Majority of body piercings are desired for their aesthetic value, aiding one in creation of their own personal style, vanity, and commonly used as a tool for self-expression. However, some piercings can serve with a deeper purpose. Unlike other fad treatments which have faded out over time, the daith piercing remains a hotly debated topic today.
With today’s advancement in technology coupled with the ease of content sharing, migraine communities and the Internet have provided migraineurs with a diverse range of perspectives on daith piercings. With the variety and abundance in responses, this has not only provided affirmation for some on their thoughts on daith piercings but have also allowed some to feed on their skepticism and apprehension about the topic.
Basically, the piercing is done on a very specific area of the ear called the daith, a small fold of cartilage in the inner ear, just above the ear canal. Because of its minuscule size, one should always seek professional advice as it could sometimes be hard or if not impossible to pierce. It can take up to months to heal and may easily become infected if not cared for or done accurately.
The underlying theory behind this piercing as a migraine treatment can be acquainted with a Chinese medical practice known as acupuncture. In this case, the vital point at the daith is supposedly aligned with the digestive system and if your migraines are related to digestive problems, there is a possibility that “daith piercings could be your fix”, said Dr. Will Foster, an acupuncturist in Knoxville, Tennessee. He also proceeded to mention that there are “zones on the ear that corresponds directly to zones on the body”, and that the result varies with each individual.
Western medicine and practices are still skeptical about the ability of just a mere ear piercing to treat such a tricky and unpredictable disease like migraines. To date, there is reportedly also “no data on daith piercings available in scientific literature”. Furthermore, an online survey’s results suggest that out of 380 patients with daith piercings, 47.2% experienced a reduction in migraine frequency while 4.7% faced a worsened condition. Approximately half of the respondents experienced less severe attacks. However, the number of responders who had no further migraine attacks depleted as time progressed. It is also important to note that reported results could be due to the placebo effects.
With that in mind, we are here to help provide you with information, with a neutral stance on daith piercings. We are fully aware that ultimately the decision is yours to make, so we are writing this in hopes that it allows you to make a more informed choice for or against daith piercings before you decide to take the next step forward. Brace yourselves, the following content could get a little lengthy but we feel it is essential to lay out all points for your utmost benefit.
A Professional’s point of view
We decided to get a professional’s opinion, and consulted a professional piercer in Southern California, Erica Bautista, on daith piercings. She told us that she does about 10-20 piercings a week for people from all walks of life who suffer from migraines, and that “about 90% of the people that follow up with [her] have either less frequent attacks or less intense attacks or have not had any since.” She makes sure to tell her clients that there is no guarantee that the piercings would help with their migraines, but either way, they would walk away with a cute piercing.
We further consulted her on how daith piercings differ from other piercings, and she mentioned about the similarity of the procedure with getting your cartilage pierced. This is what Erica had to say about her experience with daith piercings:
“When getting a daith piercing, you will feel a slight pinch and some pressure. It is a bit uncomfortable but not too painful if done correctly. You also want to make sure you are going to a reputable piercer that is using quality jewelry. While healing I recommend for my clients to use a saline solution soak to clean the area once a day and then rinse with warm water to remove the solution. Also, to always rinse with warm water after the shower so all soaps and hair products are removed. Healing generally takes up to 2 months but for some people it can be longer as everyone’s bodies heal differently. It could be sore to touch during the healing process so I recommend sleeping on the opposite side as to not bother the piercing. The less you touch and mess with the piercing the quicker it will heal. Pricing would generally be about $50 and above, depending on the jewelry selection (prices would defer in different establishments) .”’
“Just this past month I did a daith piercing on a lady in her 50s that only ever had her earlobes pierced. She had been suffering from a 3 week long migraine and was sent to me by her neurologist. She said the piercing didn’t hurt just some pressure felt. 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. I have done daith piercings for people from age 13-83 from all religious beliefs and all backgrounds. I think if a piercing can help you get your normal life back just about anyone is willing to try it. No more Botox injections or pain meds or days in bed is a pretty big incentive.”
Migraine Buddy Users’ Testimonials
To enhance this article’s reliability and relevance, we have also recruited and collected testimonials from over 70 Migraine Buddy users who have had experience with daith piercings. We received responses to our questionnaire from over 10 countries, where USA and UK made up the bulk of our responses.
41% of the responses that we received mentioned that they first got to know of daith piercings through the Internet, either through coming across it during their own research on migraines or through online platforms like news pages and blogs. The remaining 59% knew about daith piercings through their friends, word of mouth, social media, news articles and other forms of communication, as seen below in the pie chart.
