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Effect of autogenic training with cognitive and symbol therapy on the treatment of headache

24 Apr

Hungarian researchers find that the popular European technique of Autogenic Training is helpful in all three kinds of headache: migraine, tension, and a combination of the two.

Hungarian researchers investigated the effects of auto-suggestion, using cognitive and symbol therapy elements with auto-suggestion, on three kinds of headache (migraine, tension and combined). The assumption was that since headache is prolonged and exacerbated by depression and anxiety, and these conditions are ameliorated by autosuggestion, that this technique could be valuable for relieving headache for multiple reasons.

Twenty five female patients with migraine, tension-type headache or mixed headache participated in an eight-month follow-up study. Headache frequency, analgesic, antimigraine and anxiolytic drug consumption were measured by means of a headache diary.

During the first four months (observation phase) patients became familiar with using the diary, and in the second four months they participated in learning and using the autogenic training. The data of the second, third and fourth months were considered as baseline data.

The autogenic method decreased headache frequency and drug consumption in all three headache groups. The researchers conclude that the cognitive and symbol therapy enhanced autogenic training is an effective alternative for medications in the treatment of primary headaches.

Citation: Zsombok T, Juhasz G, Gonda X, Vitrai J, Bagdy G. [Effect of autogenic training with cognitive and symbol therapy on the treatment of patients with primary headache] Psychiatr Hung. 2005; 20 (1): pages 25-34.
Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award