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Thomas M. Ledoux is a 2015 graduate of the PsyD Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, New England

Dissertation Committee

Victor Pantesco, EdD, Committee Chair
Inna Khazan, PhD, Committee Member
Catherine Schuman, PhD, Committee Member

Document Type

Dissertation

Publication Date

2015

Abstract

This dissertation assessed the role of heart rate variability (HRV) in the treatment of migraine headaches. The extent of this relationship was measured through a 12-session HRV biofeedback protocol to increase HRV and decrease migraine frequency through resonance frequency breathing (RFB) training. This project used a single-case design methodology to analyze phase changes in physiological variables with a specific focus on changes in HRV and migraine symptoms from baseline to completion of the biofeedback protocol. The prevalence of migraine headaches is discussed, the history of biofeedback as an intervention for migraine is reviewed, and the rationale for the relationship between HRV and somatic symptoms is presented. Conceptual frameworks for biofeedback provide rationale for the intervention. The study reviews the participant’s history of migraine symptoms, phase changes throughout the protocol, and changes in migraine symptoms during the follow-up phase. Overall, the study did not find a strong relationship between HRV and migraine symptoms. The participant’s migraine frequency decreased throughout the protocol without a significant phase change in HRV. There were observed phase changes in other physiological variables consistent with increased autonomic regulation. Overall, the HRV biofeedback protocol did have a positive impact on migraine symptoms without a significant phase change in HRV.

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