GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Instead of seeing a doctor, thousands of people are turning to their local tattoo shop for a potential solution to migraine pain and a way to boost their immune system.
A new study published in the American Journal of Human Biology by researchers at the University of Alabama finds receiving multiple tattoos can actually strengthen your immunological responses, potentially making it easier to fight off common infections.
Cape Fear Tattoo co-owner and artist Eddie Stewart isn’t surprised with the new findings.
“Your immune system is what takes care of the tattoo,” said Stewart. “You know, each time you get tattooed, a tattoo is like a big scrap. Your body has to fight off infection constantly.”
One or two tattoos won’t make a long-term difference, yet if you’re consistently adding or getting touch-ups you may be healthier than your none-tattooed friends and not even know it.
“The more you get tattooed, the more it works your immune system. It’s like lifting weights,” said Stewart. “The more you do it the better it gets.”
Meanwhile, fresh ink isn’t the only type of body art medical researchers are calling potentially beneficial. Thousands of migraine suffers are trying something known as a daith piercing. It’s an ear piercing which passes through the ear’s inner-most cartilage fold.
The few seconds of pain could be worth it for some of the nation’s 38 million migraine sufferers.
“Anything that could work is kind of worth it,” said Lauren Rusak. She’s been suffering from migraines for the past several years, getting them two to three times a week. “If I had a migraine and I was at home, I would go in my room, turn off all the lights, close the blinds and just sit there in silence. That was the only thing that really helped.”
After seeing the piercing on social media, she wanted to try it. She got the daith piercing three months ago.
“It definitely has worked and I definitely would recommend it to anyone,” said Rusak.
There isn’t any medical research to back it up. While it may work for some, many others say it didn’t work for them.
Garry’s Skin Grafix body piercer Nick Leary hopes doctors study it soon because it makes sense to him why it’s helping some people.
“From what I know, acupuncture for headaches and migraines is in the ear,” said Leary.
While it’s not exactly acupuncture or pressure point therapy, Leary is overwhelmed with the number of people wanting a daith piercing.
“I’m piercing 50, 60, 70-year-old ladies. People like that say they would never do this unless they think it would even possibly help,” said Leary.
Whether it’s an unusual piercing to maybe help unbearable pain or a dozen tattoos to keep your immune system strong, millions of people around the nation are looking at neon-lit body art shops in a new way.
Before choosing to get a tattoo or piercing, make sure you do your research and get it done at a well-known and highly rated shop. Be sure to have a conversation with the artist or piercer ahead of time to be sure it’s a good option for you.