The number of people getting daith piercings for headaches has been steadily increasing, so we looked into the history of this piercing and found some interesting facts we want to share with you.
The word daith comes from the Hebrew word “da’at” which translates to ‘knowledge’ or ‘the knowing’. It was created in 1992 by Erik Dakota and a Jewish woman client. She named it “da’at” by reasoning that the piercer must have been extremely smart to figure out exactly how to do this piercing. A true daith must be done in such a way that the bottom part of the ring appears to come directly out of the ear canal. The technique for this piercing is quite advanced; it requires a specific needle. (Interesting fact: Erik Dakota and his client pronounced it ‘doth’ to rhyme with moth.)
MIGRAINES AND HEADACHES
It seems that daith piercings have helped some migraine sufferers although there is no scientific proof confirming this. There is also a strong belief among piercers and doctors that it may be simply a placebo effect – a strong belief that it can cure you, so it does. However, we did find one study that had some evidence that daith piercings relieved the symptoms of chronic migraines in at least one individual, and this was believed to have something to do with this piercing occurring on an acupressure point.
PAIN AND HEALING TIME
As with any piercing, the pain is a common worry. When compared to the helix (at the top of the ear) which feels like a ‘sharp nip’, the daith pain seems to feel more like a dull pressure. Of course, everyone has a different pain tolerance and it is different person to person. Still, it is widely agreed that a daith piercing is slightly more painful than earlobe piercings as it’s placed through the cartilage where you will always experience more resistance. It seems on average, the daith takes six to nine months to fully heal and most can sleep on it within a couple of months. Personally speaking, and because it’s inside the ear, a person can sleep well on their first night.
It is believed the daith piercing has been around for 3,000 years. We set out to find out if the daith works through acupuncture or in some other way and found out a lot about the history.
In 1951, Dr Paul Nogier ‘mapped’ the whole body to the ear (this is called auriculotherapy – a therapy to relieve pain using pressure points in the ear). The chinese acupuncturists took that ‘map’ and added it to their own teachings of acupuncture. Most interesting are the actual pressure/acupuncture points around the daith area – large intestine, small intestine, appendix, esophagus, mouth and anus – none of which have anything to do with the head or migraines.
However, in our search for answers, we came across an article written in 2017 by Dr Thomas Cohn (M.D. of the Minnesota Physical Medicine Blog). He wrote about ‘headaches, daith piercings and the vagus nerve’, see An Update on Daith Piercings. After over 18 months of studying the daith, he concludes it is like acupuncture and vagal nerve stimulation. (The vagal nerve – which has a branch near the ear – sends signals back to the brain that could affect neurotransmitters and hormones that lead to headaches.)
Reading the thought-provoking articles, blogs and medical papers brings us to the conclusion that, while a lot of study has taken place on the daith piercing, no definite medical conclusion has been reached. Fine Line took the time to call twelve of our daith customers who specifically had the piercing done for headaches, and all of those felt their headaches had decreased to some degree. Below are two quotes from happy daith customers:-
Michelle Coe from Durban
“I suffer from a rare syndrome which causes ‘stomach migraines’ and the daith piercing was recommended to me. My pain was so bad I needed morphine to be brought out of an attack. Since getting the daith three months ago, I have only had one attack. Furthermore, when I do get a headache, I just press down on the piercing and it seems to subside. I believe it has made a difference for me and definitely works for headaches.”
Taryn Fait from Johannesburg
“I’ve had three MRI’s over the years, trying to get to the reason for my constant headaches. Nothing was ever found. While on holiday in Durban I went for a daith piercing at Fine Line and my headaches disappeared immediately. However, on my first day back at work my headaches resurfaced, although not as bad. At first I was disappointed, but I’m now grateful that the daith showed me my headaches are caused by stress. I still believe in the daith, though, because the headaches aren’t nearly as bad as they were. I don’t know if this is a miracle cure, but it definitely helped me to a certain extent.”
While Chinese acupuncture is most likely not the reason for relieving headaches, given that the pressure points do not match, there may be something to the vagus nerve which does run up the ear. This nerve lowers the heart rate and carries a huge range of signals from the digestive system and organs to the brain and vice-versa. Perhaps the daith piercing simply interrupts that?
Or perhaps the answer lies with the individual alone.
Credits for facts sourced:
- Dr Chris Booth – acupuncturist from New South Wales, Australia
- Kristen Warren – author of The essential point: No, A daith piercing won’t cure your migraines The short answer to this question, unfortunately, is “no”
- Elayne Angel – author of The Piercing Bible: The Definitive Guide to Safe Body Piercing (who has performed over 40,000 body piercings and did a study with Kristen Warren on the daith)