The effectiveness of hypnosis on migraines

September 02 2019 is the start of #MigraineAwarenessWeek

Recent research carried out at The National University of Galway Eire has found hypnosis to be an effective treatment for Migraines. Many people assume that migraine is just another name for a headache. However, there is much more to it than pain. Other symptoms include light, sound and smell sensitivity, disturbed vision, feeling and being sick. The attacks can last anything up to 72 hours, and sufferers often have to go to bed or wear dark glasses.

Stress contributes to migraines

Some people experience auras along with the pain. The symptoms often include:

  • flashing lights before the eyes
  • sparkles or stars
  • zig-zag lines
  • blind spots in the field of eyesight
  • coloured spots
  • temporary blindness
  • tunnel vision
  • vertigo or dizziness
  • tingling or numbness
  • pins and needles in the arms and legs
  • weakness on one side of the body

Niamh Flynn of the University carried out a randomized trial, using hypnotherapy MP3s and published his results on the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis.

Hypnosis reduces pain medication

He found that just by listening to MP3s of hypnotherapy scripts, he could help reduce the duration of an attack. The conclusion was it had the potential to be more cost-effective by reducing the time spent with a therapist and pain medication usage.

His research also included that of Dillworth and Jensen (2010) who discovered that different hypnosis suggestions affected different areas of the brain.

Reducing time is one of the main reasons I work with MP3s as well as face to face sessions. It speeds up the whole process and allows us to work through the stresses which are often the trigger for the Migraines in the first place. I also do not primarily focus on pain, but on helping the person increase their resilience to stress. You can trick the brain, however, by suggesting a difference in perception. Often sharp pain can be blunted, or dull pain drains away. The brain has many ways it can change the way it behaves.

Also see: Pain management