Anthroposophic Therapy for Migraine: A Two-Year Prospective Cohort Study in Routine Outpatient Settings

Harald J Hamre*, 1, Claudia M Witt 2, Gunver S Kienle 1, Anja Glockmann 1, Renatus Ziegler 3, Andreas Rivoir 4, Stefan N Willich 2, Helmut Kiene 1
1 Institute for Applied Epistemology and Medical Methodology, Freiburg, Germany
2 Institute for Social Medicine, Epidemiology, and Health Economics, Charité University Medical Center, Berlin, Germany
3 Society for Cancer Research, Arlesheim, Switzerland
4 AnthroMed Öschelbronn, Center for Integrative Medicine, Niefern-Öschelbronn, Germany

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© Hamre et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Institute for Applied Epistemology and Medical Methodology, Zechenweg 6, D-79111 Freiburg, Germany; Tel: +49 761 1560307; Fax: +49 761 1560306; E-mail:


Background and Methods:

Anthroposophic treatment for migraine is provided by physicians and includes special artistic and physical therapies and special medications. We conducted a prospective cohort study of 45 consecutive adult outpatients (89% women) starting anthroposophic treatment for migraine under routine conditions. Main outcomes were Average Migraine Severity (physician and patient ratings 0-10, primary outcome), Symptom Score (patient rating, 0-10), and quality of life (SF-36); main follow-up time point was after six months.


The anthroposophic treatment modalities used were medications (67% of patients), eurythmy therapy (38%), art therapy (18%), and rhythmical massage therapy (13%). Median therapy duration was 105 days. In months 0-6, conventional prophylactic antimigraine medications were used by 14% (n=5/36) of evaluable patients.

From baseline to six-month follow-up, physician-rated Average Migraine Severity improved by 3.14 points (95% confidence interval 2.40-3.87, p<0.001); patient-rated Average Migraine Severity improved by 2.82 points (2.05-3.64, p<0.001); and Symptom Score improved by 2.32 points (1.68-2.95, p<0.001). In addition, three SF-36 scales (Social Functioning, Bodily Pain, Vitality), the SF-36 Physical Component summary measure, and the SF-36 Health Change item improved significantly. All improvements were maintained at last follow-up after 24 months. Patients not using conventional prophylactic antimigraine medications had improvements similar to the whole cohort.


Patients with migraine under anthroposophic treatment had long-term improvement of symptoms and quality of life. Although the pre-post design of the present study does not allow for conclusions about comparative effectiveness, study findings suggest that anthroposophic therapies may be useful in the long-term care of patients with migraine.

Keywords: Anthroposophy, combined modality therapy, drug therapy, eurythmy therapy, migraine, prospective studies.