Google ‘benefits of yoga’ and you’ll be presented with more than 647,000,000 entries: from increased flexibility to better heart health, the reasons to get your ‘ohm’ on are seemingly endless. But a recent study in the journal Neurology has found a new advantage of committing to your practice: it may ease the pain of migraines.
Researchers from the Department of Neurology at the All Institute of Medical Sciences in India recruited 114 people ranging from 18 to 50-years-old. All of these participants had a history of headache and migraine pain and, over the course of the experiment, received counselling on lifestyle changes, including better sleep, a healthier diet, and regular physical activity.
In addition, the researchers split the participants into two groups: the first group received medication only, while the second group supplemented this by rolling out their mat three days a week for 30 days. Then, for a period of two months after this, they were asked to stick to an at-home practice five days a week.
Both groups reported an improvement in their symptoms throughout the duration of the study. However, those in the yoga group experienced around 50 per cent fewer headaches, reduced pain intensity and little disruption to daily life because of their condition. They also relied less on the help of medication.
On the other hand, those in the medicated group saw a 12-per cent decrease in headache frequency.
“About half of people who have migraines take medication to get relief,” the study’s author, professor Rohit Bhatia, M.D., told Runner’s World. “Yoga could be a good way to reduce migraine onset for those who prefer not to take medication. It also seems promising for those who do opt for meds but may still struggle to reduce frequency and severity of the condition.”
It might also be worth trying for those who struggle to afford migraine medication, as yoga classes are available to be streamed online for free.
Lucy BodeLucy is Women Health’s digital editor, social media specialist and the go-to girl for all things holistic wellness. Her background as a journalist and passion for food, fitness and integrative medicine has led her to write for some of Australia’s leading publications over the course of her career.