Migraines? A help from yoga

Yoga helps to stay in the here and now, to calm the mind from the crowding thoughts and to bring benefit to the body by making the skin, muscles and joints elastic and flexible. But yoga also helps to fight migraines, as evidenced by a recent scientific study published in the prestigious journal Neurology by an Indian team (Kumat et al, May 2020).
Migraines are the most common form of headache that also affects young people causing poor performance at school or at work and sometimes reducing the quality of life. Despite its spread, however, the migraine is still underestimated and not adequately treated, even today. The cures exist but sometimes they can cause side effects or not bring enough benefits. For this reason, the study we are talking about today has tried to understand if yoga, as a complementary therapy in case of migraines, can also be effective against this disorder. 114 people were recruited, aged between 18 and 50, with episodes of migraines, at least 4 per month. Study participants were divided into two groups. One group was asked to take only the prescribed medicines and to follow beneficial behaviors in case of headaches, such as eating at regular hours, sleeping an adequate number of hours and doing exercise. The other group, instead, in addition to taking medications and following a healthy lifestyle, just like the first group, also participated in yoga sessions. In the first month, for three days a week, the second group did, under the guidance of a teacher, pranayama, which are the breathing techniques of yoga, yoga poses and relaxation exercises. Afterwards, for the next two months, these people practiced yoga at home 5 times a week on their own. At the end of the two months, the study participants were evaluated to see if there had been any improvement. In general, both groups showed improvement but in the group that, in addition to medicines, had also practiced yoga, the benefits were significantly higher. In particular, in the latter group there was a higher reduction in the number of episodes of headache, 48% less in comparison to the 12% reduction of the group who had taken only drugs, but also in the intensity of pain and in the quantity of medicines taken with a higher improvement in the quality of life.
Other research will be done to extend the study period beyond three months and on larger samples of population, but in the meantime, of course, the result is really interesting and promising and shows that yoga not only helps to relieve pain but also allows to reduce medications.
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