Improve Mindfulness Treatment Outcomes with Home Practice

Improve Mindfulness Treatment Outcomes with Home Practice

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

 “An average course student practices 30 minutes daily at home, but the good news is that nevertheless, this practice is related to positive benefit. This can be measured as reduced stress, pain, better well-being and so on.” – Science Daily

 

Over the last several decades, research and anecdotal experiences have accumulated an impressive evidential case that the development of mindfulness has positive benefits for the individual’s mental, physical, and spiritual life. Mindfulness appears to be beneficial both for healthy people and for people suffering from a myriad of illnesses. It appears to be beneficial across ages, from children to the elderly. And it appears to be beneficial across genders, personalities, race, and ethnicity. The breadth and depth of benefits is unprecedented. There is no other treatment or practice that has been shown to come anyway near the range of mindfulness’ positive benefits.

 

With impacts so great it is important to know how to optimize the development of mindfulness. Most forms of training require or strongly suggest that the participants practice at home. It is not established, however, how important this home practice is to the beneficial outcomes of mindfulness practice. In today’s Research News article “The Utility of Home-Practice in Mindfulness-Based Group Interventions: A Systematic Review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5968057/ ),  Lloyd and colleagues reviewed and summarized the published research literature on the benefits of home practice in association with Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT).

 

They found 14 controlled studies, 8 of which employed MBSR and 6 employed MBCT treating a total of 725 participants. All of these studies used self-report measures of home practice that varied considerably in technique and variables measured. MBSR and MBCT trainings require home practice of 45 minutes per day for 6 days a week (270 minutes). They report that the studies found that actual home practice varied considerably from study to study ranging from 15% to 88% of the recommended amount. The results reported on the impact of home practice on clinical and non-clinical outcome measures were mixed partially due the wide differences in reporting techniques, analyses reported and procedures. Of the 14 reviewed studies only 7 examined the relationship between home-practice and clinical outcomes, of these 4 found that home-practice predicted small but significant improvements on clinical outcome measures.

 

Hence, there are indications suggesting that home practice may be useful for improving the clinical outcomes of mindfulness training. But, the research is so widely different that it is impossible to reach firm conclusions. There is a great need for more attention to the topic employing more standardized assessment techniques. It is important to establish what are the necessary components of practice to produce benefits. The reviewed studies suggest that home practice may be beneficial. This should help in the future in better delineating and refining the most beneficial training techniques.

 

So, improve mindfulness treatment outcomes with home practice.

 

“mindfulness home practice may have a small but positive effect on treatment outcomes, however the strength of this association was not found to depend on the length of time people spent practicing.” – Elena Marcus

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

Lloyd, A., White, R., Eames, C., & Crane, R. (2018). The Utility of Home-Practice in Mindfulness-Based Group Interventions: A Systematic Review. Mindfulness, 9(3), 673–692. http://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-017-0813-z

 

Abstract

A growing body of research supports the efficacy of mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs). MBIs consider home-practice as essential to increasing the therapeutic effects of the treatment. To date however, the synthesis of the research conducted on the role of home-practice in controlled MBI studies has been a neglected area. This review aimed to conduct a narrative synthesis of published controlled studies, evaluating mindfulness-based group interventions, which have specifically measured home-practice. Empirical research literature published until June 2016 was searched using five databases. The search strategy focused on mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), and home-practice. Included studies met the following criteria: controlled trials, participants 18 years and above, evaluations of MBSR or MBCT, utilised standardised quantitative outcome measures and monitored home-practice using a self-reported measure. Fourteen studies met the criteria and were included in the review. Across all studies, there was heterogeneity in the guidance and resources provided to participants and the approaches used for monitoring home-practice. In addition, the guidance on the length of home-practice was variable across studies, which indicates that research studies and teachers are not adhering to the published protocols. Finally, only seven studies examined the relationship between home-practice and clinical outcomes, of which four found that home-practice predicted improvements on clinical outcome measures. Future research should adopt a standardised approach for monitoring home-practice across MBIs. Additionally, studies should assess whether the amount of home-practice recommended to participants is in line with MBSR/MBCT manualised protocols. Finally, research should utilise experimental methodologies to explicitly explore the relationship between home-practice and clinical outcomes.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5968057/

 

Improve Quality of Life in Cancer Patients with Mindfulness

Improve Quality of Life in Cancer Patients with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Results show promise for mindfulness-based interventions to treat common psychological problems such as anxiety, stress, and depression in cancer survivors and to improve overall quality of life.” — Linda E. Carlson