Out of the responses we received, majority chose to get a daith piercing out of desperation or as a last resort to help ease the frequency/pain intensity of attacks. Others, like Julie (as seen below), mentioned that she was looking for a form of natural relief.
Not surprisingly, over 30% of the responses we received also stated that even though they knew this wasn’t a foolproof alternative, they were not afraid to give it a go because they liked the “aesthetic look” of the piercing or simply because they thought it was “cute”, and even if it didn’t work, it wouldn’t be a waste. Here are some responses we received on why people chose to get a daith piercing:
“I was desperate for anything that might help at that point. “ – Makenna Bond (USA)
“I was looking for a natural relief, and decided that even if they didn’t reduce my migraines at least it is a cute piercing. “ – Julie (Canada)
“I chose to do it for both relief from migraines and the aesthetics of the piercing.” Brianna Minton (USA)
“I had tried a lot of things to help my migraines that didn’t seem to be working at the time; medicine, chiropractic, acupuncture, massage. So I decided to see if getting my daith pierced would work.” – Alexis Ziegler (USA)
“It couldn’t hurt to try it, and at best I’d get a less migraines, at worst, I’d have a cute new piercing!” Kat Theriault (USA)
When asked about their experience with daith piercings, the responds were almost evenly split between success and failure of how it helped their migraines. Approximately 41% reported that after they got the piercing, there was no difference and classified the experience as a “failure”. However, 30% of the respondents reported that they experienced fewer and less intense attacks over time after the piercing.
Furthermore, people also seemed to experience less intense attacks but frequency remained the same or vice versa. (5% each respectively) The remaining groups of people had an experience where the piercing initially showed promising results with their attacks totally stopping at first but came back less intense (pain and frequency) as time progressed.
“They stopped completely for the first few months and then they came back, but nowhere near as painful or as often. They reduced from daily to monthly” – Chloe (England)
“It was a failure, unfortunately. I saw a result for 3 weeks, they went away but then they came back with a vengeance. I definitely got more dizzy auras with it after I got it done.” – Zadie (USA)
“For the first couple months I would feel pain in the piercing when I had a migraine and the intensity of the migraine was reduced. Now, when I have migraines, the piercing swells and discharges fluids. Is still relatively new so it’s still healing.” – Caitlin (Canada)
“Hi, I’m 50 and have had migraines since I was 30. I had a brain aneurysm in my 30s. I use Botox and Sphenocaths. 2 years ago, I got a daith after reading about them an talking to my Neuro. I got one on my left ear. I gave it 4 months. It didn’t change the frequency or level of pain at all. I was very disappointed.” -Beth Brock
“I no longer have low level headaches which previously I was getting on an almost daily basis. The frequency of migraines has decreased and I only have 1 every 1 or 2 months. The piercing hasn’t affected the severity of migraines.” – Mel (England)
“I had my left side done about 10 weeks ago! It’s still healing! It’s a piercing that needs a lot of maintenance in keeping clean and the healing process is a long slow tender one! I still suffer with migraines, but I think it has helped me a lot! I don’t have as many at all! and I would encourage migraine sufferers to give it a try! If it doesn’t work it’s a nice looking piercing to have!” – jog8a_
Upside of Daith Piercings
What most respondents mentioned that they liked about getting a daith piercing was that it actually benefited their migraines or even if there was no change, they got a “cute piercing out of the deal”.
