What Is AcuBand?
By supporting neck muscles and delivering acupressure to two different trigger points, AcuBand promises to safely and effectively help relieve anyone’s headache pain, instantly and without medication.
According to the product’s website, all you have to do is wrap it around your head, easily adjust and tighten the straps, and enjoy relief, without being required to lie down. In fact, the manufacturer tells us that AcuBand is so effective that it was clinically shown to provide 86.6 percent of users with relief in less than two minutes.
The World Health Organization tells us that almost half of the adult population has experienced at least one headache within the last year, and that as much as four percent experience them 15+ days per month.
If you’re among these, can you realistically expect AcuBand to provide relief the second you put it on? For the money, will it help keep you headache-free, as mentioned in the commercial? Here, we’ll address key factors you should keep in mind, starting with the basics.
What Causes Headaches & How Can You Treat Them?
Just like pain in any other part of the body, a headache only tells you that something’s wrong, but not specifically what’s wrong.
With this in mind, there are more than 150 different types of headaches, often classified by cause. Some of the most common include:
Tension – The most common type of headache (experienced by 90 percent of the population at some point in their life), which is often the result of stress, lack of sleep, anxiety, hunger, overusing the neck muscles, and even low iron levels. The pain is typically mild to moderate and located on the front, top, or sides of the head, and can also be accompanied by muscle aches.
Migraine – Long-lasting (three to four hours) headaches that can also cause “sensitivity to light, noise, or smells; nausea or vomiting; loss of appetite; and upset stomach or belly pain.”
Sinus – These occur when sinuses become inflamed, leading to a deep, constant pain in your cheekbones, nose, and/or forehead.
Compression – Often the result of wearing a hat or helmet that is too tight (even swim goggles), leading to moderate, constant pressure wherever the object is pressing on your head.
Outside of this, the Mayo Clinic lists dozens of other causes of headaches, such as blood clots, concussion, dehydration, high blood pressure, flu, dental problems, and ear infections.
Obviously, the most effective treatment—whether AcuBand or anything else—depends on what’s causing your headache, which is why it’s important to make an appointment with your doctor. After talking with you and running some tests, they’ll be able to recommend options based on your specific diagnosis.
In the meantime, common treatment options you can perform in your own home include quieting your surroundings and lowering light levels (even complete darkness), hot or cold compresses, gentle massage, small amounts of caffeine, and OTC pain relievers like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin.
What about the acupressure provided by AcuBand?
Taking a Closer Look at AcuBand’s Headache-Relieving Acupressure
In a nutshell, acupressure purports to use the same principles as acupuncture; that the body contains special energy channels, or meridians, through which life force flows and which can be targeted and adjusted at specific points.
But instead of using needles to provide this adjustment like acupuncture, acupressure utilizes varying pressure levels that can be applied by fingers, hands, elbows, feet, or even specialized devices. If performed properly, it’s claimed to bring your energy back into balance, while also providing a relaxing massage that can boost circulation.
While we didn’t test the device ourselves, based on what we learned from its website and commercial, the two raised areas at the back of AcuBand will only provide targeted pressure where it’s placed—not an active massage as you’d experience in a live session with an acupressure professional.
And while compression—such as that provided by prescription-grade medical stockings—has been shown to boost circulation and help improve blood flow and wound healing, we didn’t encounter any clinical evidence on the National Institutes of Health’s PubMed or other third-party websites that that compression, or the fixed acupressure provided by AcuBand, can help meaningfully relieve headaches.
In fact, as we covered in the previous section, too much compression for too long a time period can actually cause a headache, versus relieve one.
When discussing this device with Dr. Alan Rapoport, Clinical Professor of Neurology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and immediate past President of the International Headache Society, there is reason to believe that putting pressure on certain areas of the head could potentially be effective for relieving tension-type headaches.
And when combined with other treatments, this same pressure might help address migraine in some patients. However, he emphasized that “nothing is effective for all types of headaches,” and in some instances, this pressure “could possibly make things worse.”
With this said, the device’s website indicates that AcuBand had been clinically studied and shown to provide 86.6 percent of users with relief in less than two minutes. We’re even told that it “was conducted according to the International Council for Harmonisation harmonised tripartite guideline E6(R1): Good Clinic Practice.”
However, the study wasn’t listed on the site at the time of our research, so we reached out to the company’s customer support department for more details. In the end, we spoke to three different representatives, all of whom told us they didn’t have any information available about the product.
How Much Does AcuBand Cost?
One AcuBand is priced at $19.99, plus $7.99 S&H. During checkout, you can purchase up to three additional devices for $7.99 S&H each.
Regardless of the quantity you order, AcuBand comes with a 60-day refund policy, less S&H (keep this in mind if you plan to order more than one). To request one, you’ll need to reach out to Tristar Products’ customer service line at 973-287-5126.
Are There Other Products Like AcuBand?
Searching online for terms like “headache wrap” and “headache band” returned many different results at the time of our research. However, the vast majority wasn’t designed to provide the same acupressure as AcuBand.
Instead, most were designed to deliver wrap-around heat and/or cold, whether to the entire head, just the sides, only to the neck, or even just to the shoulders. This is because migraines often respond best to cold therapy, which acts as an analgesic to inhibit your ability to feel the pain, while heat therapy can help relax tense muscles that are causing a tension headache.
We only encountered one acupressure-specific option—an auricular therapy device designed to be attached to the ear.
In general, most were priced between $10 and $30, with a select few that reached $60 or more.
Our Final Thoughts About AcuBand
Remember when we discussed that the most effective headache treatment depends on the cause; something that can only be determined by your doctor?
While we didn’t encounter anything exactly like AcuBand during our research, writing for MedicineNet, Benjamin Wedro, MD, and Danette C. Taylor, DO, note:
“While tension headaches are the most frequently occurring type of headache, their cause is not known. The most likely cause is contraction of the muscles that cover the skull. When the muscles covering the skull are stressed, they may become inflamed, go into spasm, and cause pain.
Common sites include the base of the skull where the trapezius muscles of the neck insert, the temples where muscles that move the jaw are located, and the forehead.”
To reiterate, we didn’t test the device firsthand. But given this information, we could realistically imagine that the acupressure and support delivered to this “trapezius insert” site could help relieve a tension headache—assuming that’s what you’re experiencing and where you’re experiencing it, of course.
Dr. Rapoport suggested that “if a patient has a headache doctor, it makes sense to ask them about devices like AcuBand first. After all, any device could help or hurt. They might already know about it, but if not, they could certainly check into it.”
Also, if you’re looking for something that also delivers heat or cold therapy, it’s important to keep in mind that there are a meaningful number of headache bands competing in the same marketplace as AcuBand, many of which are competitively priced. Some of these are so popular you might even find them locally, potentially saving you S&H charges.
Speaking of which, the manufacturer seems to stand behind their products with a 60-day refund policy. Just keep in mind that you’ll lose your initial S&H charges, plus the fees associated with any additional devices you ordered during checkout should you decide to return your AcuBand.
However (not to sound like a broken record), before placing your order, we’d strongly recommend making an appointment with your doctor. This way, they can discuss what you’re experiencing, run some tests, and then potentially recommend options that might deliver the most bang for the buck.