(HealthDay News) — Meditation and other mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) tactics have been found to be a practical form of intervention for adults with migraines, according to research published online in Headache.

Rebecca Erwin Wells, MD, MPH, of Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues randomly assigned 19 adults with episodic migraines to eight weeks of MBSR (10 participants) or usual care (nine participants).

The researchers found that none of the participants assigned to MBSR experienced adverse events, and adherence was high (average length of daily meditation, 34±11 minutes). Participants in the MBSR group had 1.4 fewer migraines per month than those in the control group (3.5 to 1 versus 1.2 to 0 migraines per month; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], −4.6 to 1.8 migraines per month; P = 0.38). Headache severity was decreased in the MBSR group compared with the control group (−1.3 points/headache on a 0 to 10 scale; 95 percent CI, −2.3 to 0.09 points/headache; P = 0.053), and headache duration was shorter (−2.9 hours/headache; 95 percent CI, −4.6 to −0.02 hours/headache; P = 0.043). Among secondary outcomes, significant improvements were noted in the MBSR group compared with the control group for migraine-related disability/impact, self-efficacy, and mindfulness.

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“MBSR is safe and feasible for adults with migraines,” the authors write. “Although the small sample size of this pilot trial did not provide power to detect statistically significant changes in migraine frequency or severity, secondary outcomes demonstrated this intervention had a beneficial effect on headache duration, disability, self-efficacy, and mindfulness.”


  1. Erwin Wells R et al. Headache. 2014;doi:10.1111/head.12420