According to research published in the October issue of Headache, meditation could be a path to migraine relief.
“Stress is a well-known trigger for headaches, and research supports the general benefits of mind-body interventions for migraines, but there hasn’t been much research to evaluate specific standardized meditation interventions,” said Rebecca Erwin Wells, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
The study looked at the safety, feasibility, and effects of a standardized meditation and yoga intervention called mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) in adults with migraines. Nineteen adults were randomly assigned to 2 groups; 10 adults received the MBSR intervention, and 9 received standard medical care.
“We found that the MBSR participants had trends of fewer migraines that were less severe,” said Dr. Wells. “Secondary effects included headaches that were shorter in duration and less disabling, and participants had increases in mindfulness and self-efficacy – a sense of personal control over their migraines. In addition, there were no adverse events and excellent adherence.”
The researchers concluded that MBSR is a safe and feasible therapy for adults with migraines. While the sample size of the study was too small to find statistically significant changes in migraine frequency or severity, the intervention had a beneficial effect on the length of headache, disability, self-efficacy, and mindfulness.