Researchers have developed a smartphone-based relaxation technique which reduces headache in people who are suffering from migraine. The RELAXaHEAD app guides patients through progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) — a type of behavioural therapy in which patients alternately relax and tense different muscle groups to reduce stress. The study, published in the journal Nature Digital Medicine, evaluated the clinical effectiveness of an app for treating migraine and adding an app to standard therapies such as oral medications under the supervision of a doctor.
“Our study offers evidence that patients may pursue behavioural therapy if it is easily accessible, they can do it on their own time and it is affordable,” said Mia Minen, Assistant Professor at the New York University. “Clinicians need to rethink their treatment approach to migraine because many of the accepted therapies, although proven to be the current, best course of treatment, aren’t working for all lifestyles,” Minen said. To see if an app might increase compliance, the research team analysed app use by 51 migraine patients, all of whom owned smartphones.