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Why Daith Piercings Work, and Why We Don’t Recommend Them

Daith piercings are an unconventional approach to migraine relief that some migraine sufferers swear by.  The  theory for the daith piercing is along the same idea as acupuncture. The short story is that daith piercings are not acupuncture, and we do not recommend them.

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Here’s an overview of everything you want to know about daith piercings:

What is a daith piercing?

According to the American Migraine Foundation,

“A daith piercing is a piercing through the smallest fold of cartilage in your ear, right at the point where the outer ridge that runs along the top of your ear connects to your inner ear, just above the ear canal. Because it’s a small, curvy piece of cartilage, it can sometimes be hard to pierce, and once it’s done, most people don’t change the jewelry often.

It can take months to heal and can easily become infected if not pierced or cared for correctly. Still, some people with migraine have reported that their daith piercing resulted in reduced pain during migraine attacks, leading others to seek out the piercings exclusively for their potential to reduce migraine pain. It’s important to note, however, that any reported results are widely believed to be placebo.”

How does a daith piercing help alleviate migraines?

The theory stems from the same idea as acupuncture. There is an acu point on the cartilage on the outside of your ear canal. The belief is that wearing an earring on that point will constantly provide pressure to the acu point and stimulate it. Therefore, some people may experience some pain relief.

Why don’t we recommend daith piercings?

While we explore, vet, and recommend various holistic and medical treatment options for our patients, body piercings (including daith piercings) are not something we recommend as a healthcare treatment option at this time.

For the daith piercing theory to work, there are a lot of factors that must align. For example:

  1. The piercer must puncture the cartilage at a very precise pressure point. This is not likely without an acupuncturist’s assistance or supervision.
  2. That specific acupuncture point may be effective for some individuals, but that does mean it will alleviate symptoms for everyone.
    • An acupuncturist will evaluate everything that is going on in the body and stimulate different points based on each individual’s specific case.
    • Constantly stimulating an acupuncture point could actually worsen migraine symptoms for some patients.
  1. This theory assumes that the cause of the migraine stems from the organs associated with that acu point and stimulating it will fix it. Therefore, the migraine symptoms will be eliminated.
    Migraines are caused by a very wide range of things. Every part of the body is connected. You should always speak with a physician to discuss your treatment options—both holistic and medical.


  1. All piercings carry some risk, but cartilage piercings are associated with a higher risk than earlobe piercings.
    • Daith piercings may have many complications, such as:
      • infection
      • bleeding
      • swelling
      • scarring
      • lingering pain
      • development of an abscess
      • possible removal of infected cartilage
      • worsening migraine symptoms

Yes, some individuals report that daith piercings have helped them improve their migraine symptoms. While some research has been conducted on the efficacy of daith piercings, the common thread between the studies is largely attributed to the placebo effect and self-selction bias.

No research studies on daith piercings have been published that recommend a daith piercing as a migraine treatment option. Therefore, we do not recommend daith piercings for alleviating migraines.

What can alleviate migraines?

Migraine relief is more complicated than getting an earring. There are MANY things that cause migraines. There is no, “one size fits all” treatment. You should speak with a physician to discuss your health history and lifestyle. That will provide the physician with potential treatment options for you.

Here are a few natural healthcare options that have been found to help some patients with migraines:

  • Chiropractic
  • Acupuncture
  • Nutrition Counseling and Supplements
  • Exercise
  • Meditation

Always consult with your doctor before trying a new healthcare treatment. Your doctor will be able to provide you with different options and help you get to the root cause of your migraines. If you are in the southwest Missouri area, we would be happy to help you determine what is causing your migraines and create a custom treatment plan to relieve them. Click here to request an appointment.

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