Commonly used auricular points for migraine relief

Under the guidance of traditional Chinese medicine theory, the clinical research of auricular acupoint stimulation in the treatment of migraine has gained a lot, and the curative efficacy is definite, but its mechanism remains unclear.

In the present paper, we discussed the efficacy of auricular acupoint stimulation including “transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation” (taVNS) in the treatment of migraine in recent years.

Through bibliometric analysis, we screened out top 10 auricular acupoints (Shenmen[TF4], Pizhixia[AT4], Jiaogan[AH6a], Gan[CO12], Yidan[CO11], Neifenmi[CO18], Shen[CO10], Nie[AT2], Zhen[AT3] and E[AT1]) which were the most frequently used for migraine. Majority of these auricular acupoints just distributed in the region innervated by auricular vagus nerve. Thus, we thought that the analgesic effect of needling these auricular acupoints for migraine was produced by triggering the auricular vagus nerve, and concluded that the central mechanism underlying induction of analgesic effect by activating auricular vagus nerve may be achieved by activating the descending pain regulation pathway of the locus coeruleus nucleus and dorsal raphe nucleus.

In addition, taVNS-induced 1) regulation of the activities of brain’s default network and pain matrix, 2) activation of the cortical descending pain regulation pathway, and 3) inhibition of the neuroinflammatory response may also contribute to its ameliorating effect of migraine.

This paper may provide ideas for the future research on the mechanism of auricular acupoint treatment of migraine.


Acupuncture Times Logo

Hi there!

Sign up to receive the latest research in acupuncture, cupping, moxibustion, Chinese herbal medicine and more, once a week.

About Attilio

Doctor of Chinese medicine, acupuncture expert and author of My Fertility Guide and My Pregnancy Guide.

Check Also

Pub Med

Acupuncture beats western medicine for depression

Introduction: Depression is a pervasive mental health challenge with substantial global ramifications. Contemporary therapeutic strategies predominantly …