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Can Piercings Cure

As long as I’ve been piercing, I’ve had clients asking me if piercings could cure different ailments. Will a daith cure my migraines? Does a flat fix anxiety? Will a tongue piercing make me loose weight? And there’s some history to this belief, archeologists believe early tattoos and piercing were thought to have medical purposes. Otzi the iceman had tattoos for his arthritis and ear piercings they said could prevent madness from demons. As long as we’ve been modifying our bodies, we’ve wondered if this process could cure or help with different ailments.

Unfortunately, I’m here to burst a lot of bubbles. Piercings and tattoos can not cure any medical ailment or health condition.

I heard this pierces through a nerve that cures your anxiety/migrane/etc?

Spoiler alert- every piercing pierces through nerves! We have nerves all over our body, which allow us to feel pain, pleasure, and every sensation under the sun. Any time you scratch, bump, or pierce your skin you are piercing through nerves. That said, piercers don’t do any work near major or serious nerve clusters or endings. The only time we come anywhere close is some genital piercings, and we still usually don’t pierce through, just near. Other than that, simple facial or ear piercings we just don’t work near major nerves (the majority of which are in your spine anyway). The same way piercings don’t cause paralysis by damaging a nerve (check out more about that here

) piercings also don’t cure anything by piercing through nerves.

Well I heard it’s a pressure point for acupuncture and that’s how it cures things?

Heres where things get dicey. Theres different schools of acupuncture with different beliefs and pressure point maps. Some people say this is why a daith cures migraines, but according to different schools of acupuncture that location is also considered the bowels, and the intestines. In most schools of acupuncture as well its suggested against piercing directly through the pressure point. They believe doing so would deactivate the point and make it no longer effective. Beyond that, I’ve had clients come in with a mark on their ear from where they wanted it pierced for a pressure point. Pretty much never are these marks in a place that’s actually viable to pierce through. A piercing must be in a correct portion of anatomy, and in a part of the body stable to pierce. This almost never lines up with “pressure points.”

But my family member/friend/people on the internet said it worked! It cured them!

Placebo is a powerful effect. A placebo is “a harmless pill, medicine, or procedure prescribed more for the psychological benefit to the patient than for any physiological effect.” Take drug studies for example- one group is given the real medicine and a control group is given a placebo pill to test against. People in the control group still end up getting better because of the placebo effect. They believe they are being given the trial drug, and it’s going to work and heal them. They aren’t, but their belief in their mind is so strong and the brain is so powerful an organ, that they sometimes improve slightly anyway. The American Migraine Association has made a statement that the daith piercing is just a placebo effect. Because some people believe this piercing will cure their migraines, they experience relief. Not because the piercing actually does anything. This is a harmful bandaid on a bigger problem though- when that belief fades migranes and health issues return. Getting a piercing shouldn’t absolve you from still seeing your doctors, taking your medications, and getting medical care and attention you need. I’ve had clients who ‘believed’ this cured them stop taking medications they needed and suffer serious side effects from it. Then come back and be angry at us because the piercing “stopped working”.

Then why does XYZ piercer say it works?

Money. Plain and simple. There are less than reputable folks out there who will do anything to make money, even if it preys on people who suffer from something as awful as migraines. It’s very lucrative to offer or promise to cure people, and people are willing to spend plenty in the hope of some relief. That doesn’t make lying ok, and the experts have spoken on this subject time and time again. Piercings don’t cure anything. Anyone promising to is taking advantage of you, and I wouldn’t trust them to pierce you correctly.

As awesome as it would be for piercings to cure or help with different ailments, there is unfortunately no evidence they do, and plenty that they don’t. Please don’t be taken advantage of by piercers promising you a magical cure or a too good to be true treatment. All piercers can honestly offer is a safe, well done, correct piercing. Nothing more, nothing less.

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I would love to see some peer reviewed studies on this. I have had huge success with acupuncture. There are duplicate pressure points - for example, why some practitioners only use distal points (check out POCA) vs not. My migraines have reduced significantly (several a week to one a month or so), since getting my daith. Is placebo effect all or nothing? Even if it is the power of the mind (which I doubt, based on speaking with doctors and piercers), there is something to be said for placebo effect if it helps people feel a decrease in the perception of pain. It is far healthier than popping pain pills and losing a day to a dark bedroom.

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