Mindfulness For Migraine & Headache Relief

You can watch the entire playlist of mindfulness sessions by our wonderful presenters. Suitable for adults, young adults and teens.

  • Date/Time

    Every other Thursday
    Starting Thursday, January 12, 2023
    7:30pm EST

  • Location

    This is an online event

Watch all the videos from the Miles For Migraine 2020/2021 Mindfulness Series.

Learn How To Practice Mindfulness For Migraine

Our Mindfulness For Migraine series teaches you tools and techniques to help manage your migraine and headache disease. Tune in weekly to learn more!

Mindfulness for Migraine can be practiced in many forms other than sitting meditation. Moving meditations for migraine can be a mindful way to reduce stress - which is known to trigger attacks. These mindful practices and relaxation techniques for migraine can be done while moving or sitting. The practices we will offer are:

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present and engaged in the current moment, without judgment. It involves paying attention to one's thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations in a non-reactive and accepting way. Mindfulness can be practiced in daily life, as well as in meditation. In meditation, mindfulness is used as a technique to cultivate awareness and focus. The meditator sits in a comfortable position and brings their attention to their breath, body, or a specific object of focus. As thoughts or distractions arise, the meditator acknowledges them without judgment and gently brings their attention back to the present moment. This process of noticing and redirecting the mind's attention helps to develop greater mental clarity, emotional regulation, and overall well-being. Mindfulness meditation can take many forms, including sitting, walking, or even eating meditation. The goal is to bring mindfulness into all aspects of life, not just during formal meditation practice. By cultivating mindful awareness, individuals can learn to respond to life's challenges with greater clarity, compassion, and resilience.

Mindfulness has its roots in ancient Buddhist teachings and practices, particularly in the Theravada tradition of Southeast Asia. The term "mindfulness" is a translation of the Pali word "sati," which means "to remember" or "to be aware." The Buddha taught that mindfulness was a key factor in the path to enlightenment, and it was considered one of the Seven Factors of Enlightenment.  Over time, mindfulness practices spread beyond Buddhist communities and became integrated into other spiritual and secular contexts. In the 20th century, mindfulness gained popularity in the West through the work of teachers such as Jon Kabat-Zinn, who developed the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program in the 1970s. Today, mindfulness is widely recognized as a beneficial practice for promoting well-being and reducing stress, and it is used in a variety of settings, including healthcare, education, and business.

Our Mindfulness Programs

Mindful Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is a technique that involves focusing one's attention on the present moment, while acknowledging and accepting one's thoughts and feelings without judgment. There is some evidence to suggest that practicing mindfulness meditation may help individuals with migraine by reducing stress, improving pain tolerance, and promoting overall relaxation.

Stress is a well-known trigger for migraine, and several studies have shown that practicing mindfulness meditation can be an effective way to reduce stress levels. A randomized controlled trial published in the journal Headache found that an eight-week mindfulness-based stress reduction program (MBSR) significantly reduced the frequency, intensity, and duration of migraine compared to a control group. Another study published in the journal Behaviour Research and Therapy found that mindfulness-based stress reduction was effective in reducing migraine-related disability and depression symptoms.

Mindfulness meditation has also been shown to improve pain tolerance and reduce pain perception, which may be relevant to migraine management. A study published in the journal Pain found that mindfulness meditation was effective in reducing pain severity and improving pain coping strategies in patients with chronic pain.

Finally, mindfulness meditation promotes relaxation and may be useful in reducing migraine symptoms. A study published in the journal Mindfulness found that an eight-week mindfulness-based stress reduction program reduced the severity and frequency of migraine compared to a control group.

Wells RE, O’Connell N, Pierce CR, et al. Effectiveness of Mindfulness Meditation vs Headache Education for Adults With Migraine: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Intern Med. 2021;181(3):317–328. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.7090

Bakhshani NM, Amirani A, Amirifard H, Shahrakipoor M. The Effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction on Perceived Pain Intensity and Quality of Life in Patients With Chronic Headache. Glob J Health Sci. 2015 Aug 6;8(4):142-51. doi: 10.5539/gjhs.v8n4p142. PMID: 26573025; PMCID: PMC4873598.

Seng EK, Singer AB, Metts C, Grinberg AS, Patel ZS, Marzouk M, Rosenberg L, Day M, Minen MT, Lipton RB, Buse DC. Does Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Migraine Reduce Migraine-Related Disability in People with Episodic and Chronic Migraine? A Phase 2b Pilot Randomized Clinical Trial. Headache. 2019 Oct;59(9):1448-1467. doi: 10.1111/head.13657. Epub 2019 Sep 26. PMID: 31557329; PMCID: PMC6788949.