 

Receiving a diagnosis of cancer has a huge impact on most people. Feelings of depression, anxiety, and fear are very common and are normal responses to this life-changing and potentially life-ending experience. But cancer diagnosis is not necessarily a death sentence. Over half of the people diagnosed with cancer are still alive 10 years later and this number is rapidly increasing. But, surviving cancer carries with it a number of problems. Insomnia is a common occurrence in the aftermath of surviving breast cancer.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to help with cancer recovery and help to alleviate many of the residual physical and psychological symptoms, including stress,  sleep disturbance, and anxiety and depression. But, most research is with western populations and there are very few that study the effectiveness of mindfulness training with Asian populations.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of a Mindfulness Meditation Program on Quality of Life in Cancer Outpatients: An Exploratory Study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6041936/ ), Chang and colleagues recruited Taiwanese outpatient cancer patients and separated them into a usual care group and a mindfulness meditation group. Mindfulness meditation was taught in once a month for 3 months 2.5-hour sessions focusing on sitting insight meditation. The participants were expected to practice at home daily. They were measured before and after training and 3 month later for quality of life, including subscales for physical health, psychological health, social relationships, and environment.

 

They found that the mindfulness meditation group had significant improvements in their quality of life including all 4 subscales while the usual care group did not. These improvements in quality of life were sustained 3 months later. These results are similar to previously reported improvements in quality of life in cancer patients produced by mindfulness training. But, these findings extend these to include oriental populations. Hence mindfulness training appears to be a safe and effective treatment to improve the well-being and relieve the suffering of patients from all over the world with various forms of cancer.

 

So, improve quality of life in cancer patients with Mindfulness.

 

“mindfulness-based meditation can help ease the stress, anxiety, fear, and depression that often come along with a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.” – BreastCancer,org

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

Chang, Y.-Y., Wang, L.-Y., Liu, C.-Y., Chien, T.-J., Chen, I.-J., & Hsu, C.-H. (2018). The Effects of a Mindfulness Meditation Program on Quality of Life in Cancer Outpatients: An Exploratory Study. Integrative Cancer Therapies, 17(2), 363–370. http://doi.org/10.1177/1534735417693359

 

Abstract

Objective. Numerous studies have investigated the efficacy of mindfulness meditation (MM) in managing quality of life (QoL) in cancer populations, yet only a few have studied the Asian population. The aim of this exploratory study is to evaluate the effect of a MM program on the QoL outcomes in Taiwanese cancer outpatients. Methods. Patients with various cancer diagnoses were enrolled and assigned to the MM group and usual care (UC) group. The meditation intervention consisted of 3 sessions held monthly. The outcomes of the whole intervention were measured using the World Health Organization Quality of Life (WHOQOL-BREF) instrument. Results. A total of 35 participants in the MM group and 34 in the UC group completed the study. The results showed that the postintervention scores were significantly higher than the preintervention scores in the MM group. In the UC group, there was no significant difference between preintervention and postintervention scores, except for the lower environment domain scores. There was no significant difference between the follow-up scores and postintervention scores in the MM group, indicating that improvement can be maintained for 3 months after completing the MM course. Conclusions. The present study provides preliminary outcomes of the effects on the QoL in Taiwanese cancer patients. The results suggest that MM may serve as an effective mind–body intervention for cancer patients to improve their QoL, and the benefits can persist over a 3-month follow-up period. This occurred in a diverse cancer population with various cancer diagnoses, strengthening the possibility of general use.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6041936/

 

Improve Chronic Conditions with Mindfulness Taught over the Internet

Improve Chronic Conditions with Mindfulness Taught over the Internet

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“It’s important for people living with health conditions to recognize what they are feeling, instead of trying to push painful thoughts and emotions away, which can actually amplify them. For those living with serious medical conditions, mindfulness can help them accept and respond to difficult feelings, including fear, loneliness and sadness. By bringing mindfulness to emotions (and the thoughts that may underlie them), we can begin to see them more clearly and recognize that they are temporary.” – Shauna Shapiro

 

Mindfulness training has been shown through extensive research to be effective in improving physical and psychological health and particularly with the physical and psychological reactions to stress. The vast majority of the mindfulness training techniques, however, require a certified trained therapist. This results in costs that many clients can’t afford. In addition, the participants must be available to attend multiple sessions at particular scheduled times that may or may not be compatible with their busy schedules and at locations that may not be convenient. This makes delivery to individuals in remote locations nearly impossible.

