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Meditation Helps Prevent Migraines

First Posted: Sep 11, 2014 06:04 PM EDT
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Meditation can help to relieve various health issues.

Now, recent findings published in the journal Headache show that similar routine practices could help to prevent migraines from happening.

"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, M.D., assistant professor of neurology at Wake Forest Baptist and lead study author, in a news release.

For the study, researchers assessed the safety, feasibility and effects of standardized meditation and yoga intervention known as mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) in adults with migraines.

For their research, they recruited 19 adults who were randomly assigned to two groups with 10 receiving the MBSR intervention and nine receiving standard medical care. The participants attended eight weekly classes to learn MBSR techniques and were instructed to practice 45 minutes on their own at least five additional days of the week.

After this, study participants were evaluated before and after the trial period using objective measures of disability, self-efficacy and mindfulness. The participants had also been keeping headache logs through the trial to capture the frequency, severity and duration of their migraines.

"We found that the MBSR participants had trends of fewer migraines that were less severe," Wells added. "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."

Furthermore, findings revealed that the MBSR participants had 1.4 fewer migraines per month than the others; their migraines were also less severe.

Researchers hope that with future studies, they can use larger sample sizes to evaluate the impact and mechanisms of intervention in adults with migraines.

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