The people practicing yoga were instructed by a teacher three days a week for one month, then they practiced yoga on their own for five days a week. The individual yoga practice went on for two months.
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Both groups got the proper medication and counseling about receiving enough sleep, exercising and eating regular meals. Patients logged how long their headaches went on, the severity and the medications they took.
People in both groups improved. However, people who added yoga to their treatment had more benefits.
The yoga group had a 48% reduction in headaches, while the medication-only group reported a 12% decrease in headaches. Among the yoga group, the average number of pills they used decreased by 47% after three months. In the medication-only group, the average number of pills used decreased by about 12%.
“Our results show that yoga can reduce not just the pain, but also the treatment cost of migraines,” said Bhatia, a member of the American Academy of Neurology. “That can be a real game changer, especially for people who struggle to afford their medication. Medications are usually prescribed first, and some can be expensive.”
Bhatia noted that more research must be done to discover if the benefits of yoga would last beyond the three-month study period.