 

As an alternative, applications over the internet and on smartphones have been developed. These have tremendous advantages in decreasing costs, making training schedules much more flexible, eliminating the need to go repeatedly to specific locations, and being available to patients in remote areas. But, the question arises as to the level of compliance with the training and the effectiveness of these internet applications in inducing mindfulness and improving physical and psychological health in chronically ill patients.

 

In today’s Research News article “Digital Characteristics and Dissemination Indicators to Optimize Delivery of Internet-Supported Mindfulness-Based Interventions for People With a Chronic Condition: Systematic Review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6107686/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6123540/  ), Russell and colleagues review and summarize the published research literature on the effectiveness of internet based mindfulness training programs for the treatment of patients with chronic diseases. They identified 10 randomized controlled studies that contained a control group where mindfulness training was performed over the internet. The patients were afflicted with chronic pain in 3 of the studies, and in single studies with fibromyalgia, heart disease, cancer post-treatment, anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder, residual depressive symptoms, and psychosis.

 

They found that internet-based mindfulness interventions in general had significant beneficial effects that improved patient functioning in comparison to the control groups. Half of the studies reported follow-up measurements that reflected persisting benefits. They noted that when measured participant adherence to the programs was in general low.

 

Hence, it appears that internet-based mindfulness interventions are safe and effective treatments for the well-being of patients with chronic diseases. This is potentially very important as these interventions can be administered inexpensively, conveniently, and to large numbers of patients regardless of their locations, greatly increasing the impact of the treatments.

 

There are some caveats. The majority of the participants by far were women and there was no study that compared the efficacy of the internet-based intervention to the comparable face-to-face intervention or another treatment. So, it was recommended that future studies include more males and a comparison to another treatment.

 

So, improve chronic conditions with mindfulness taught over the internet.

 

“MBSR programs might not reverse underlying chronic disease, but they can make it easier to cope with symptoms, improve overall well-being and quality of life and improve health outcomes.” – Monika Merkes

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

Russell, L., Ugalde, A., Milne, D., Austin, D., & Livingston, P. M. (2018). Digital Characteristics and Dissemination Indicators to Optimize Delivery of Internet-Supported Mindfulness-Based Interventions for People With a Chronic Condition: Systematic Review. JMIR Mental Health, 5(3), e53. http://doi.org/10.2196/mental.9645

 

Abstract

Background

Internet-supported mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) are increasingly being used to support people with a chronic condition. Characteristics of MBIs vary greatly in their mode of delivery, communication patterns, level of facilitator involvement, intervention period, and resource intensity, making it difficult to compare how individual digital features may optimize intervention adherence and outcomes.

Objective

The aims of this review were to (1) provide a description of digital characteristics of internet-supported MBIs and examine how these relate to evidence for efficacy and adherence to the intervention and (2) gain insights into the type of information available to inform translation of internet-supported MBIs to applied settings.

Methods

MEDLINE Complete, PsycINFO, and CINAHL databases were searched for studies assessing an MBI delivered or accessed via the internet and engaging participants in daily mindfulness-based activities such as mindfulness meditations and informal mindfulness practices. Only studies using a comparison group of alternative interventions (active compactor), usual care, or wait-list were included. Given the broad definition of chronic conditions, specific conditions were not included in the original search to maximize results. The search resulted in 958 articles, from which 11 articles describing 10 interventions met the inclusion criteria.

Results

Internet-supported MBIs were more effective than usual care or wait-list groups, and self-guided interventions were as effective as facilitator-guided interventions. Findings were informed mainly by female participants. Adherence to interventions was inconsistently defined and prevented robust comparison between studies. Reporting of factors associated with intervention dissemination, such as population representativeness, program adoption and maintenance, and costs, was rare.

