led to a 2017 case study to call for more research into the use of daith piercing as a form of treating migraine.
The bottom line
There is a lot of information doing rounds on the internet about a migraine and daith piercing as the form of treatment. The big question is to find out if for sure this method is true. In short, the answer is a simple no. Whichever the case, the information above will help you to make informed choices.