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

Migraine and Meditation

Armin Keller1 • Bianca Meyer1 • Hans-Georg Wo ̈hlbier1 • Claudia Helene Overath2 • Peter Kropp1
Characteristics of Cortical Activity and Stress Coping in Migraine Patients, Meditators and Healthy Controls—An Exploratory Cross-Sectional Study

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.


The following people took part in the study:

  • 45 meditation experienced subjects
  • 46 migraine patient
  • 46 healthy controls

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.