Researchers Explore Meditation's Capacity to Treat and Reduce Migraines

The results of a new study suggest that mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) can help reduce the severity and length of migraines in chronic adult sufferers. 

A pilot study suggests that mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) could help reduce the severity and length of migraines in chronic adult sufferers. Researchers at Harvard and Wake Forest knew that MBSR had been shown to treat other forms of recurring pain, yet had never been tested on migraines. They conducted a preliminary experiment featuring 19 migraineurs: nine received normal treatment, ten were prescribed MBSR. The researchers' conclusions, published in the appropriately titled journal Headache, were that MBSR is a safe and feasible treatment for adults with migraines.

The meditating migraineurs experienced shorter (by 3 hours) and less severe headaches, though it's emphasized that these results not be taken as gospel because the subject sample size was so small. Still, the researchers took these initial figures as a promising sign and encourage the formation of a broader study to assess the value of MBSR to migraine sufferers.

What's more certain is mindful meditation's ability to reduce stress, or at least help people compartmentalize it. As stress is often cited as a key cause of migraines, it's not a stretch to assume MSBR could be used to treat them. We'll keep an eye on the next big study. In the meantime, don't be afraid to give mindful meditation a test trial.

After all, what do you have to lose aside from a migraine?

For more on the science behind meditation, check out this clip from ABC News anchor Dan Harris' Big Think interview:


Read more at Tech Times and Wiley Online Library

Photo credit: Antonio Guillem / Shutterstock

Befriend your ideological opposite. It’s fun.

Step inside the unlikely friendship of a former ACLU president and an ultra-conservative Supreme Court Justice.

Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Former president of the ACLU Nadine Strossen and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia were unlikely friends. They debated each other at events all over the world, and because of that developed a deep and rewarding friendship – despite their immense differences.
  • Scalia, a famous conservative, was invited to circles that were not his "home territory", such as the ACLU, to debate his views. Here, Strossen expresses her gratitude and respect for his commitment to the exchange of ideas.
  • "It's really sad that people seem to think that if you disagree with somebody on some issues you can't be mutually respectful, you can't enjoy each other's company, you can't learn from each other and grow in yourself," says Strossen.
  • The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
Keep reading Show less

Physicists find new state of matter that can supercharge technology

Scientists make an important discovery for the future of computing.

Surprising Science
  • Researchers find a new state of matter called "topological superconductivity".
  • The state can lead to important advancements in quantum computing.
  • Utilizing special particles that emerge during this state can lead to error-free data storage and blazing calculation speed.
Keep reading Show less

Physicist advances a radical theory of gravity

Erik Verlinde has been compared to Einstein for completely rethinking the nature of gravity.

Photo by Willeke Duijvekam
Surprising Science
  • The Dutch physicist Erik Verlinde's hypothesis describes gravity as an "emergent" force not fundamental.
  • The scientist thinks his ideas describe the universe better than existing models, without resorting to "dark matter".
  • While some question his previous papers, Verlinde is reworking his ideas as a full-fledged theory.
Keep reading Show less

How to heal trauma with meaning: A case study in emotional evolution

As tempting as it may be to run away from emotionally-difficult situations, it's important we confront them head-on.

  • Impossible-sounding things are possible in hospitals — however, there are times when we hit dead ends. In these moments, it's important to not run away, but to confront what's happening head-on.
  • For a lot of us, one of the ways to give meaning to terrible moments is to see what you can learn from them.
  • Sometimes certain information can "flood" us in ways that aren't helpful, and it's important to figure out what types of data you are able to take in — process — at certain times.
Keep reading Show less