Our Wellington and Manawatū campuses are open, Auckland remains closed at AL4. More information.

Giresh Kanji

Doctor of Philosophy, (Chronic Pain)
Study Completed: 2013
College of Health


Thesis Title
The Sensory Amplification of Pain: The Adrenaline Model of Headache Causation

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Dr Kanji investigated the cause of tension-type headaches, examining over 600 medical papers and textbooks. Firstly, he developed the Adrenaline Model of Headache Causation, which proposes that stress chemicals released in the brain and spinal cord attach to the sensory switches (thalamus and dorsal horn) and activate pain pathways. Secondly, a randomised control trial, called the Wellington Education and Self-Treatment headache study, was performed to investigate how effective having saunas (as a non-invasive, self-directed treatment that lowers the activity of stress pathways) are at reducing the intensity and duration of chronic tension-type headaches. People who have experienced daily headaches for an average of 13 years had 20 minute saunas three times a week for eight weeks. The results showed statistically significant improvements in the intervention group, with pain intensity reductions of over 40%. Dr Kanji hopes that his research will lead to new approaches to managing chronic pain and headaches.

Associate Professor Rachel Page
Dr Raja Peter