Conclusions

More comprehensive descriptions of digital characteristics need to be reported to further our understanding of features that may influence engagement and behavior change and to improve the reproducibility of MBIs. Gender differences in determinants and patterns of health behavior should be taken into account at the intervention design stage to accommodate male and female preferences. Future research could compare MBIs with established evidence-based therapies to identify the population groups that would benefit most from internet-supported programs.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6123540/

 

Improve Physical and Mental Health in Obesity with Dieting and Yoga Practice

Improve Physical and Mental Health in Obesity with Dieting and Yoga Practice

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

The mental component of yoga—the deep breathing, positive meditation and awareness—can boost confidence for people of all waistlines. “Yoga helps give you insight, and perhaps that insight can help you make better choices and eliminate negative self-talk.” – Abby Lentz

 

Obesity has become an epidemic in the industrialized world. In the U.S. the incidence of obesity, has more than doubled over the last 35 years to currently around 35% of the population, while two thirds of the population are considered overweight or obese (Body Mass Index; BMI > 25). Although the incidence rates have appeared to stabilize, the fact that over a third of the population is considered obese is very troubling. This is because of the health consequences of obesity. Obesity has been found to shorten life expectancy by eight years and extreme obesity by 14 years. This occurs because obesity is associated with cardiovascular problems such as coronary heart disease and hypertension, stroke, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and others.

 

Obviously, there is a need for effective treatments to prevent or treat obesity. But, despite copious research and a myriad of dietary and exercise programs, there still is no safe and effective treatment. Mindfulness is known to be associated with lower risk for obesityalter eating behavior and improve health in obesity. This suggests that mindfulness training may be an effective treatment for overeating and obesity alone or in combination with other therapies. Yoga practice has been shown to have a myriad of physical and psychological benefits. These include significant loss in weight and body mass index (BMI), resting metabolism, and body fat in obese women with Type 2 diabetesreduce weight and improve health in the obese. Hence it would seem reasonable to investigate the benefits of yoga in combination with a dietary plan on the weight and body composition of the obese.

 

In today’s Research News article “Twelve Weeks of Yoga or Nutritional Advice for Centrally Obese Adult Females.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6107686/ ), Telles and colleagues recruited overweight and obese women (BMI>25) and randomly assigned them to either practice yoga or receive nutrition education. Yoga was practiced for 75 minutes, 3 days per week for 12 weeks and consisted of postures, breathing exercises, meditation, and relaxation. Nutrition education occurred for 45 minutes, once a week for 12 weeks. Both groups also were placed on a vegetarian dietary plan consisting in 1900-2000 Kcal per day. Participants were measured before and after training for body size, food intake, physical activity, and quality of life and plasma levels of fats.

 

Both groups saw improvements in body size including reductions in waist circumference, sagittal abdominal diameter, hip circumference, BMI, body shape index, conicity index, abdominal volume index, and body roundness index. Hence, the diet was successful in reducing body size. The groups also showed significant decreases in plasma total cholesterol, and increases in general self-esteem, and total quality of life. The yoga group, however, had a significantly greater reduction in body shape index, and plasma total cholesterol and very low density lipoproteins (VLDL). They found that the women between the ages of 30 to 45 years who practiced yoga had the greatest benefits while there was little benefit in the nutritional education group. For the women between the ages of 46 to 59 years both groups showed comparable benefits.

 

These results suggest that overweight and obese women who are dieting show significant improvements in body size, blood fats, and quality of life regardless of whether they receive additional yoga practice or nutritional education, with yoga practice producing slightly better results. But, yoga practice has significantly greater effectiveness for the younger women. This suggests that yoga practice is an effective treatment in combination with dieting for the improvement of obese women’s body size, plasma characteristics, and quality of life, particularly for women between the ages of 30-45 years. This is important as the combination of yoga practice and dieting may be an effective strategy to improve the health and well-being of overweight and obese women.

 

So, improve physical and mental health in obesity with dieting and yoga practice.

 

“Yoga does not offer quick weight loss. However, it does offer long lasting effects. Initially, you may feel that you aren’t making any progress with weight loss but you’ll start feeling more active and alive inside. Eventually, the body will start responding and come back in good shape.” – Art of Living

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Telles, S., Sharma, S. K., Kala, N., Pal, S., Gupta, R. K., & Balkrishna, A. (2018). Twelve Weeks of Yoga or Nutritional Advice for Centrally Obese Adult Females. Frontiers in Endocrinology, 9, 466. http://doi.org/10.3389/fendo.2018.00466

 

Abstract

Background: Central obesity is associated with a higher risk of disease. Previously yoga reduced the BMI and waist circumference (WC) in persons with obesity. Additional anthropometric measures and indices predict the risk of developing diseases associated with central obesity. Hence the present study aimed to assess the effects of 12 weeks of yoga or nutritional advice on these measures. The secondary aim was to determine the changes in quality of life (QoL) given the importance of psychological factors in obesity.

