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April 1976

Biofeedback Therapy for Migraine Headaches

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychology, University of Rochester (NY). Dr Johnson is now with the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1976;33(4):517-519. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1976.01770040077013

• We studied the biofeedback treatment of migraine headaches, attempting to control for some of the methodological limitations of previous work. Seven individuals suffering from migraine headache were trained in the usual finger warming procedure with the omission of autogenic phrases. Additionally, to control for placebo-expectancy effects, three of these subjects received training in finger cooling prior to warming.

With training in finger warming, headache activity was substantially reduced. In contrast, headache activity either remained at base line levels or increased during training in cooling despite positive therapeutic expectations. The results of this study indicate that finger temperature warming, without autogenic training, is effective in reducing migraine activity, independent of suggestion effects.