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Migraines Treated With Meditation

Update Date: Sep 12, 2014 06:17 PM EDT

Migraines can be relieved through meditation, according to new research.

"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," lead research Dr. Rebecca Erwin Wells, an assistant professor of neurology at Wake Forest Baptist, said in a news release.

The latest study involved 19 adults who were randomly assigned to either standardized meditation or mindfulness-based stress reduction in adults with migraines. The participants went to eight weekly classes to learn mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques and were instructed to practice 45 minutes on their own at least five times a week.

Researcher evaluated participants before and after the trial period by looking at disability, self-efficacy and mindfulness.

"We found that the MBSR participants had trends of fewer migraines that were less severe," Wells said. "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 study revealed that MBSR patients suffered 1.4 fewer migraines per month that were less severe. Participants in the MBSR group also suffered significantly shorter headaches than those in the compare group.

"For the approximate 36 million Americans who suffer from migraines, there is big need for non-pharmaceutical treatment strategies, and doctors and patients should know that MBSR is a safe intervention that could potentially decrease the impact of migraines," Wells said.

The findings are published in the journal Headache.

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