Material and Methods: Twenty-six adult females with central obesity in a yoga group (YOG) were compared with 26 adult females in a nutritional advice group (NAG). Yoga was practiced for 75 min/day, 3 days/week and included postures, breathing practices and guided relaxation. The NAG had one 45 min presentation/week on nutrition. Assessments were at baseline and 12 weeks. Data were analyzed with repeated measures ANOVA and post-hoc comparisons. Age-wise comparisons were with t-tests.

Results: At baseline and 12 weeks NAG had higher triglycerides and VLDL than YOG. Other comparisons are within the two groups. After 12 weeks NAG showed a significant decrease in WC, hip circumference (HC), abdominal volume index (AVI), body roundness index (BRI), a significant increase in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. YOG had a significant decrease in WC, sagittal abdominal diameter, HC, BMI, WC/HC, a body shape index, conicity index, AVI, BRI, HDL cholesterol, and improved QoL. With age-wise analyses, in the 30–45 years age range the YOG showed most of the changes mentioned above whereas NAG showed no changes. In contrast for the 46–59 years age range most of the changes in the two groups were comparable.

Conclusions: Yoga and nutritional advice with a diet plan can reduce anthropometric measures associated with diseases related to central obesity, with more changes in the YOG. This was greater for the 30–45 year age range, where the NAG showed no change; while changes were comparable for the two groups in the 46–59 year age range. Hence yoga may be especially useful for adult females with central obesity between 30 and 45 years of age.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6107686/

 

Improve Sleep in Fibromyalgia Patients with Mindfulness

Improve Sleep in Fibromyalgia Patients with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Now, I do live in the moment, and it is quite beautiful, I feel at peace, I feel much more confident and I am able to look to the future with confidence. I am much more compassionate with myself and everyone else. I now accept that this illness is not my fault and it is now 100 per cent easier to deal with the primary pain that comes with fibromyalgia by eliminating the secondary suffering of worry and anxiety.” – Lesa Vallentine

 

Fibromyalgia is a mysterious disorder whose causes are unknown. It is very common affecting over 5 million people in the U.S., about 2% of the population with about 7 times more women affected than men. It is characterized by widespread pain, abnormal pain processing, sleep disturbance, and fatigue that lead to psychological distress. Fibromyalgia may also have morning stiffness, tingling or numbness in hands and feet, headaches, including migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, sleep disturbances, thinking and memory problems, and painful menstrual periods. The symptoms are so severe and debilitating that about half the patients are unable to perform routine daily functions and about a third have to stop work. Although it is not itself fatal, suicide rates are higher in fibromyalgia sufferers.

 

There are no completely effective treatments for fibromyalgia. Symptoms are generally treated with pain relievers, antidepressant drugs and exercise. But, these only reduce the severity of the symptoms and do not treat the disease directly. Mindfulness practices have also been shown to be effective in reducing pain from fibromyalgia. But, it is unclear, however, if mindfulness training can reduce the sleep disturbances and insomnia that accompany fibromyalgia.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of Mindfulness Training on Sleep Problems in Patients With Fibromyalgia.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01365/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_755938_69_Psycho_20180904_arts_A ), Amutio and colleagues recruited patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia and randomly assigned them to a no-treatment control condition or to receive 7 weeks of Flow Meditation practice. They met in groups once a week for 2 hours and practiced daily at home. Flow Meditation consisted of mindfulness exercises from Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) training, mindfulness techniques used in acceptance and commitment therapy, and exposure to and debate on metaphors and exercises used in Zen and Vipassana meditation. The participants were measured before and after training and 3 months later for insomnia, sleep quality, daytime sleepiness, and sleep impairments.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the control group the mindfulness trained group had significant increases in sleep quality and significant decreases in insomnia, daytime sleepiness, and sleep impairments. These effects varied from moderate to large and did not diminish over the 3-month follow-up period. So, mindfulness training appears to be a safe, effective, and lasting treatment for the sleep problems occurring with fibromyalgia. These are very significant improvements as lack of sleep by fibromyalgia patients contributes mightily to the reduced quality of life and overall health of the sufferers. This combined with the previously observed reduction in perceived pain produced by mindfulness training suggests that this training is an excellent alternative or supplemental treatment for fibromyalgia.

 

Improve Sleep in Fibromyalgia Patients with Mindfulness.

