Results of Hypnotherapy for Migraine pilot study

The Migraine News, an e-letter put out by the National Migraine Centre, had this piece in its November 2013 edition:

Research Update

Hypnotherapy trial

Some of you participated last year in a trial using hypnotherapy to help with migraine. In total there were 26 participants, three on a one-to-one basis and 23 in groups of seven or eight. We asked for detailed feedback from the participants at the end of the five sessions and then three months and six months later, so we have only recently received the final outcome measures, and would like to thank all those who responded.

The final outcome was very encouraging. Using HIT-6 (a Headache Impact Test score) there was an average improvement of 3.7, 5.2 and 3.7 points at the end of treatment, three months and six months later respectively, a statistically significant result. There was also positive feedback on the use of a group for treatment as participants gained support from sharing their situation with others.

During the five sessions participants learned a number of different self-help techniques, the most fundamental being self-hypnosis. Participants were asked to rate how useful the different techniques were and the majority found self-hypnosis to be the most helpful. However, each person is different and we were expecting that any one technique would appeal to some participants but not all. This proved to be the case. Hypnotic self-help techniques included dissociation, master control room imagery and symptom imagery. There were also some techniques for reducing stress, a common contributory factor for migraine, and for avoiding triggers.

Although there was a considerable variation in the effect on participants only one person would not recommend hypnotherapy to another migraineur, so we are continuing to look for sources of funding to carry out a larger trial. In the meantime, anybody who wants to experience self-hypnosis can do so if they have an iPhone or iPad. Patrick Browning, the clinical hypnotherapist who conducted the trial, has created an app, which you can download for free. Go to the Apple App Store and search on Patrick Browning. Within the app there is a further session (short title “migraine”) offering dissociation imagery, and in future there will be other sessions of interest to people with migraine. See also for more information.

Third series now launched!

Ten new in-app sessions have now been added, so I look forward to seeing the response from users. Please contact me with any queries or comments and do put a review on Apple if you think it would encourage other users. A recent exchange with a user who has benefited from using self-hypnosis has been added to the Apps page on this website so do have a look if you have not already seen it.

Third series coming soon

In addition to those listed in a previous post the next launch will include:

  • Tamoxifen and hot flushes. Very topical with the recent news that some women with breast cancer are stopping taking their Tamoxifen due to adverse side effects.
  • IBS daily practice. People with IBS often find that spending a few minutes each day in self-hypnosis and giving themselves positive suggestions can be very helpful. My other apps for IBS are rather long for daily use so this app is shorter and so more likely to be used on a daily basis.