Here is a selection of research on the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating headaches.
In a 2005 randomized trial, Linde et al studied the effects of acupuncture, sham acupuncture and a control on 302 patients with migraine headaches. The study found the acupuncture and sham acupuncture produced a greater reduction in moderate to severe headaches.
A study by Hansen & Hansen in 1985 showed that classical Chinese acupuncture was more effective than the sham acupuncture placebo in relieving headaches.
A study by Vincent in 1989 found that acupuncture was more effective than the sham acupuncture placebo in treating chronic migraine headaches.
A systematic review by Melchart et al in 2001 included, among others, 16 trials comparing acupuncture to sham acupuncture. The review found that true acupuncture was reported to be significantly superior to sham acupuncture.