An Introduction To Medi-Daiths
Find out more about the ongoing story and relationship between migraine symptoms and the Medi-Daith piercing.
For over 30 years people have been using daith piercings to help their migraine headaches. Initially the evidence was anecdotal as the pattern was emerging. There were arguments for and against any effect. In 2015 the treatment went viral on social media after an American pain doctor reported it on his website.
Although some still argue that it has no effect, every year many thousands are having one. Now, medical researchers are growing increasingly interested in whether there could actually be a way to accurately perform daith piercings as a form of migraine headache treatment.
How can an piercing help with migraine headaches?
A Medi-Daith piercing passes through a ridge in the ear called the Crus Helis, just above the ear canal. By chance, this very small area of skin is supplied by the Vagus Nerve, a control nerve that has a calming effect on the brain. Vagus Nerve Stimulation, or VNS for short, is an established medical treatment for migraine headaches and epilepsy. Till now electrical VNS instruments have been too expensive, but this is changing with a Medi-Daith. The piercing remains in position all the time and it appears to provide continuous stimulation. It may even be more effective than the expensive electrical stimulators, though this needs confirmation with further research. However the area supplied by this nerve is small and easy to miss. The exact position of the nerve also varies from person to person, so it is important to measure the piercing position accurately.
A Medi-Daith is more that just a cosmetic daith piercing because it takes time and expertise for the piercer to measure the best position.
Which ear is best for a Medi-Daith?
The usual advice is to get a daith piercing on the same side as the pain or throbbing sensation you experience during a migraine headache. However it appears that the side may be unimportand for some people, because the calming effect may work on both sides of your brain.
If you experience a migraine headache on a specific side of your head then we'd advise you to opt for this side for your piercing. You may also want to consider which side you prefer to sleep on. If you experience migraine headaches that are not specific to one side or occur on both sides then think about where in your head your migraine headaches most commonly occur and where the pain feels the most intense.
Piercing both ears has been shown to give a better effect on your migraine headaches, but one side may give enough relief If you get some improvement from one piercing, but you feel you need more, then you can get the other ear pierced later. We generally recommend that you only have one ear pierced at a time. This will give the first piercing time to heal before having the second.
How long does it take for a daith piercing help with migraine headaches?
It varies for each person. Some find the daith piercing takes effect on reducing the severity and frequency of migraine headaches immediately. Sadly, it simply doesn't work for about 20% of sufferers. We don't understand why at the moment, and we hope that our future research at London Migraine Clinic will provide some answers. For people with a Medi-Daith, some say that the effects only last for a few months whereas for 40% say it gives long-term relief that reduces the severity of their migraine headaches, and may even stop them completely. Just like treatments from your GP, there is no single treatment that works for all migraine headaches.
Can a daith piercing make migraine headaches worse?
Like any treatment, there are cases where a daith piercing makes no difference to the migraine headaches. Very occasionally, it might even make them worse, in which case the piercing can be removed
If you are considering trying a daith piercing to help with your migraine headaches, then coming to a piercer with specialist equipment for locating the vagus nerve is important. The research surrounding migraines and daith piercings is relatively new and there is still a lot to learn about the treatment.