You love body piercings for how they look, but did you know there may also be surprising benefits of piercings? While everyone’s body reacts differently to piercings, many who wear body jewelry have reported an upside that goes beyond the cosmetic. To find out if piercings can improve your physical and mental health, keep reading. Below you’ll find out what acupuncture and body piercings have in common, as well as what common health ailments certain body piercings may help with.

How Body Piercings and Acupuncture Are Connected

Many people believe ear piercings like the daith piercing can aid their health for similar reasons that acupuncture can having healing powers because they both target the same part of the cartilage fold. As the website Migraine Again explained, “[T]he spot pierced is supposed to line up with an acupressure point that links to the digestion system.”

However, the therapeutic effects of both acupuncture and piercing may not be long-lasting. Acupuncturists consulted by Mind Body Green noted that while acupuncture can bring positive results to those seeking pain relief, they’re temporary, based on the blood flow cycle in the body, and would only last about 20-40 minutes after using the acupuncture needles. The article noted “if there are any pressure points that are hit with an ear-piercing, the effects will go away within the same amount of time.”

Another avenue to healing through pressure points is auriculotherapy, a type of auricular (related to the ear) acupuncture that some believe can help with migraines and other ailments such as sleep disorders, dementia and epilepsy.

Here’s a few ways your body piercings may improve your life in addition to making you look extra cute. Remember that before getting a piercing you should speak to a piercing professional, and consult your doctor about any health concerns.

How Body Piercings Can Help with Migraines

For help with migraines, many people seek out the daith piercing specifically. The daith piercing is a type of ear piercing of the innermost cartilage fold. According to the Cleveland Clinic, there’s no medical evidence that daith piercings actually have an effect on migraines. Those with daith piercings may, however, experience a placebo effect, in which their belief that the piercing will cure pain does have an effect on how much pain they perceive themselves feeling.

According to Dr. Emad, Estemalik, a headache specialist quoted by the Cleveland Clinic, “[T]here is no scientific evidence or clinical trial results that support ear piercing as a solution to migraine…Receiving a piercing in that area will not alter the pain pathway of migraine.” There are, however, some doctors who believe there may be a connection between daith piercings and migraines. University of Florida health neurologist Neely told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that because daith piercings are administered along the vagus nerve, “potentially piercing that nerve can act like a permanent acupuncture needle.” Neely told the paper that he’s “seen some patients with good response and other with virtually no response.” In other words, don’t get a daith piercing expecting it to cure your migraine, but be open to the possibility that it could have a positive effect.

Whether or not it’s a placebo effect, some people with daith piercings do report having fewer migraines and less severe headaches, such as writer Phoebe Howlett, who wrote in a Medium post, “…since my piercing I have never felt a headache moving towards migraine territory.” Migraine Again surveyed their Facebook community and discovered that people reported that the number of migraines were reduced after getting one or both daith piercings, while others didn’t experience any migraines after being pierced. Some also combined daith piercings and acupuncture to reduce migraine pain.

Anecdotally, the site Migraine Buddy quotes a piercer who gave a daith piercing to a woman in her fifties who was suffering from a three-week-long migraine. According to the piercer, “A week later she called me and told me she woke up the next morning with no migraine and had not had one since. A few weeks later she brought her daughter in to also get the daith piercing and she said she still had no headaches.”

Researchers have not given up on finding a scientific connection between daith piercings and migraine relief. According to the article “Daith Piercing in a Case of Chronic Migraine: A Possible Vagal Modulation” in Frontiers in Neurology, “{G]iven the increasing but anecdotal evidence, we think that the mechanism needs testing by means of a controlled clinical trial in a population of chronic migraineurs.”

Whether a tragus piercing can help with migraines and headaches has yet to be medically proven, but anecdotally, some people have reported experiencing these benefits. According to Medical News Today, “It is difficult to tell how effective daith and tragus piercings are as an alternative treatment for migraine pain. This is due to a lack of high-quality, large-scale studies on the subject.”

