Luckily, Iâ€™ve only suffered from ocular migraines, where I experience the visual symptoms known as an â€œauraâ€. I say â€œluckyâ€ because, although they are horribly distracting, I donâ€™t experience the excruciating pain that my close friend does. She and nearly 28 million other Americans suffer from debilitating pain and nausea in addition to the auras.
Iâ€™m letting her know about a new article in the medical journal Headache which suggests that the ancient practice of yoga may hold a key to relief. Researchers in India followed a group of 72 participants and randomly assigned half to receive yoga therapy. This group practiced gentle postures (asanas), breathing exercises, relaxation and meditation. The second group were educated on diet and lifestyle changes and educated about avoiding migraine triggers.
The group who participated in the yoga therapy saw a reduction in both the frequency and severity of their headaches. They also noted a marked improvement in their mood, citing a reduction in the symptoms of anxiety and depression. In contrast, the second group found that their symptoms had either stayed the same or actually worsened.
It is believed that yoga exhibits a calming effect upon the central nervous system. Previous studies have also shown that other forms of pain, such as arthritis and chronic back pain can be alleviated through this gentle practice. I know that when I have practiced yoga I have felt more centered and better focused. Perhaps I can get my friend to take a yoga class with me!