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Acupuncture vs. Relaxation Therapy: What Works Best for Tension Headaches?

22 Dec

Ninety consecutive patients with chronic tension-type headache (CTTH) were randomly assigned to acupuncture, relaxation training or physical training. 

Researchers from Göteborg Universityin Göteborg, Sweden.compared the impact of acupuncture, relaxation training and physical training on the treatment of CCTH. 

Measures of headache intensity, headache-free days and headache-free periods were taken 4 weeks before the intervention, immediately after it, and 3 and 6 months post-treatment,  using a visual analogue scale and a headache diary. 

Immediately after the last treatment, the number of headache-free periods and of headache-free days was higher in the relaxation group as compared with the acupuncture group. There were no other significant differences between the groups at any time point. 

The researchers concluded that relaxation training induced the most pronounced effects directly after the treatment period, as compared with acupuncture and physical training.

Citation: Söderberg E1, Carlsson J, Stener-Victorin E.Chronic tension-type headache treated with acupuncture, physical training and relaxation training. Between-group differences. Cephalalgia. 2006 Nov;26 (11):pp. 1320-9.

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Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award