Getting A Daith Piercing For Anxiety

  • Written By Dan Hunter on December 21, 2019
    Last Updated: December 31, 2020

Anxiety can dictate the quality of your personal and professional life. There are many forms of treatment; however, some of them might not be accessible or helpful to everyone.

Here, we’re going to discuss and answer the most commonly asked questions surrounding daith piercings — an alternative treatment for anxiety, among other ailments.

What Is a Daith Piercing?

You’ve probably seen a daith piercing on someone before. It’s situated in the crus of the helix, the innermost cartilage right above the eardrum. 

The procedure is performed with a hollow needle. This takes a small plug out of the skin and cartilage, whereas a solid needle would simply tear a hole — ouch! The needle is slightly curved because this part of the ear is curved as well and is quite hard to reach.

Furthermore, the piercer can place the jewelry inside the hollow needle. It’ll slide into place as the needle is inserted, and stay put as the needle pulls back through. It’s pretty neat!

Typically, a long, slightly curved barbell is used during the healing process, which can be replaced by any style later on. The reason for this is that a ring, or any piece that’s too curved, might cause discomfort by bending the newly created hole in your ear. 

Can Daith Piercing Help With Anxiety?

The ear is home to several pressure points and is often a target of acupuncture — a traditional Chinese medicine that aims to improve the flow of energy across the body. It involves penetrating the skin with thin needles.

The daith piercing aims to target one of these pressure points called the vagus nerve. It’s one of the 12 pairs of cranial nerves that make up the autonomic nervous system that controls involuntary body functions. 

The vagus nerve extends from the bottom of the brain throughout the rest of the body. It’s responsible for mood control, immune response, digestion, and heart rate. One of its pressure points are located in the, you guessed it, crus of the helix.

Putting pressure on the vagus nerve can aid in the following:

  • Epilepsy
  • Pain
  • Depression
  • Migraines

So far, the information we have about daith piercings for treating anxiety is unscientific. There aren’t any clinical trials or scientific studies on its reported effects. Most doctors attribute the results of daith piercings to a stimulation of endorphins, reduced tension in the muscles and improved circulation.

However, migraines, depression and pain can all interlink with anxiety. Improving these conditions might result in an elevation of anxiety. One study concluded that auricular — ear — acupuncture showed positive results in patients suffering from anxiety after 10 sessions. 

Daith Piercings & Anxiety – FAQs

Since daith piercings aren’t backed up by science as an effective treatment for anxiety, there’s a lot of chatter going around. We’ve scoured the internet to answer your questions with the most valuable information we could find.

Is It a Placebo Effect?

A placebo effect is a result you get from a treatment by simply believing that it’s working. Depending on the severity of the ailment, this could actually be beneficial. It can result in avoiding treatments that include dangerous side effects, yet reaping similar outcomes.

For example, a study showed that a placebo pill given to patients with depression improved their symptoms. Sometimes even when they knew it was a placebo. This freed them from the side effects of antidepressants. Note that we recommend seeking professional help first if you show any signs of depression or mental illness.

Some believe that the daith piercing is a placebo effect. This doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work. If there’s a large enough community that swears by their claims, there must be some truth to it, whether it’s a placebo or not. 

All we’re saying is that you should take this for what it is — an alternative treatment. Something that you pursue when proven methods don’t benefit you. Don’t expect miracles.

Does It Matter Which Side It’s On?

In theory, yes. Some believe that you should get the daith on the side where your anxiety-related pain is concentrated. Assuming the anecdotes hold true, a daith piercing should help with these symptoms.

What Are the Dangers of a Daith Piercing?

As with any piercing, there’s the risk of infection. Cartilage piercings have a higher risk of getting infected than lobe piercings. This is because your hair regularly sweeps over them, and they’re more likely to get tugged.

Keeping your piercings clean, especially a new one, is imperative, since pierced cartilage become infected 30 percent of the time. If you notice redness and swelling, you’ve caught it early on, and treatment should be simple. 

The History of Daith Piercings

The daith piercing was thought to have been invented by Erik Dakota in 1992. His first client was a Jewish woman who proceeded to name the piercing “da’at,” which is Hebrew for “knowledge.” She believed that a piercing near an orifice was akin to a guardian at a gate, guarding the entrance. Soon it was pronounced as “daith” in English.

At this point, it was merely an aesthetic that gained popularity in the goth and punk fashion scenes. This might have had something to do with Fakir’s Body Play Magazine. The magazine published information, images, and commentary about body modification. Unfortunately, it was discontinued in 1999 after the mainstream media was hesitant to market alternative lifestyles. 

The daith piercing lived on, nevertheless, and is now more popular than ever. It’s gained traction in the alternative medicine movements for treating anxiety and migraines.

If there’s pus coming from the cartilage, however, you might need to be admitted to a hospital to have the infection surgically drained. Avoiding treatment and allowing an infection to fester can result in permanent deformation of the ear, illness and, in some extreme cases, death.

Allergic reactions to jewelry are common, especially nickel. We suggest staying away from this material unless you’re sure you aren’t allergic. Gold or nylon jewelry pieces are a safer option.

Another downside is that it’ll hurt. If you don’t have a high pain tolerance, you might want to bring something you can bite down on. Don’t take anything that contains aspirin several days before your appointment. It thins the blood and may, therefore, cause severe bleeding.

Final Thoughts on Daith and Anxiety

If you’re someone who doesn’t benefit from proven treatment for anxiety, a daith piercing might be worth looking into. Perhaps you simply want to try something different. We can’t guarantee that you’ll see any results, but we can assure you that you’ll look very stylish! Remember to take all the safety precautions.

If you want to ensure your piercing heals as best as it possibly can, it’s imperative that you follow your piercer’s aftercare advice closely, and be sure to invest in a high-quality aftercare solution to aid recovery.

The best piercing aftercare product I’ve ever had the pleasure of using up to this point is the After Inked Piercing Aftercare Spray. Not only is it vegan-friendly, but it’s also completely alcohol and additive-free. The solution works well on all skin types including sensitive skin, and it comes in a generously-sized mist-spraying bottle for easy application.

When using it from the very start of the healing process, the spray helps to decrease healing times and aims to eliminate any lingering pain or soreness.