A hypnotising alternative online treatment for migraine

Most-common headache disorder affects 12-15 per cent of Irish people

Migraines may not be the worst in the spectrum of neurological disorders but they are disruptive, painful and costly. While there are medications available which can prevent and relieve the many symptoms of a migraine attack, lying down in a dark quiet room often provides the only real relief for many sufferers.

The most common headache disorder affecting 12-15 per cent of Irish people, migraine costs the Irish economy €252 million as a result of reduced productivity with the average “migraineur” missing between 1.5 and 4.5 days from work annually.

Despite knowing some of the triggers, the cause of migraine is still a mystery in many cases. A migraine attack can last anywhere from four hours to 72 hours and as well as a headache, symptoms can include nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light.

Prevent attacks
Galway sports psychologist and migraine researcher Niamh Flynn explains that many people who suffer from migraine are on prophylactic treatment to prevent attacks. Some of these are heavy-duty medications such as betablockers and anti-epileptic medications which have their own potential side effects and can be very costly.


However, she says there are alternative treatment options available and her PhD research study is currently employing a novel treatment for migraine in the form of an online hypnosis intervention.

The study, conducted by Flynn with senior lecturer in clinical psychology Dr Brian McGuire, begins on April 7th, and applications are being sought from those who satisfy the study criteria available from promigraine.com.

“The purpose of the research is to help migraine sufferers to decrease the severity and frequency of their migraine and to decrease the disability associated with migraine. The research coming out is pretty exciting in terms of hypnosis, it’s much better than it was. With MRI and Pet scans we can see exactly what is happening in the brain during hypnosis and that words can affect what’s happening. We know for sure it’s not a placebo and I am expecting very good results from my research.”

Successful treatment

Flynn has been successfully treating migraine patients with hypnosis in her own practice at the Galway Clinic for some time. As a sports psychologist, she initially began treating sportspeople for exercise-induced migraine, but she now has people coming from all over the country


Participants who are eligible and accepted to take part in the study will be divided into one of two groups. One group will have access to the hypnosis mp3s – which Flynn wrote and recorded herself – during the intervention, while the other group will receive the mp3s two months after the intervention.

"People who suffer from migraines will do anything to try to get relief. I have one man coming from the US and another from the UK for the study. Many migraine sufferers take prophylactic medication to keep their headaches at bay. The idea with the online hypnosis intervention is that you listen to the mp3s when you have no migraine in the same way, to prevent headaches. It will reduce the severity and frequency of migraine for some people and hopefully eliminate them altogether where they are stress-related."

Niamh Flynn has also published a book, ProMigraine , that details the factors which can trigger migraine and a selection of treatment options available .
If you are interested in participating in the study, see promigraine.com or call Niamh Flynn at (086) 8234337 for more details.