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Could yoga and meditation help your migraine?

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Meditation for migraine headaches: Does it work?

Research tested this simple way to help migraine headache sufferers. In a small study, meditation not only empowered people to control their migraines but it also lead to fewer and significantly shorter bouts of headache.


Migraine headaches are debilitating. In addition to decreased quality of life from missed activities, medications given for migraine headache can cause unwanted side effects. Many prescription drugs fail to work. A new study shows meditation could be a valuable intervention for migraines.

Rebecca Erwin Wells, M.D., assistant professor of neurology at Wake Forest Baptist and lead author of the study published in the online edition of the journal Headache notes there has been little research about the benefits of mind-body interventions for migraine treatment.

Stress reduction with meditation leads to fewer migraines

In a small but encouraging study Dr. Erwin Wells and colleagues studied the effect of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) - a form of standardized yoga and meditation - on migraine headaches.

Nineteen people were enrolled in the study. Ten were assigned standard medical care for comparison.

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The participants were evaluated before and after the meditation intervention and they also kept a log of frequency, severity and duration of headaches.

"We found that the MBSR participants had trends of fewer migraines that were less severe," Wells said in a press release, adding that there were also less disabling and shorter migraines in the group that meditated. The participants also reported a sense of control over their headaches.

The study authors note more than 36 million Americans suffer from migraine headache making it important to find drug-free and safe interventions to help people. The next step is to perform a larger study to find out how meditation works to help reduce migraine headache frequency, severity and duration.


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Image credit: Pixabay



I don't get migraines. But i think it helps with hypertension maybe?
Definitely Adam - Yoga breathing alone helps with high blood pressure, but any exercise dilates the blood vessels, reduces stress and improves blood flow to help the cardiovascular system. Thanks for your comment. Yoga does so many good things. Here is an article highlighting Yoga benefits for blood pressure: http://www.emaxhealth.com/1275/yoga-beats-high-blood-pressure-and-much-more
It doesn't help my migraines, but it helps with the neck pain and soreness I experience with them. Also when they get so bad I can't move, lying in savasana and breathing slow helps with my bad mental state when I start beating myself up for having this illness.
Saara, thank you for sharing. It's really good that you are doing what you can and recognize even small things that can help. Hopefully your comment will help other too.