Some twelve percent of Americans suffer with migraines, a debilitating and recurring type of headache. Women suffer with migraines at three times the frequency as men.  Often, a migraine is painful on only one side of the head and is accompanied by nausea, weakness, and severe sensitivity to light, sounds, and odors. People who suffer from migraines often have a family history of the condition. Medical, physical, or environmental factors may also lead to migraines, such as epilepsy, certain types of medicine, tobacco usage, caffeine intake, hormone changes, medication overuse, food additives, and over-exertion. However, because a number of behavioral causes exists, hypnotherapy offers an effective treatment to lessen or eliminate migraine pain.

Behavioral factors precipitating migraines include stress, anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, diet, bodily reactions to changes in the weather, and responses to bright lights, loud sounds or strong smells. Many of these particular causes are addressed in other sections.  Hypnotherapy can resolve these particular causes directly, thereby lessening or totally eliminating migraines. Studies have repeatedly shown that hypnotherapy is much more successful in treating migraines than medication, and, of course, it comes without the concerns associated with side effects of drugs.

Often, a person who regularly experiences migraines can anticipate when one is approaching. The first stage in the migraine headache process is known as the prodome, which happens within the preceding twenty-four hours before the onset of the full headache. Some characteristics of the prodome are food cravings, mood changes, and yawning. The second stage of the migraine, the aura, occurs just before or during the migraine. During the aura, migraine sufferers may experience flashing or bright lights or zig-zag lines in their vision. They may become physically weaker and highly sensitive to touch. 

Stage three is the headache itself, characterized by throbbing pain, nausea or vomiting, and increased sensitivity to light, sounds, and odors. Sometimes the migraine actually exists without a headache, but for most, the headache is one of the worst parts. In stage four, or the postdrome, the pain has passed, but the sufferer is left exhausted, weak, and confused. The postdrome can last up to a full day.

Migraine headaches can be debilitating, and often those who suffer regularly with migraines live not only in fear and anticipation, but also in the worry of the interruption to normal life that accompanies pain and other challenges of a migraine.

Hypnotherapy is very effective in rapidly addressing conditions that cause migraines, providing tools to the individual to lessen or eliminate migraines altogether. In one case study, a woman had suffered migraines for fifteen years. In eight sessions her condition was greatly improved, and ten months later she reported that she was no longer experiencing migraines. Using self-hypnosis, she was able to continue her success after therapy sessions had ended.

Before hypnotherapy begins, therapist will first confirm what, if any, physical causes are creating the condition.  No therapist wants to take steps that mask a serious problem. Once the sessions begin, the hypnotherapist works to gain an understanding of the behavioral factors that may be contributing to the onset of migraines. With the client, the therapist will develop plans to address these factors as part of the therapy. The therapy will include hypnosis, which allows for the mastering of the problems at the Middle Mind, or subconscious, level. The therapist will use specialized techniques to help the client better relax and respond preemptively to the onset of a migraine.

Since many sufferers have the advantage of sensing its onset, hypnotherapists can offer tools to help them avoid the migraine all together. The hypnotherapist can also train the client in self-hypnosis to apply and reinforce the gains made during the original hypnotherapy. Applying self-hypnosis is effective not only for adults, but also for children and adolescents who suffer with migraines. Many times, migraines can be completely avoided, but even if a migraine starts, hypnotherapy offers effective tools to lessen the pain and diminish the other issues that come with the headache. As with all hypnotherapy, the goal is that all progress will remain permanent. Whether or not a person has recently started having migraines or has been suffering with them for years, there is no time like the present to get relief. And that relief comes with hypnosis-based therapy.