“I liked that it was something new and wasn’t medical because at that time I was kind of frustrated with all the doctors and everything for not figuring out my migraines since it was all new to me.” – Alexis Ziegler (USA)
“I felt a sudden release of pressure afterwards which was lovely.” – Rachel (Devon)
“It looks good.” – Helen Fairbrother (UK)
“It helped with my migraines! They haven’t left but they have had a slight improvement and anything is better than nothing.” – Annie (Australia)
“Getting the piercing itself was much less painful than I had thought it would be. It was sore for about a week, then a just a little tender to the touch for maybe another week, then no pain whatsoever.” -Betsy (USA)
“Gave me some hope. Even if it doesn’t work it still looks cool :)” – Ximena Bañales (Uruguay)
“It honestly was relatively low on the pain scale and it was a quick and easy process. The aftercare has, funnily enough, become therapeutic and is a time for me to do some relaxing self care” -Natasha N (Zambia)
“I got a cute piercing out of the deal!” – Makenna Bond (USA)
Downside of Daith Piercings
With every experience, there could be an upside or downside, not forgetting that there are definitely risks involved in getting a daith piercing. Undeniably, the process of getting the piercing itself could be painful and it would require more attention and care than other piercings. Alike other piercings, there could be risks of infections and the pierced area could feel tender for differing periods of time depending on each individual. Here is what some of our users had to say:
“It wasn’t particularly painful when having it pierced it did however take an extremely long time to heal. About 9 months. It also had bumps around the piercing for a little while and can be sensitive. Due to the position of it and the size of my ear I can not longer wear in-ear ear buds to listen to music, which is frustrating.” – Deborah Mattocks (England)
“Because it got infected, it got pretty sensitive and painful, made sleeping on my right side hard.” – Jenifer (USA)
“The “procedure” itself didn’t hurt but the healing process took awhile and it was hard to keep it from getting infected” – Jordan McClintock (USA)
“It took a year almost to the exact date to heal the first piercing, during which time my body tried to reject it multiple times, which was incredibly annoying and painful. Also, during the healing process, I was unable to use earbuds or even really scratch at my ear, because it would irritate the piercing.” – Brianna Minton (USA)
“The piercing experience was fine, besides the pain (although I have a high pain tolerance for things like piercings) but it did not heal quickly at all. I did not notice a change in migraine frequency/ severity after getting it and to make matters worse, I use ear bud headphones when I drive as a hands free option and the placement of the daith ring sat right where the earbud was to sit.” – Victoria (Canada)
“The healing was terrible because it over stimulated and gave me a worse migraine.” – Candice Sexton (USA)
“The healing was very slow and the rings can be a little annoying.” – Kelly Robinson (Australia)
Finally, when asked whether they would recommend other migraineurs to try getting a daith piercing, despite the 41% of respondents who had no success, 79% of the respondents were optimistic and are willing to recommend this to other migraineurs. Here are some of the responses we received:
Those who recommended said:
“You’ve got nothing to lose go for it as it may just help.” – Kelly Robinson (Australia)
“I’d recommend people try it. Even though it did not work for me, it’s so easy to have done and It has worked for others, then it’s worth the risk I’d say!” – Lucy (England)
“Yes I would recommend it. $40 and 30 secs of pain is worth shot of reducing migraines, decreasing the severity, or slowing the progression. One thing I think that everyone with migraines need to keep in mind is that there is no cure for migraines. So this will not cure them. But it could help. And any help is better than none” – Rebekah Brownson (USA)
“Yes. Anything non chemical (non drug related) is worth a try! Even if it just reduces the severity in pain, like mine, it is SO worth it!” – Sarah Jo (USA)
Those who did not recommend said:
“No – unsuccessful for me. I feel it is just a lot of hype. Long time to heal and complicated if you want to change the jewellery, you really need a professional to do it for you.”- Susan (UK)
“This is tough. On one hand I see how it could all just be a fad, offering no real lasting relief, but on the other hand, I understand the intense pain of migraine. If there is any chance of it working, why not try it? Even though mine only helped for a month, I don’t regret doing it.” – Betsy (USA)
“Hedge your expectations, talk to your doctor first, and then yeah, go for it. The piercing did not give me noticeable relief, but a neuro-implant procedure called the Omega Procedure that I found through google did! You never know what will help you until you talk to your doctor and give it a chance. Everybody is different.” – Lauren McCoy (USA)
“I would not recommend as I did not have success personally. I found it a bit gimmicky but as many migraineurs can attest, times get so desperate, you are willing to try anything and that I did!” – Victoria (Canada)
If you are skeptical about getting a daith piercing because of the pain, thanks to a reader (@gemsquirky), we were able to know more about this alternative, fake piercings. Essentially, a fake piercing is a ring that doesn’t go through the skin, so if someone wanted to try one out, this would be a great way! They are relatively a lot more inexpensive than actually getting a daith piercing but the results will vary depending on each individual and success rates would undoubtedly be lower compared to actual daith piercings.
picture credit: @gemsquirky
Here is what @gemsquirky experienced:
picture credit: @gemsquirky
“I have migraine aura, I tried out a fake piercing in my right ear, it looked cool and felt a lot better but when I took the earring away, I immediately saw aura again. Still unsure about committing to a real piercing because of the healing time.”
With that, we are ending this lengthy article here and we hope that this has provided you with new insights on daith piercings and that it would allow you to make a more informed decision. Regardless of your choice, and with any decision regarding such a crucial thing like your health, the decision is yours to make. We advise that should you make the decision of taking that leap of faith, make sure to go to a professional and to always research your options further. From everyone at the Migraine Buddy team, we wish you all the best and hope that you have a migraine-free day ahead!
Feel free to leave us any comments down below! We would love to hear about your experiences and your thoughts!
Please take note that this article was not written under any monitoring of medical professionals, and content provided has no intention of being used as a substitute for professional treatment, medical advice or diagnosis.
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