 

“Mindfulness may be able to help patients learn to direct their attention away from pain, inhibit the central nervous system’s ability to perceive pain. reduce distressing thoughts and feelings that come with pain, which can keep them from making the pain worse, enhance body awareness, which may lead to improved self-care, promote deep muscle relaxation, lessening tension and irritability, and create a buffer against stress-related symptoms” – HealthLine

 

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Amutio A, Franco C, Sánchez-Sánchez LC, Pérez-Fuentes MdC, Gázquez-Linares JJ, Van Gordon W and Molero-Jurado MdM (2018) Effects of Mindfulness Training on Sleep Problems in Patients With Fibromyalgia. Front. Psychol. 9:1365. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01365

 

Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a complex psychosomatic pain condition. In addition to generalized pain and various cognitive difficulties, new FMS diagnostic criteria acknowledge fatigue and sleep problems as core aspects of this condition. Indeed, poor sleep quality has been found to be a significant predictor of pain, fatigue, and maladaptive social functioning in this patient group. While there is promising evidence supporting the role of mindfulness as a treatment for FMS, to date, mindfulness intervention studies have principally focused on dimensions of pain as the primary outcome with sleep problems either not being assessed or included as a secondary consideration. Given the role of sleep problems in the pathogenesis of FMS, and given that mindfulness has been shown to improve sleep problems in other clinical conditions, the present study explored the effects of a mindfulness-based intervention known as Flow Meditation (Meditación-Fluir) on a range of sleep-related outcomes (subjective insomnia, sleep quality, sleepiness, and sleep impairment) in individuals with FMS. Adult women with FMS (n = 39) were randomly assigned to the 7 weeks mindfulness treatment or a waiting list control group. Results showed that compared to the control group, individuals in the mindfulness group demonstrated significant improvements across all outcome measures and that the intervention effects were maintained at a 3 month follow-up assessment. The Meditación-Fluir program shows promise for alleviating sleep problems relating to FMS and may thus have a role in the treatment of FMS as well as other pain disorders in which sleep impairment is a central feature of the condition.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01365/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_755938_69_Psycho_20180904_arts_A

Improve Parenting and Reduce Stress with Mindfulness

Improve Parenting and Reduce Stress with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“We can practice ‘mindful listening’ by simply being present for the other person, and giving them space to talk without imposing our own agenda. As one person in a family consciously practicing mindfulness in this way, you may find that you are modeling it for the others, and quietly encouraging them to listen with greater attention and empathy.” – Tessa Watt

 

Raising children, parenting, is very rewarding. But, it can also be challenging. Children test parents frequently. They test the boundaries of their freedom and the depth of parental love. They demand attention and seem to especially when parental attention is needed elsewhere. They don’t always conform to parental dictates or aspirations for their behavior. They are often affected more by peers, for good or evil, than by parents. It is the parents challenge to control themselves, not overreact, and act appropriately in the face of strong emotions. Meeting these challenges becomes more and more important with adolescents, as here are the greatest struggles for independence and the potential for damaging behaviors, particularly, alcohol, drugs, and sexual behavior.

 

own emotions, and to be sensitive and attentive their child. These skills are exactly those that are developed in mindfulness training. It improves the psychological and physiological responses to stress. It improves emotion regulation. It improves the ability to maintain attention and focus in the face of high levels of distraction. Mindful parenting involves the parents having emotional awareness of themselves and compassion for the child and having the skills to pay full attention to the child in the present moment, to accept parenting non-judgmentally and be emotionally non-reactive to the child.

 

In today’s Research News article “Benefits of Mindfulness for Parenting in Mothers of Preschoolers in Chile.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01443/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_755938_69_Psycho_20180904_arts_A ),   Corthorn examined the effects of mindfulness training on parenting. They recruited healthy adult mothers of preschool children (2-5 years of age). They formed a no treatment control group and a mindfulness training group which received an 8 week program of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) that was adapted for mothers. They met for 2 hours per week for discussion and practiced mindful meditation and yoga. They were also instructed to practice at home. Both groups were measured before and after training and 2 months later for mindfulness, parenting stress, anxiety, depression, and mindful parenting, including subscales measuring listening with full attention, self-regulation in the parenting relationship, non-judgmental acceptance of self, and empathy and acceptance for the child.

