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Acupuncture: Pinpointing Relief

Two new studies showing that acupuncture might prevent migraines and tension headaches offer welcome relief to sufferers.

When doctors deemed Luisa Setaro, 72, unfit for a kidney and liver transplant, she turned to acupuncture to relieve the symptoms of hepatitis C. "From the first visit," says the Argentina-born resident of Miami, "I felt so much better." And after six weeks of treatments, she says, her arthritis subsided, her appetite returned, her overall mood lifted, and her headaches disappeared.

New research is now backing up individual claims of the efficacy of acupuncture. Two recent studies found that the treatment prevents migraine and tension headaches.

“For headache sufferers, it’s positive news because they have a new option,” says Dr. Klaus Linde, lead researcher on both studies at the Centre for Complementary Medicine Research at the Technical University of Munich, Germany.

Setaro’s acupuncturist, Cuba-born Dr. Robert Gastón, says the remedy, which has been in use for millennia, treats numerous maladies because “obstructions and changes in the body’s basic energy cause disease” and acupuncture normalizes the way the body uses energy.

Treatments cost $60 to $120, with higher fees for initial treatments, but, while approved by the Federal Drug Administration and World Health Organization, aren’t covered by Medicare or most insurance plans.

If you're interested in trying acupuncture, be sure to tell your doctor first.

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