Pressman, A., Law, H., Stahl, R. et al. Conducting a pilot randomized controlled trial of community-based mindfulness-based stress reduction versus usual care for moderate-to-severe migraine: protocol for the Mindfulness and Migraine Study (M&M). Trials 20, 257 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13063-019-3355-y

Wells RE, O'Connell N, Pierce CR, Estave P, Penzien DB, Loder E, Zeidan F, Houle TT. Effectiveness of Mindfulness Meditation vs Headache Education for Adults With Migraine: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Intern Med. 2021 Mar 1;181(3):317-328. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.7090. PMID: 33315046; PMCID: PMC7737157.

Yoga

Yoga is a mind-body practice that originated in ancient India and has been practiced for thousands of years. It involves a combination of physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation or relaxation. Yoga is known to promote relaxation, reduce stress, and improve overall well-being.

Yoga has been suggested as a complementary therapy for migraine management because it can help reduce stress and tension, which are common triggers for migraine. Additionally, certain yoga postures and breathing techniques can promote relaxation and help improve circulation, which may help reduce the frequency and severity of migraine.

Research studies have shown that yoga can be beneficial for people with migraine. For example, a randomized controlled trial published in the journal Headache found that a 3-month yoga intervention resulted in a significant reduction in the frequency and duration of migraine compared to a control group. The study also found that the yoga intervention improved psychological well-being and overall quality of life. Another study published in the journal Neurology found that a 3-month yoga intervention resulted in a significant reduction in the frequency and severity of migraine compared to a control group. The study also found that the yoga intervention improved stress management skills and overall quality of life.

Overall, yoga can be a beneficial complementary therapy for migraine management. It can help reduce stress and tension, improve circulation, and promote relaxation, which may help reduce the frequency and severity of migraine. However, it is important to note that yoga should not be used as a substitute for medical treatment for migraine. People with migraine should consult with their healthcare provider before starting any new treatment, including yoga.

Kumar A, Bhatia R, Sharma G, Dhanlika D, Vishnubhatla S, Singh RK, Dash D, Tripathi M, Srivastava MVP. Effect of yoga as add-on therapy in migraine (CONTAIN): A randomized clinical trial. Neurology. 2020 May 26;94(21):e2203-e2212. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000009473. Epub 2020 May 6. PMID: 32376640.

Nayar D, Mahapatro M, Nayar P. Role of Yoga as an Adjunct in the Management of Migraine Headache-Current Status and Future Indications. Int J Yoga. 2022 Jan-Apr;15(1):12-18. doi: 10.4103/ijoy.ijoy_173_21. Epub 2022 Mar 21. PMID: 35444373; PMCID: PMC9015090.

Boroujeni MZ, Marandi SM, Esfarjani F, Sattar M, Shaygannejad V, Javanmard SH. Yoga intervention on blood NO in female migraineurs. Adv Biomed Res. 2015 Dec 31;4:259. doi: 10.4103/2277-9175.172995. PMID: 26918241; PMCID: PMC4746941.

Kisan R, Sujan M, Adoor M, Rao R, Nalini A, Kutty BM, Chindanda Murthy B, Raju T, Sathyaprabha T. Effect of Yoga on migraine: A comprehensive study using clinical profile and cardiac autonomic functions. Int J Yoga. 2014 Jul;7(2):126- 32. doi: 10.4103/0973-6131.133891. PMID: 25035622; PMCID: PMC4097897.

Tai Chi

Tai Chi is a form of exercise that originated in China and involves a series of slow, flowing movements that are coordinated with deep breathing and relaxation techniques. There is some evidence to suggest that practicing Tai Chi may help individuals with migraine by reducing stress, improving circulation, and promoting overall relaxation. Tai Chi has been shown to be effective in reducing stress and anxiety levels in individuals with various chronic conditions, including migraine. A study published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine found that a 12-week Tai Chi program significantly reduced stress levels in patients with chronic tension-type headaches, which may also be beneficial for individuals with migraine. Additionally, Tai Chi has been shown to improve circulation and reduce inflammation, which may be important factors in the development and management of migraine. A study published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that Tai Chi improved cardiovascular function in older adults, which may also be relevant to migraine management.

Finally, Tai Chi promotes relaxation and mindfulness, which may be useful in reducing migraine symptoms. A study published in the journal Headache found that a mindfulness-based stress reduction program, which included elements of Tai Chi, was effective in reducing the frequency and intensity of migraine. Overall, while more research is needed to fully understand the benefits of Tai Chi for migraine specifically, there is evidence to suggest that practicing Tai Chi may be a useful tool in managing migraine symptoms by reducing stress, improving circulation, and promoting relaxation.

