Migraine: A History

foxhall_cover_finalKatherine Foxhall, Migraine: A History (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2019). ISBN 9781421429489

Migraine reveals the ideas and methods that ordinary people and medical professionals have used to describe, explain and treat migraine since the Middle Ages. Touching on classical theories of humoral disturbance and medieval bloodletting, Migraine also describes early modern herbal remedies, the emergence of neurology, and evolving practices of therapeutic experimentation.

Migraine is available to order now (US and worldwide) from Johns Hopkins University Press (US). In the UK and Europe distribution is by Wiley, and Migraine is available for pre-order from independent and online booksellers.

For publicity and media/review copy enquiries (UK and Europe) please contact The Oxford Publicity Partnership Ltd. Email gary.hall@oppuk.co.uk.

For US and worldwide enquiries contact Kathryn Marguy at Johns Hopkins University Press.


A Q&A about the book is available here.


Excerpts and Short Pieces from Migraine.

How to Make Worm Paste: Treating Migraine in the 1600sMigraine Again (15 April 2019).

Migraine in Medieval Thought and Practice: An Imbalance of the HumoursMigraine Again (3 April 2019).

Migraine Myth: Drilling holes in the skull was never a migraine cure – but it was long thought to be.  The Independent (13 March 2018) / The Conversation (6 March 2018).

Following Valerian: New Name, Old Idea. The Recipes Project. (30 January 2018).


Advance Reviews for Migraine: A History

“The most comprehensive, well-researched, and in-depth history of migraine in existence” – Joanna Kempner, author of Not Tonight: Migraine and the Politics of Gender and Health

“Despite being recognised since time immemorial, migraine continues to elude a ‘cure.’ In her eloquent book, Katherine Foxhall looks at migraine’s past with the eyes of the present, providing a fascinating insight into how societal changes have affected the perception of this condition and the impact that has had on management. “ – Anne MacGregor, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, author of Understanding Migraine and Other Headaches

“In her meticulously researched book, Katherine Foxhall offers a sensitive and humane account of a common condition: migraine. Wide-ranging in terms of its sources and covering a generous timespan, it significantly enhances our understanding of medical theories and treatments in both past and present, gives weight to patient experiences, and demonstrates the valuable contributions historians can make to contemporary debates about suffering and pain.” – Ludmilla Jordanova, Durham University, author of The Look of the Past: Visual And Material Evidence In Historical Practice.