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Can Acupuncture Help Those Suffering from Migraine Headaches?

Many people who suffer from migraine headaches will try anything to relieve their pain. One solution that some have turned to is acupuncture -- which reportedly helps. Amy Katz reports on a new study which indicates that may not be the case.

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice, in which needles are placed into specific points on the body believed to correspond with certain ailments. The needles are supposed to balance the body's flow of energy, or Qi ("Chee") . It is a practice that has been used to treat migraine headaches for years.

But a new study suggests it may not be very effective. Patients treated with real acupuncture got just as much relief as those who were treated with sham acupuncture, in which needles were superficially placed at a distance from traditional acupuncture points.

Both the real and fake acupuncture treatments reduced migraines by about 50 percent. Researchers say this may be due to what is known as "the placebo effect," when a person believes so strongly in a treatment that it does have a positive result.