Just heard from a colleague today at the University of Sydney who also suffers from MAV. I was the one who gave her a dx after she had searched for years. She overheard me one day talking about MAV and asked what it was. I then listened to her and BINGO, she was textbook material. Saw the doc who confirmed it and then was given drugs – sodium valproate.
So I left the uni months ago and hadn’t spoken to her since. Today an email arrives and she is drug-free but started doing a meditation course called sahaja yoga meditation (there’s no yoga in it) 2 months ago. Since then her life has turned around. Not 100% migraine free but no longer requires drugs. She does the meditation daily.
With that a paper came out on this exact meditation type in March – a well-designed RCT. I’ll post the paper later but you can check it out here for an abstract:
Scott, is it possible that the meds had got your friend’s MAV to a manageable level? Even if not, in two month’s time she could just be in remission. Or, the meditation may very well have helped, particularly if anxiety was a big feature of her MAV. It’s pretty well established that most types of meditation and/or relaxation techniques are good for that.
The Sahaja people, not surprisingly, claim a whole lot more. Cleansing of ‘clogged’ chakras and the ability to ‘cure’ all manner of things including epilespsy, ashthma, diabetes, cancer and schizophrenia. They do various ‘cleansing’ techniques which (again among other things) can apparantly ‘change the characteristics’ of water. I don’t know if the following quote is your language or your friend’s but it has the ring of ‘miracle cure’ and ‘convert’ about it. Red flags. — Begin quote from "scott"
Since then her life has turned around. Not 100% migraine free but no longer requires drugs.
Some great comments as usual from the skeptics! :lol:
Wino, I haven’t thrown my foot pads away. They’re like crack for me.
David, yeah, interesting how the meditation group did better than just the relaxation group. I always assumed meditation was really just about relaxation. Looks like it could be more about relaxing AND switching off your brain from the non-stop monologue that has a greater impact.
Vic – yup, it comes packaged with enough woo to sink the Titanic but I think the idea is to forget all of that horse shit and just get into the meditation part and leave your chakras in the closet.
It is possible she’s in a remission but I know her history quite well and the only time she has had periods of being migraine free are when she is on a holiday – relaxed. My guess is stress is her main trigger and not much else. She has lowered it and learned to not react to daily crap. She was never on valproate continuously but only for short hits. It worked to some degree but not brilliantly.
Does anyone else have this phenomenon: there are times when I seem to be able to ‘think myself’ into a heightened MAV state, for example, if I close my eyes and imagine a design pattern moving around and around in a circle, I will become very dizzy. Similarly, certain songs with repeating riffs will make me kind of dizzy and if I sing them to myself with my eyes closed they will make me dizzy. In other words, I seem to be able to voluntarily induce dizziness by putting an object before my mind in the same way that I get dizzy when a moving object is placed before my mind against my will, such as when watching, say, CNN news, and they have the camera spinning around.
Well, if this is the case, then it follows that the reverse should be true. In other words, if you can increase MAV with your mind, then you can decrease MAV with your mind. Or at least, you can decrease that portion of MAV that is generated by internal stimuli.
Unfortunately, I’ve tried mindful meditation this Spring, and while I liked it, and I enjoy meditation, it didn’t lessen my MAV. So maybe my theory is wrong!
At the APA conference just ended, a couple of the presentations–paper/colloquium, not poster–talked about using meditation, e.g. for improving cognitive function in the elderly. Sounded as though the results were pretty much the same in terms of effect size whether the meditation taught involved slowing your breath, noticing your body moment-by-moment (mindfulness), or making specific noises and waving your hands in a prescribed pattern (kirtan kriya, that one was called).