Please note, this information does not replace a visit to your doctor or a neurologist. Meditation can be a complement to your treatment to make you feel better, but is in no way a treatment solution for migraine.
Discover meditation to relieve migrainesBefore making this decision, I did not know about meditation, and even less that it could act on my migraines . For several years now, we have known that migraine can be triggered by changes in state: see the article " mechanism and functioning of migraine ". It is also this change of state which triggers the famous weekend migraine, when the tension of work and mental load subsides. Meditation therefore refers to a mental practice which consists of focusing on the present . It is itself divided into different types such as mindfulness meditation, the Zen method, vipassana, or even transcendental meditation, etc. Each has its benefits. This meditation acts on stress, provides relaxation and helps you sleep better. This is quite good given that these 3 elements are also linked to headache. Each session is a moment for yourself and a moment of rest in a bubble of softness. Meditation is a very ancient practice, originating from India more than 5000 years ago . It became popular in the 1960s, so very recently. She quickly gained many followers and conquered the United States then Europe.
A Canadian study published in the Journal of Neuroscience in 2020 demonstrated that meditation helped reduce the effects of pain through four twenty-minute sessions. So I tried it!
Meditation and chronic migraine
Vipassana meditation is a traditional Buddhist practice dating from the 1970s based on breathing and observing the different stages of movement of the abdomen . We watch it rise and fall while focusing on the feeling. We visualize, in our mind, the air which enters, travels through the lungs and exits. And we concentrate on our body, in our mind, in our inner world. By practicing this type of meditation, as soon as you feel the very first signs of a migraine appearing, it helps. This technique helps the body to relax . The muscles are less tense, and negative thoughts disappear quite quickly. You must practice regularly to obtain results, including outside periods of migraine attacks. Of course, the more we practice this type of meditation, the more we notice positive results on headaches. This type of meditation therefore had positive effects on my tension headaches . It led to a reduction in my tension , which helped reduce the intensity, frequency and duration of the headaches .
Zen meditation relieves headachesZen meditation is a Japanese spiritual practice born from the meeting of Buddhism and Taoism. Also called zazen , this practice is ritualized and led by a master. It is practiced on a daily basis and during a retreat called “sesshin”. This expression literally means “ to gather the spirit ”. I don't know if migraine affects the mind, but I tell myself that the composition of the word must be linked to the mind: migraine, half a seed ... a piece of the mind. Either, Zen meditation is a particularly gentle and deep type of meditation. By practicing it for 3 days , I realized that this technique allows me to manage migraine pain , in the same way that we manage a schedule: one thing after the other, one thought after the other. We direct our thoughts towards something other than pain and we learn to make room for it and finally to gradually reduce this space in the head.
This meditation is therefore an interesting natural solution, but you need support to practice it well and derive all its benefits.
Transcendental meditation is a form of meditation that relies on the recitation of a mantra . A mantra is a formula based on the power of rhythm and the sound produced. It is repeated with the aim of reducing the production of discursive thoughts. We choose this mantra to combat stress . It is much more than a relaxation technique. It is an exceptionally deep state of rest . It provides a feeling of peace and joy, which has the effect of decreasing the production of stress hormones — stress that can trigger migraines . This type of meditation is practiced over time and the first effects both on the mind and on the migraine come after 3 months of practice . We observe a significant reduction in stress, depression , but also insomnia . However, it takes time to achieve inner peace. Stress disrupts the normal functioning of the brain. The experience of transcendental meditation leads to deep, inner calm . We cannot force it, but rather welcome it. It is a path and not a destination. So you need concentration and a little technique. When we reach the state of transcendence, it is recorded in the memory and we can return to it, including during migraine attacks. This helps reduce the intensity of the pain.
Mindfulness against migraineThis form of meditation is the best known. It is the only one whose effects have been scientifically validated . The expression “mindfulness” is a translation of the term “mindfulness”, which means “attentive presence”, or full presence at a “moment T”.
Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on your breathing, emotions, thoughts or even the perception of physical sensations in your body. We are therefore faced with a natural body-mind solution. With a daily 30-minute session at home, I noticed a reduction in pain intensity and an absence of nausea. Which is already a great victory.Emotional well-being helps greatly in relieving migraines , and greatly improves quality of life.