The benefits that yoga can have on wellbeing have long been established – relaxation, reduction of stress, anxiety and depression, and a calming effect on body and mind are well-known effects experienced by many who regularly practice the ancient art.
More recently, the physical health benefits of yoga have been studied – and many confirmed – by modern science. These include positive effects on blood pressure, back pain, and muscle tone to name but a few. But according to a report from news website Reuters, Yoga for migraine relief may offer an additional, lesser-known benefit.
The report details a study, led by Dr PJ John at the University of Rajasthan in Jaipur, India, in which 72 migraine sufferers were randomly divided into two groups: one group took part in a Yoga for migraine relief therapy program consisting of gentle yoga postures, breathing practices, relaxation and meditation, while the other group did not practice yoga but received education on managing pain through diet and lifestyle changes and avoiding migraine triggers.
After three months, the researchers found that the Yoga for migraine relief group experienced improvements in their migraine symptoms – resulting in fewer and less painful migraines – while those who did not practice yoga showed either no change or worsening of their symptoms.
In addition to pain relief, the Yoga for migraine relief group also experienced improvements in symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Larger studies are needed to further explore the relationship between yoga and migraines, but it is believed that the benefits may be due to the calming effect of the practice on the nervous system and its ability to bring pain relief, as with other conditions such as back pain and arthritis.
If you suspect you may be suffering with migraines, it is important to see your GP for a diagnosis and advice on management of your symptoms, and to discuss your general fitness before embarking on any new exercise program.