Prophylactic Efficacy of Tai Chi on Migraine Attack Study Protocol of a Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial Xie, Y.J.; Hui, S.-C.; Ho, S.C.; Suen, L.K.P. International Journal of Evidence-Based Healthcare 14():p S41-S42, December 2016. | DOI: 10.1097/01.XEB.0000511693.78355.30

Xie YJ, Tian L, Hui SS, Qin J, Gao Y, Zhang D, Ma T, Suen LKP, Wang HH, Liu ZM, Hao C, Yang L, Loke AY. Efficacy and feasibility of a 12-week Tai Chi training for the prophylaxis of episodic migraine in Hong Kong Chinese women: A randomized controlled trial. Front Public Health. 2022 Dec 13;10:1000594. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2022.1000594. PMID: 36582390; PMCID: PMC9792997.

Guided Creative Writing

During guided creative writing, participants are given prompts or exercises to help them explore their thoughts, feelings, and experiences related to migraine. These prompts may include questions about the physical sensations associated with migraine, the emotional impact of migraine, or ways to cope with migraine. The act of writing can help promote relaxation and reduce stress by providing a way to express emotions and thoughts that may be difficult to articulate verbally. Writing can also help increase self-awareness and provide insights into the emotional and psychological factors that may contribute to migraine.

An analysis of writing content in a web-based guided writing intervention for migraine headaches Stout, Rebecca A. Wayne State University ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 2008. 3320221.

Art Therapy

Have You Tried Mindfulness For Migraine Relief?

We all know the routine – you have tried everything to find relief from your migraine or headache disorder symptoms. You have probably also received unsolicited advice from more people than you care to remember. What else can you do? In some instances another medication may not help. However, what might help are mindfulness practices and guided meditation for migraine relief to reduce stress, enhance relaxation and build resilience in the mind and body.

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Why Mindfulness for Migraine?

Mindfulness teaches and trains us to allow and acknowledge the moment (of pain, anxiety, worry, depression) with compassion and without judgment. This can be helpful to calm the nervous system which is already activated by pain and other symptoms. While mindfulness may not stop the waves of debilitating symptoms, it can teach your body and mind how to ride the waves – like surfing.

Mindfulness is Evidence Based

Research has shown that a mindfulness practice may lessen the symptoms of migraine, and another study found that mindfulness meditation for migraine is an important part of a holistic treatment approach for migraine & headache disorders.

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2024 Schedule 

  • Creative Writing with Lisa Benson

    Thursday, January 11, 2024 at 7:30 PM EST
    Materials: Writing supplies

  • Tai Chi with Suzan Mekler

    Thursday, January 25, 2024 at 7:30 PM EST

  • Art Therapy with Jen Waters

    Thursday, February 8, 2024 at 7:30 PM EST
    Materials: Art supplies

  • Yoga with Juliana Kroese

    Thursday, February 22, 2024 at 7:30 PM EST
    Materials: Yoga Mat

  • Creative Writing with Lisa Benson

    Thursday, March 7, 2024 at 7:30 PM EST
    Materials: Writing Supplies

  • Mindful Art with Jennifer Evan

    Thursday, March 21, 2024 at 7:30 PM EST
    Materials: Paper, Pencils, Pens, Colored Pencils or Markers

  • Tai Chi with Suzan Mekler

    Thursday, April 4, 2024 at 7:30 PM EST

  • Art Therapy with Jen Waters

    Thursday, April 18, 2024 at 7:30 PM EST
    Materials: Art supplies

  • Yoga with Juliana Kroese

    Thursday, May 2, 2024 at 7:30 PM EST
    Materials: Yoga Mat

  • Tai Chi with Suzan Mekler

    Thursday, May 16, 2024 at 7:30 PM EST

  • Mindful Art with Jennifer Evan

    Thursday, May 30, 2024 at 7:30 PM EST
    Materials: Paper, Pencils, Pens, Colored Pencils or Markers

  • Creative Writing with Lisa Benson

    Thursday, June 13, 2024 at 7:30 PM EST
    Materials: Writing supplies

  • Art Therapy with Jen Waters

    Thursday, June 27, 2024 at 7:30 PM EST
    Materials: Art supplies

Presenters

Lisa Benson

Lisa Benson

Lisa writes to raise awareness about migraine. She cares about awareness since she was undiagnosed for over twenty years, which allowed her migraines to worsen over time. Finally diagnosed in 2011 and living with chronic migraine, she worked hard to educate herself and navigate the medical world to find effective treatment for her condition, though this is ever changing. She has written over 100 articles on migraine.com, presented at Retreat Migraine 2020, and volunteers for Headache on the Hill and Miles for Migraine.

