Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Migraine - Let's Make it a Headache for Everyone

Over the past thirty years or so there have been a number of studies as to whether hypnotherapy (and particularly self-hypnosis) can help people who suffer from migraine headaches - and over and over again researchers have concluded that those techniques can greatly reduce the incidence and severity of migraine headaches.

Back in the 1970's, for example, a study by Anderson, Basker and Dalton compared the treatment of migraine by hypnosis and self-hypnosis with the treatment of migraine by use of the drug prochlorperazine - 'Stemetil'.  The trial revealed that the number of attacks - and the number of people who suffered blinding attacks - were significantly lower for the group receiving hypnotherapy than for the group receiving the drug.  In fact ten out of the twenty-three people in the hypnotherapy group achieved complete remission during the last three months of the trial, compared to only three people out of the twenty-four in the group using the drug.

Admittedly, the number of studies into using hypnotherapy to deal with migraine headaches is much smaller than those concentrating on, for example, asthma, but there have been enough of them that have been consistently encouraging to suggest that many migraine sufferers could benefit from hypnotherapy and learning to use hypnosis themselves.

So why aren't they?

Primarily it's because very few doctors in general practice learn to use hypnosis - and those that do don't have the time to use it - so it isn't widely available on the NHS.  Some doctors will certainly recommend hypnosis under private health schemes - but not everybody has a private health scheme.  Secondly, of course, hypnotherapy doesn't have access to the sort of funding that is available to pharmaceutical companies - to say nothing of the effort that is put into promoting pharmaceutical products and selling them.

So in general medication is what most people who suffer from migraine headaches are offered - and that's what they are going to continue to be offered unless they demand something else.

If you or someone close to you suffers from migraine headaches, ask about hypnosis  - and show that you know about it.  Quote Anderson, Basker and Dalton.  Or Olness, Karen & McDonald, who proved (as long ago as 1960!) that self-hypnosis could help children who were not responding well to medication.

Ordinary people can change things!

Bill -

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