Meditating Chronic Headaches Away

(c) Can Stock Photo

January 30, 2015

Think you can take this latest medical research news and find a way to justify skipping town for a spa getaway as a ‘migraine treatment’…well by all means go for it! When we imagine destination spas, we can’t help conjuring up images of meditating people in loose clothing, sitting cross-legged in pensive poses with serene expressions. Meditation has long been used to help ease stress that triggers a host of ailments like chronic headaches and hypertension. Recently a small study proved that meditation could indeed help migraine sufferers as well.

Researchers from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center sought to study the outcomes from a randomized controlled trial in which a standardized mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program was administered to 19 people with migraines. Treatment included 8 guided sessions, and instructions to meditate on their own for at least 5 additional days each week for 8 weeks. The meditation program yielded some notable benefits.

The migraineurs experienced shorter headaches, improved self-efficacy and mindfulness, along with less disability. The study was published recently in Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain, and reported on   Concluding that meditation was a safe and reasonable therapy, the researchers suggested that a larger subject group would be needed for future research. The evidence, while promising, certainly didn’t indicate that chronic headache sufferers should rely on meditation as a primary treatment.

If meditating can reduce the duration of migraines by about 3 hours, according to the study, it might be worth learning how to boost your mindfulness and get meditating. If you suffer with tension related chronic headaches, MBSR could reduce the number of headaches you get, since lowering stress will remove this well-established trigger. According to Wikipedia, MBSR was first developed at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center to benefit people who could not be treated effectively in a hospital.

The objective is to boost mindfulness through a combination of yoga, meditation and body awareness. For chronic headache and migraine sufferers, it cannot provide a cure for the condition. It might however boost the outcome of migraine treatments by lowering stress and improving life quality.

So if you needed some evidence to support your case for escaping to a spa retreat, this latest research should give you what you want!


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