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Sep 12, 2014 03:52 PM EDT

Meditation May Reduce Migraine Pain


Meditation may be a path to migraine relief, according to a recent study.

Researchers from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center found that the practice could relieve the intensity and duration of migraines, Time reported. The study was designed to assess the safety, feasibility and effects of a standardized meditation and yoga intervention called mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) in adults with migraines.

"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," Rebecca Erwin Wells, lead author of the study and professor of neurology at Wake Forest Baptist, said in a statement.

For the study, Wells and her colleagues collected and analyzed data from 19 adults. The study participants were randomly assigned to two groups with 10 receiving the MBSR intervention and nine receiving standard medical care.

The participants in the MBSR group attended eight weekly classes to learn MBSR techniques ad were instructed to practice for 45 minutes on their own at least five additional days per week.

The research team found that the MBSR participants had trends of fewer migraines that were less severe.

"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 adherence," Wells said.

The MBSR participants had 1.4 fewer migraines per month that were less severe, effects that did not reach statistical significance. The participants' headaches were significantly shorter as compared to the control group.

Based on their findings, the researchers concluded that MBSR is a safe and feasible therapy for adults with migraines.

Further studies with larger sample sizes are planned to further evaluate the impact and mechanisms of this intervention in adults with migraines, Wells said.

The findings were recently published in the journal Headache.

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