In a new study published in the journal Neurology, yoga has been found to help those who suffer from migraine headaches.
According to TODAY, the study found that migraine sufferers who practiced yoga on a regular basis and took medication had far fewer headaches than those who just took medication.
“We had hypothesized that yoga would have a positive effect on patients with migraines but the degree of the benefit, that turned out to be a pleasant surprise,” Dr. Gautam Sharma, a professor of cardiology at the Center for Integrative Medicine and Research at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, told TODAY. “Migraine may be a condition precipitated by multiple triggers and mediated by multiple pathways. Treating the person may be more important than treating the disease.”
The study looked at 114 participants who suffered from migraines and divided them into two groups: one group took medication with no yoga practice and the other group took medication and practiced yoga for one hour, three times a week. The study lasted for three months.
According to TODAY, the study showed that the group practicing yoga saw a 48 percent reduction in the number of headaches they had per month, whereas the group only taking medication saw a 12 percent decrease.
“People improved in both the medication-only group as well as the yoga group,” Sharma told TODAY. “But the benefit was higher in the yoga group in all areas, including headache frequency, pain intensity, use of medications as well as how much migraine interfered with daily life.”
“Yoga asanas and relaxation techniques result in muscle relaxation. The local muscle tension points, especially in the head and neck, can thus be relieved,” Sharma explained to TODAY, noting yoga also has other benefits, like reducing blood pressure and stress-related hormones.