Daith Piercing for Anxiety: Does it Work?

Updated December 18, 2018

Reviewer Tanya Harell

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Some people suffer from anxiety that prevents them from performing normal activities. Anxiety affects millions of people around the world. Different forms of therapy are applied to the treatment of anxiety disorders. However, some people cannot afford the conventional treatments, or they do not respond to traditional methods for dealing with anxiety. But because anxiety disorders can disrupt people's personal and professional life, those suffering are always looking for a solution. Fortunately, there is an emerging alternative treatment for anxiety that is a cost not only effective but also pharmacy free. So, what is this anxiety fix? Research says daith piercings.

What Is Daith Piercing?

Daith piercing is done at the inner fold of one's ears. It goes through the inner cartilage just above the eardrum. A hollow needle is used for piercing. After getting the piercing, the jewelry that is used is the curved barbell during the healing process. Bead rings are also popular amongst people who have done daith piercing for anxiety.

The first person to perform daith piercing was Erik Dakota, and his first client was a Jewish woman who named the piercing "da'at" meaning knowledge. The Jewish client named the piercing that way because she felt that a knowledgeable person could only do it. Daith piercing can only be performed using a specialized needle that was first designed by Erik Dakota. Although it was initially done for aesthetic purposes, today daith piercing for anxiety is very common. After getting the piercing, some people claim that it helps reduce anxiety.

Does Daith Piercing Help With Anxiety: Daith History

The ear contains several pressure points that are often the target for acupuncturists. Most holistic health professionals use the pressure points to alleviate anxiety. The pressure points that are usually targeted are the vagus nerve that extends from the brain to the rest of the body.

Therefore, the application of daith piercing for anxiety relief is similar to the acupuncture. Acupuncture is the traditional Chinese medicine that helps in the flow energy in the human body. Practitioners say that piercing targeted parts of the body the needles assist in unblocking the energy gateways in the body.

One of the modern founders of ear acupuncture says that the ear has three essential pressure points. He notes the points as the Shenmen, also referred to as the stress relieving point, the tranquilizer point that induces relaxation, and the point zero that is the calming point in the ear. Apparently, for daith piercing for anxiety to work, then the piercer must target point zero, one that has calming effects.

Dr. Paul of France is the founding father of modern ear acupressure. Dr. Nogier pioneered the concept of homunculus and auriculotherapy. Homunculus represents the anatomical interrelation of an inverted fetus in an ear. The doctor states that the homunculus is a small representation of the human being.

Practitioners of daith piercing for anxiety relief believe that it can permanently alleviate anxiety or reduce the anxiety.

Research And Ideas Behind Daith Piercing

Most of the information on the use of daith piercing for anxiety is anecdotal since there are no clinical trials in the US supporting the effect of daith piercing on anxiety.

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Most western doctors find it hard to believe that daith piercing help with anxiety. Western doctors attribute the results of daith piercing and anxiety to other factors such as the stimulation of the endorphins or reduction of muscle tension and improved circulation.

There are a number of people who believe that daith piercing for anxiety works. Studies have also been conducted, and they have concluded that the stimulation of specific reflex points in the ear can help in relieving symptoms of distant pathology.

A study done in China concluded that ear acupuncture on subjects suffering from anxiety, and migraines achieved positive results after only one acupuncture treatment. They concluded that comprehensive auricular acupuncture could reduce headaches and can alleviate the clinical symptoms of anxiety and migraines, especially when combined.

Many clinical results are based on the use of acupuncture to relieve anxiety and migraines. Besides, there is a connection between acupuncture and piercings. Indeed, daith piercings are done at the pressure point, the same position that practitioners of acupuncture target to heal migraines. Theoretically, daith piercing produces the same effects as acupuncture. Nevertheless, more studies should be carried out on the application of daith piercing as an alternative treatment of anxiety.

The Placebo Effect

Some people do not believe that daith piercing for anxiety works. They think that it is a placebo effect, meaning that the treatment works because one believes that it is working. Any benefits or positive results that one gets because of a placebo effect are because of their own body and mind. Placeboes are mostly applicable when dealing with mental disorders as people claims that they feel better after the treatment.

However, this does not mean that daith piercing for anxiety does not work. There must be some truth behind these claims. However, until there are sufficient scientific studies one cannot conclusively advise on to get a daith piercing for anxiety and one should carefully weigh their decision to pierce their body.

Preventing Infection After Daith Piercing For Anxiety

One should consider the following points after getting a daith piercing to avoid infection:

  • It should be done at a licensed piercing shop
  • The piercer should be knowledgeable and licensed to do the daith piercing
  • The wound should be kept dry, and one should avoid activities such as swimming
  • One should not pull off the jewelry to prevent irritation that makes the wound fresh
  • Jewelry should not be removed until the wound heals completely and this can take around six to one year.
  • Sanitize your hands before touching the piercing
  • One can reduce swelling by using cold compressors
  • The wound should be cleaned daily using a saline solution to reduce risks of infection

Risks Associated With Daith Piercing

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Just like any other procedure, daith piercing is associated with several risks that one should consider before getting the piercing. It is painful to get the piercing and takes a long time before it can heal completely.

It is a cartilage piercing and therefore, it has higher chances of infection than the standard lobe piercings. If the infection is left untreated, it can lead to an ear infection and subsequently loss of hearing. Some people have suffered from toxic shock syndrome and sepsis because of daith piercing, which could be due to bacterial infections.

In some cases, daith piercing does not work for the purpose for which it was intended for, and the person may think of letting the piercing close. Unfortunately, this may leave an unsightly mark behind even after the piercing has closed.

Moreover, there is no way of knowing if daith piercing will work for anxiety disorders. Daith piercings take longer periods to heal, starting from five to twelve months.

One should avoid daith piercing if they are taking blood thinners and if they have diabetes, autoimmune conditions, and hemophilia.

Some opponents of daith piercing for anxiety or a migraine argue that the dangers of daith piercing outweigh the benefits. Researchers and head specialists say that the results from the daith piercing for anxiety and migraines result from the placebo effects and that the effects are temporary and psychological. Besides, the possible risks or side effects of getting an infection from the piercing may make the symptoms worse. Anyway, to each their own as there people who have received positive results from the piercings.

Points To Note Before Getting Daith Piercing For Anxiety

If one is getting the daith piercing for treating anxiety, then the side of the head that one receives the piercing matters. One should not get the piercing on the side of the head where the anxiety related pain and symptoms seem to cluster, as this will make the anxiety worse. However, if one does not suffer migraines related to the anxiety, then the side of the ear that one gets the piercing does not matter.

Before getting daith piercing, ensure that you are comfortable with the way it looks, you are aware of how one should take care of the piercing, and you understand the risks associated with the piercing.

Always make sure that you get the piercing done at a reputable shop, and that the piercer is knowledgeable on the daith piercing. After getting the piercing, wash the wound using saline solution for around six months. Activities such as swimming should be avoided before the wound heals.

Daith piercing for anxiety may work or fail to work. Therefore, if you are doing because it worked on some else, always remember that it may not work for you.

Final Thoughts On Daith Piercing For Anxiety

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Daith piercing may or may not work for treating anxiety. It is advisable to talk to your doctor about other ways of treating anxiety. Contact BetterHelp for more information on how you can deal with your anxiety problem.

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