Adriane Dellorco

Adriane Dellorco

Adriane Dellorco (RYT200) is the founder of Yoga for Migraine, an online community that offers transformational yoga and coaching programs to people living with migraine and headache disorders.  She is a lifelong dancer and yoga practitioner who has been living with migraine since 2007.  Adriane has been featured in the 2021 Migraine World Summit, Migraine.com, the National Headache Foundation’s Heads UP Podcast and in the Migraine Strong blog.  In addition to offering monthly yoga classes with Miles for Migraine and teaching at CHAMP’s RetreatMigraine, Adriane provides migraine-friendly yoga practices in her online classes and group coaching programs.  As a mother of two little ones and a former public school teacher, she brings her life experience of living with migraine into her healing yoga practices.  She is proud to advocate in Headache on the Hill and is a member of CHAMP’s Education Council for Headache Online (ECHO). Adriane’s mission is to help others decrease their own migraine pain and reclaim their freedom with yoga.

Website: https://www.yogamigraine.com/

Join the Yoga for Migraine Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/yogamigraine

Follow her on IG at @yogamigraine

Grab Adriane’s free video Top 3 Poses for Migraine Relief when you join the Yoga for Migraine email list.

Jennifer Evan, MD

Jennifer Evan, MD

Jennifer Evan grew up in Northwest Indiana and completed medical school at Indiana University. She then moved to the East Coast for neurology residency at Johns Hopkins following which she decided to pursue Headache Medicine Fellowship at University of Colorado. Her clinical interests include international medicine, medical education, and the potential of art therapy to improve quality of life for those with chronic conditions. She believes in a multifaceted approach to treating headache patients and is looking forward to continuing her training in headache and facial pain to best help her patients in future practice.

Mindy Holleran, PT, DPT, RYT 200

Mindy Holleran, PT, DPT, RYT 200

Mindy Holleran has always had a strong love for the human body and the human experience. Mindy earned her Bachelor's Degree in Exercise Science from Creighton University and her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Western University of Health Sciences in California. Mindy has practiced physical therapy for the last 7 years in Phoenix, Arizona. Since the beginning of her career, she has enjoyed empowering her patients who experience headaches and migraines. Since 2018 she has treated headache and migraine patients from Barrow Neurological Institute’s, Lewis Headache Center. Mindy received her Yoga Teacher Training specifically to continue to empower her headache and migraine patients on a deeper level.

Juliana Kroese

Juliana Kroese, PT, RYT, C-IAYT

Juliana Kroese, PT, RYT, C-IAYT is a licensed physical therapist, registered yoga teacher and certified yoga therapist. She works at the Jan and Tom Lewis Migraine Treatment Program at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. She has been practicing yoga for over 20 years, and loves combining her extensive knowledge of anatomy and physiology with yoga, breathwork and mindfulness. Juliana received her degree in physical therapy at the European School of Physiotherapy in Amsterdam, and her yoga training through the Sivananda and the Integrative Yoga Therapy programs.

In Juliana's classes you will find an emphasis on postural re-education, alignment and mindfulness to generate a positive shift in your physical and mental day-to-day function. These classes will provide tools which will extend far beyond alleviating headache and migraine as you learn to incorporate them into your daily routine.

Suzan Mekler

Suzan Mekler

Suzan has worked at Tampa General Hospital as a fitness, wellness & health educator since 2003, first working with employees & then expanding out into the Tampa community. She has created and provided over fifty community wellness presentations and is certified as both a leader and master trainer in many other evidence-based and self-management programs, such as Stanford University’s “Living Healthy with Chronic Pain”, “Powerful Tools for Caregivers”, and four diabetes-related programs. The main theme throughout all these programs is encouraging healthier lifestyles through physical activity, better nutrition, and cognitive and behavioral change strategies. She has been certified to teach several styles of tai chi thru Dr. Paul Lam since 2012 and currently teaches several classes in the community including a tai chi for Parkinson’s program that is sponsored by USF.

Suzan has a bachelor’s degree in social work & a graduate certificate in gerontology. Helping others achieve a better state of wellness has been her lifetime career and passion. The motto on her “FitCity” business card is: “What the Mind believes, the Body Achieves” derived from a quote by Coach Vince Lombardi. This fuels her passion & philosophy to “Educate, Motivate, Activate”.

Jennifer Waters

Jen Waters, MA, ATR, LPCC

Jen is a Registered Art Therapist, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (CA), and Licensed Mental Health Counselor (MA). Jen received her M.A. in Expressive Therapies from Lesley University and has had over 10 years of professional experience providing arts-based interventions in community mental health settings. She works with clients on issues related to life transitions, healing after trauma and loss, overcoming depression, low self-esteem and anxiety, stress management, and self-care through mindfulness. Jen is a Ph.D. candidate at Saybrook University, where she is specializing in Creativity Studies and also operates a private practice in Modesto, CA. https://www.creativespacecounseling.com/