However, Medical News Today did report on a potentially positive treatment of migraines with a daith piercing, based research reported in Frontiers in Neurology. The researchers found that a 54-year-old man had recurring migraines and “tension-type” headaches and had tried various treatments without any headache relief results. “According to the report, the man decided to opt for a daith piercing as a possible treatment. Within months, he experienced a significant reduction in the frequency and severity of his migraine headaches, and the benefits lasted for at least a year and a half, when the doctors submitted their paper.”

The Shen Men piercing is also thought by some people to help with migraines.

How Body Piercings Can Help with Anxiety

The daith and Shen Men ear piercings are sought out by some people looking to lessen anxiety. According to Healthline, like the other possible benefits listed above, any evidence thus far about piercings treating anxiety is anecdotal; clinical trials exploring the connection haven’t been done.

Tragus piercing benefits may also include helping to reduce anxiety because it targets the vagus nerve. However, please make sure to consult your doctor and piercing professional when seeking out treatment for anxiety via piercing.

However, individuals have publicly shared the benefits the mental health benefits they believe they’ve received because of some of these piercings. YouTuber Lindsey Mulligan posted a video about how her Shen Men piercing helped reduce her anxiety. She says that one year after getting her piercing, she still has lower anxiety than before she got it, but it’s not as reduced as right after she received the Shen Men piercing. Mulligan has had others tell her they’ve experienced a similar trajectory when it comes to anxiety. Writer Aimee Heckel, who experiences chronic anxiety, penned an essay in the Daily Camera about how after getting a chest piercing, she’s been less anxious. She had not had an anxiety attack since getting her piercing, and quoted Michelle Backus, owner of Ayurveda-based Alaya Yoga Spa, who said, “You get a euphoric rush when you get a tattoo or piercing at the physical level, and the mind and emotions are usually in a particular state before you get the work done, then afterward your mind and emotions have shifted.” That could be one reason some people do experience such a positive outcome regarding mental health from piercings.

How Body Piercings Can Reduce Stress

Once again, the answer is possibly, when it comes to the question of whether body piercings lower stress or are thought to do so. The reason why piercings may help reduce stress is linked to acupuncture. According to acupuncturist Mona Dan of Vie Healing, quoted in The Chalkboard Magazine, “[T]here are some piercers who have been permanently piercing acupuncture points for stress relief, digestion, insomnia and more.” This also could be due to the placebo effect, or any number of factors.

How Body Piercings Can Help with Menstrual Cramps

There’s anecdotal evidence that certain ear piercings may make it easier for those who suffer from menstrual cramps. New York-based piercer Ben Tauber has seen many clients asking for specific piercings in order to lessen pain. He told newspaper The Sun that he has had clients come in asking for the Tash Rook ear piercing because their acupuncturist said it could help provide relief from the pain of menstrual cramps. Tauber told the paper, “I’ve had a few of them come back to see me and they swear it helps.”

How Body Piercings Can Help with Weight Loss

Daith piercings are thought by some to help people lose weight by reducing your appetite, causing you to eat less and lose weight. According to Healtholine, daith piercings are based on the principles of acupuncture in terms of the areas of the ear they stimulate, and “Once a daith piercing is done, there are certain neurological stimulations that reduce your appetite.” This doesn’t guarantee that you will lose weight by getting a daith piercing, but does explain why you might notice you’re not as hungry after getting this piercing. If you are looking to change your body size, consult your doctor before starting on any weight loss plan.

While there isn’t scientific evidence that piercings can cure migraines, menstrual cramps, anxiety or any other ailment, that doesn’t mean those who’ve experienced benefits from piercings haven’t seen an improvement in their health, only that the results have not been proven by science or embraced by the medical community.

So there you have it—some ways that piercings may, or may not, help with common ailments. If you have questions about specific piercings, contact a piercing professional.

Want to learn more? Check out our complete guide to body piercings!

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