 

They found in comparison to the control group and the baseline that after mindfulness training there was a significant reduction in parental stress and significant increases in mindfulness and mindful parenting including the subscales measuring non-judgmental acceptance of self as a mother, listening with full attention, self-regulation in the parenting relationship, and empathy and acceptance for the child. These improvements were maintained over the two months follow-up period. They also found that after training but not 2 months later there were significant decreases in overall stress and parental stress subscales of “Parental Distress” and “Difficult Child”.

 

These are interesting results that suggest that the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) adapted for mothers produced significant and lasting improvements in the mothers’ mindfulness and parenting skills and reduced their stress levels. It has been clearly shown by other research that mindfulness training reduces the psychological and physiological responses to stress, and improves parenting  Future research should investigate the effects of the mothers’ participation on the well-being of their children. But, it is clear that mindfulness training is beneficial for the mothers. The mothers are better able to listen to, empathize with, and accept their children and these benefits would predict greater psychological health in the children.

 

So, improve parenting and reduce stress with mindfulness.

 

“As parents, perhaps the most precious thing we can give our children is the gift of our full presence, in the moment. This is the deep intention and invitation for parents as they make space for mindfulness practice in their lives. Mindful parenting takes to heart the deep truth that we can only give to our children what we have given first and fundamentally to ourselves.” – Lisa Kring

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Corthorn C (2018) Benefits of Mindfulness for Parenting in Mothers of Preschoolers in Chile. Front. Psychol. 9:1443. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01443

 

The present study evaluated whether mothers’ participation in a mindfulness-based intervention led to statistically significant differences in their general levels of stress, depression, anxiety, parental stress, mindful parenting, and mindfulness. Forty-three mothers of preschool-age children participated, 21 in the intervention group and 22 in the comparison group. Scores of mental health variables were within normal ranges before the intervention. All of the participants worked at the Universidad Católica de Chile (Catholic University of Chile), and their children attended university preschool centers. Repeated measured ANOVA analysis were performed considering differences between gain scores of each group, rather than post-treatment group differences. This was chosen in order to approach initial differences in some of the measures (mindfulness, mindful parenting, and stress) probably due to self-selection. As predicted, the intervention group showed a significant reduction in general and parental stress and an increase in mindful parenting and general mindfulness variables when compared with the comparison group. Effect sizes ranged from small to medium, with the highest Cohen’s d in stress (general and parental) and mindful parenting. In most cases, the significant change was observed between pre- and post-test measures. Follow-up measures indicated that the effects were maintained after 2 months.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01443/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_755938_69_Psycho_20180904_arts_A

 

Improve Eating Regulation and Emotions in the Obese with Mindfulness

Improve Eating Regulation and Emotions in the Obese with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Researchers are learning that teaching obese individuals mindful eating skills—like paying closer attention to their bodies’ hunger cues and learning to savor their food—can help them change unhealthy eating patterns and lose weight. And, unlike other forms of treatment, mindfulness may get at the underlying causes of overeating—like craving, stress, and emotional eating—which make it so hard to defeat.” – Jill Suttie

 

Obesity has become an epidemic in the industrialized world. In the U.S. the incidence of obesity, has more than doubled over the last 35 years to currently around 35% of the population, while two thirds of the population are considered overweight or obese (Body Mass Index; BMI > 25). Although the incidence rates have appeared to stabilize, the fact that over a third of the population is considered obese is very troubling. This is because of the health consequences of obesity. Obesity has been found to shorten life expectancy by eight years and extreme obesity by 14 years. This occurs because obesity is associated with cardiovascular problems such as coronary heart disease and hypertension, stroke, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and others.

 

Obviously, there is a need for effective treatments to prevent or treat obesity. But, despite copious research and a myriad of dietary and exercise programs, there still is no safe and effective treatment. Mindfulness is known to be associated with lower risk for obesityalter eating behavior and improve health in obesity. Mindfulness training is also known to increase spirituality. This suggests that mindfulness training may be an effective treatment for overeating, overweight, and obesity. The relationship of spirituality to mindfulness and eating has not been previously explored.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindful Eating: Connecting With the Wise Self, the Spiritual Self.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01271/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_755938_69_Psycho_20180904_arts_A ), Kristeller and colleagues recruited obese adults (BMI>35) and randomly assigned them to either receive Mindfulness-Based Eating Awareness Training (MB-Eat) or to a wait-list control condition. Mindfulness-Based Eating Awareness Training (MB-Eat) was delivered in 12, 2-hour sessions, once a week for 10 weeks and 2 monthly booster sessions. The participants were trained in meditation, including general mindfulness meditation, guided eating meditations, and “mini-meditations” used at meal time and throughout the day. They also received instructions on recognizing inner experiences related to hunger and food intake and also on nutritional and healthy eating. Participants were measured before, during and immediately after training and also at 1, 2, and 4 months later for eating and weight related issues, emotional regulation, state mindfulness, depression, anxiety, and spiritual well-being.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the wait-list group, the participants who received Mindfulness-Based Eating Awareness Training (MB-Eat) had increased spiritual well-being particularly in the meaning/peace and faith factors that continued to grow all the way to the 2-month follow-up. They also found that the greater the increase in the meaning/peace and faith factors, the greater the decrease in depression, anxiety, and binge eating. Finally, they performed a mediation analysis that showed that increases in mindfulness were associated with decreases in both depression and binge eating directly and indirectly by being associated with increases in spiritual well-being meaning/peace which in turn was significantly related to decreases in both depression and binge eating.

