A regular upper-body massage could be the key to reducing migraine attacks, an Auckland University study has found.
Research by doctoral student Sheleigh Lawler shows people who had a 45-minute massage once a week experienced fewer migraines than a control group.
Ms Lawler, who works in the university's psychology department, is now extending her research to see whether the addition of individual massage plans to a standard massage will help further reduce attacks.
Forty-seven migraine sufferers took part in the first study. Half the group received a 45-minute massage of the upper body and head region once a week for six weeks, in addition to their standard medication.
The control group continued their normal treatment.
The study found that in the four weeks before beginning the massage (developed by the New Zealand College of Massage), both groups experienced a similar number of migraines.
But six weeks after the massage treatment, the group receiving the massage suffered an average 3.5 migraines a month compared to 5.5 for the control group.
Those receiving the massage also appeared not to need to take medication as often.
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