How a Chronic Headache Condition Became Resolved with One Session of Breathing and Posture Coaching

  • Erik Peper San Francisco State University
  • April Covell San Francisco State University
  • Nicole Matzembacker San Francisco State University
Keywords: headache, breathing, posture, awareness, electromyography


This case example reports how a 32-year-old female student with chronic headaches since age 18 became headache-free after one session of breathing and posture coaching. She self-medicated and took between 2 and 10 Excedrin tablets per week. The class coaching session focused on shifting her habitual thoracic breathing to slower lower abdominal diaphragmatic breathing and posture retraining. While working at the computer, she used an app installed on her computer that provided visual and auditory feedback each time she slouched. She used the app 2–6 hours per day for 2 weeks, and each time in response to the slouching feedback she sat up erect and breathed slower and lower. After the first coaching session and for the following 14 weeks, she has been headache-free and not used any medications. After implementing breathing and posture changes, she also reported significant reduction in shoulder pain, back pain, depression, anxiety, and improvement in motivation. We recommend that when college students report headaches, anxiety, and gastrointestinal distress that they are first offered self-mastery interventions.

Author Biography

Erik Peper, San Francisco State University
Professor Institute for Holistic Health Studies Department of Health Education


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