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:

dan-harris-hack-your-brains-default-mode-with-meditation

Read more at Tech Times and Wiley Online Library

Photo credit: Antonio Guillem / Shutterstock


Trusting your instincts is lazy: Poker pro Liv Boeree on Big Think Edge

International poker champion Liv Boeree teaches decision-making for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to make decisions with the clarity of a World Series Poker Champion.
  • Liv Boeree teaches analytical thinking for Big Think Edge.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

Stress is contagious. Resilience can be too.

The way that you think about stress can actually transform the effect that it has on you – and others.

Big Think Edge
  • Stress is contagious, and the higher up in an organization you are the more your stress will be noticed and felt by others.
  • Kelly McGonigal teaches "Reset your mindset to reduce stress" for Big Think Edge.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

Five Hawks Down: watch the tragic migration of six Californian raptors

Tracking project establishes northern Argentina is wintering ground of Swainson's hawks

Image: @TrackingTalons / Ruland Kolen
popular
  • Watch these six dots move across the map and be moved yourself: this is a story about coming of age, discovery, hardship, death and survival.
  • Each dot is a tag attached to the talon of a Swainson's Hawk. We follow them on their very first migration, from northern California all the way down to Argentina.
  • After one year, only one is still alive.
Keep reading Show less

5 short podcasts to boost your creativity and success

These quick bursts of inspiration will brighten your day in 10 minutes or less.

Personal Growth

Podcasts can educate us on a variety of topics, but they don't have to last an hour or more to have an impact on the way you perceive the world. Here are five podcasts that will boost your creativity and well-being in 10 minutes or less.

Keep reading Show less