Effects of Spiritual Meditation on Migraine Headaches

Patients with migraine headaches often have symptoms of depression, anxiety, and low self-efficacy. Spiritual meditation has been found to relieve these symptoms. Researchers at University of Mass Medical Center studied the effects of spiritual meditation on improving pain tolerance and relieving migraine headaches (Wachholtz and Pargament, 2008). They also examined its mental, physical, and spiritual health outcomes, compared with those from secular meditation and relaxation techniques.

A total of 83 patients with migraines participated in the study. They learned Spiritual Meditation, Internally Focused Secular Meditation, Externally Focused Secular Meditation, or Muscle Relaxation, for 20 minutes a day for one month (Wachholtz and Pargament, 2008).

The study found that those patients practiced spiritual meditation had more significant reductions of migraine headaches, anxiety, and negative affect. In addition, they had more improvements in pain tolerance, self-efficacy, daily spiritual experiences, and existential well-being (Wachholtz and Pargament, 2008).

These findings indicate that spiritual meditation has good effects on relieving migraine headaches, compared with other methods. It would be interesting to find out the mechanisms of such interventions.


Wachholtz, A. B. and Pargament, K. I. (2008) Migraines and meditation: does spirituality matter? J Behav Med 31, 351-366.

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