Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback (2016) 41:307–313 DOI 10.1007/s10484-016-9334-0

Migraine and Meditation: Characteristics of Cortical Activity and Stress Coping in Migraine Patients, Meditators and Healthy Controls—An Exploratory Cross-Sectional Study

Armin Keller1 • Bianca Meyer1 • Hans-Georg Wo ̈hlbier1 • Claudia Helene Overath2 • Peter Kropp1

Abstract 

The aim of this exploratory cross-sectional study was to investigate the characteristics of cortical activity and stress coping in migraine patients, meditation experienced subjects, and healthy controls. 45 meditation experienced subjects, 46 migraine patients, and 46 healthy controls took part in the study. Cortical activity was measured with the contingent negative variation (CNV), a slow cortical event- related potential. Stress coping was examined with the standardized Stress Coping Questionnaire SVF-78. A one- way analysis of variance was used to investigate possible differences between the groups. CNV-amplitude was sig- nificantly higher in migraineurs than in controls. The medi- tators showed significantly lowest amplitudes. Migraine patients used negative stress-coping strategies significantly more often than meditators and healthy controls. Especially the application of the strategy ‘‘rumination’’ was most fre- quent in migraine patients and least frequent in meditators. Moreover, frequent rumination was significantly correlated with high CNV-amplitudes. Cortical and stress processing in people with meditation experience was improved compared to migraine patients and healthy controls.