The efficacy of Kiko exercises on the prevention of migraine headaches: A pilot study

Victor Elinoff, Steven Jay Lynn, Hidy Ochiai, Michael Hallquist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Migraine headaches, a common chronic medical problem, require prophylactic treatment when they are frequent and severe. This is the first study to investigate the efficacy of Kiko, a Japanese practice of Qigong that uses repetitive coordinated breathing and movement as a prophylactic treatment of migraine headaches. This pilot study, a single arm, non-randomized 4-month trial, investigated whether 3 months of Kiko training would reduce the severity and/or frequency of migraine and/or MIDAS scores. The baseline migraine data were collected from participants in the first month and then participants were taught Kiko exercises in 3 monthly sessions. Participants practiced at home and had the opportunity to utilize a Kiko DVD. The participants were instructed by Washin-Ryu style martial arts Master, Hidy Ochiai. Subjects completed monthly diaries that recorded the frequency and severity of their migraines, as well as the frequency and duration of their home Kiko practice. Six of the original 13 subjects completed the trial. All the individuals who completed the study had measurable improvement in their migraines. All participants reported a positive experience in learning the technique, and there were no reported adverse effects. Although the results of this study need to be confirmed in a larger clinical trial with adequate controls for placebo effects, these preliminary results are consistent with other trials that have documented the potential benefits of mind-body practices in controlling symptoms and improving the quality of life of patients suffering from chronic medical illness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)459-470
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Chinese Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Complementary and alternative medicine

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