Nobody wants to suffer from migraines but a recent small study published in the journal Headache
suggests that meditation may help relieve the intensity and duration of migraines.
The study was conducted at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
where researchers assigned 19 people with migraines either to standard medical care or to an eight week program called “mindfulness-based stress reduction”. This is also known as MBSR and the migraine sufferers undertook the program for some 30 minutes a day.
What is MBSR?
MBSR is a program that incorporates mindfulness meditation - and yoga.
What was the result of the study?
The researchers found that those who practised meditation had less severe headaches and about 1.4 fewer migraines a month. Because of the small study size, those effects weren’t statistically significant BUT their headaches were significantly shorter—about 3 hours less per headache—than those migraine headaches of the control group who did not follow the MBSR protocol.
The head researcher Rebecca Erwin Wells, MD, assistant professor of neurology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center said “They were able to have a sense of personal control over their migraines. It really makes us wonder if an intervention like meditation can change the way people interpret their pain.”
Migraines and triggers
Anyone who suffers from migraines knows that triggers play a huge part in bringing on a headache. Stress is one of the most well known triggers and of course anything that combats too much stress is to be welcomed.
Previous studies have shown how effective meditation can be in curbing stress and even helping to heal depression and anxiety. Migraine sufferers
have nothing to lose by either following MBSR or taking up yoga and meditation themselves. In fact, we have written about headaches and meditation before in an earlier article.
How meditation helps to relieve stress
- Apart from teaching you the art of relaxing, meditation helps strengthen the brain and goes on to improve focus, concentration and even productivity.
- While we might all know that meditation is widely recommended as a healthy way to manage stress, it also relieves physical complaints like headaches while boosting the immune system so that we are less likely to become ill.
- Stress can be particularly damaging to our bodies and so can medication BUT meditation does the complete opposite as it restores the body to a calm state, helps the body to repair itself and prevents new damage occurring from the physical effects of stress.
How yoga helps to relieve stress
One yoga exercise is to sit cross-legged on the floor with a straight spine and your hands, palms up, on your knees while closing your eyes and taking a deep breath in. Hold your breath in for a slow count of four before exhaling to a slow count of eight. Wait for for eight seconds before repeating several times until you feel the calmness taking over.
You can find more exercises, and even how to get started with yoga, in our earlier post here.
How guided meditation also helps with stress relief
There are several ways you can do guided meditation for stress and anxiety at home. Here is the link to three different ways
you can go about it, hopefully finding which works best for you.
It’s all about stress!
It is also known that stress depletes the body of vital nutrients – mainly the B vitamins. In addition, those prescription and OTC drugs taken for migraines actually further deplete vital vitamins.
How to avoid and treat migraines
- Consider meditation and yoga to reduce your stress levels.
- Take a vitamin B2 riboflavin supplement to replace those vital nutrients lost during stressful times.
- Change to a natural safe remedy for your migraine relief.
- Read more about our all natural alternative - H-Headaches Formula.