A systematic Cochrane review supports acupuncture for a migraine:
A systematic review of acupuncture for migraine prophylaxis, conducted by Cochrane in 2016, included 4,985 participants in 25 randomised controlled trials, firmly placing it among the most well-studied treatments.
The review found that adding acupuncture to symptomatic treatment of attacks reduces the frequency of headaches. Contrary to previous findings, the updated evidence also suggested that there is an effect on the sham, but this effect is small. Sham is simply a diluted form of acupuncture, not a placebo, so the difference would not be expected to be large.
It also showed that the available trials also suggested that acupuncture may be at least similarly effective as treatment with prophylactic drugs. Acupuncture can be considered an option for patients willing to undergo this treatment, the review concluded.
7 reasons why acupuncture is good for a migraine:
1, It provides pain relief – by stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues, acupuncture leads to release of endorphins and other neurohumoral factors and changes the processing of pain in the brain and spinal cord (Zhao 2008, Pomeranz, 2001)
2, It reduces inflammation- increasingly there is evidence that inflammation is associated with a migraine. Acupuncture promotes the release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors that can counter this (Kim, 2008; Kavoussi, 2007; Zijlstra, 2003).
3, It reduces the degree of cortical spreading depression – This is an electrical wave in the brain associated with a migraine. (Shi, 2010).
4, It reduces plasma levels of calcitonin gene-related peptide and substance – These are pain-signaling neuropeptides that may be implicated in the pathophysiology of a migraine. (Shi, 2010).
5, It modulates extracranial and intracranial blood flow – changes in cranial blood flow don’t necessarily initiate migraine pain but may contribute to it. (Park, 2009)
6, It affects serotonin levels in the brain – serotonin may be linked both to the initiation of migraines and to the relief of acute attacks (through triptans, drugs that promote seretonin levels). (Zhong, 2007)
7, It increases local microcirculation – This aids the dispersal of swelling. (Komori, 2009)