WINSTON-SALEM, NC — A pilot study has shown that mindfulness-based stress reduction, MBSR, can be a safe and effective way to reduce migraine headache effects, and it can be done while patients continue to take migraine medication.
The study, by researchers led by Dr. Rebecca Erwin Wells at the Wake Forest School of Medicine in North Carolina, was published in July’s edition of the journal Headache.
Although the study’s sample size was small (at about 19 patients), the authors claim its secondary outcomes “demonstrated [that] this intervention had a beneficial effect on headache duration, disability, self-efficacy and mindfulness.”
Patients who continued with their usual care were unaware that they were the control group for the study.
Mindfulness is defined as non-judgmental, moment-to-moment awareness.
All patients participated in two-hour sessions over eight weeks and kept daily logs of activities and mindfulness and were assessed on their level of headache-related disability and depression. The study was followed by a six-6-hour mindfulness retreat.
The classes taught how to incorporate mindfulness techniques into daily activities such as eating, sitting, walking meditation, body-awareness and yoga. Patients also were informed about stress relief.
Authors concluded that future studies with larger sample sizes are warranted.