 

These results suggest that obese individuals benefit from Mindfulness-Based Eating Awareness Training (MB-Eat) training by developing mindfulness which helps develop spiritual well-being and these factors both contribute to an improved emotional state and less disordered eating. It appears that the effect of mindfulness on the benefits is in part mediated by spiritual well-being. Mindfulness training has been shown previously to improve eating behavior and reduce depression. This study, however, is the first to indicate that the effectiveness of mindfulness is in part due to its effects on the individual’s spirituality.

 

So, improve eating regulation and emotions in the obese with mindfulness.

 

 

“Some of the simplest, safest lessons to help adolescents combat obesity may be raising their awareness of what they are eating and whether they are even hungry.” – Phil Jones

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Kristeller JL and Jordan KD (2018) Mindful Eating: Connecting With the Wise Self, the Spiritual Self. Front. Psychol. 9:1271. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01271

 

In the Mindfulness-Based Eating Awareness Training program (MB-EAT) (Kristeller and Wolever, 2014Kristeller and Woleverin press), mindfulness practice is taught, mindful eating is cultivated, and self-acceptance and spiritual well-being are enhanced. An integrative concept is the value of cultivating ‘wisdom’ in regard to creating a new and sustainable relationship to eating and food. ‘Wisdom’ refers to drawing on personal experience and understanding in a flexible, insightful manner, rather than strictly following external rules and guidelines. Several clinical trials involving variations of MB-EAT have documented substantive improvement in how people relate to their eating, including individuals with both binge eating disorder (BED) and subclinical eating issues. Based on the traditional value of contemplative practices for cultivating spiritual engagement, and on evidence from related research showing that spiritual well-being increases in the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program and is related to other effects, we hypothesized that the MB-EAT program would also engage this aspect of experience, as assessed by the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy – Spiritual Well-Being subscale (FACIT-Sp), and that increases in spiritual well-being would relate to other measures of adjustment such as emotional balance and improvement in disordered eating. Participants (N = 117) with moderate to morbid obesity, including 25.6% with BED, were randomly assigned to MB-EAT or a wait-list control, and assessed on the FACIT-Sp and other measures at baseline, immediate post (IP), and 2-month followup (F/Up). Both FACIT-Sp factors [Meaning/Peace (M/P) and Faith] increased significantly in the MB-EAT group and were stable/decreased in the control group. Increases in these factors related to improvement in emotional adjustment and eating regulation at IP and at F/Up, and to increases in aspects of mindfulness measured by the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ). Increases in M/P during treatment mediated effects of the FFMQ Observe factor on eating regulation and depression at IP. Results are discussed in terms of the role that mindfulness practice plays in cultivating ‘wise mind’ and the related value of spirituality. It is argued that the core elements of the MB-EAT program lead to meaningful spiritual engagement, which plays a role in people’s ability to improve and maintain overall self-regulation.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01271/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_755938_69_Psycho_20180904_arts_A

 

Improve Sleep, Fitness, and Abstinence in Women with Stimulant Addiction with Tai Chi

Improve Sleep, Fitness, and Abstinence in Women with Stimulant Addiction with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“As a recovering addict, I urge you to try Tai Chi. It helps you relax, restores your energy, reduces cravings, and combats depression and pain. Plus, it will boost your physical, mental and emotional health.” – Angela Lambert

 

Substance abuse is a major health and social problem. There are estimated 22.2 million people in the U.S. with substance dependence. It is estimated that worldwide there are nearly ¼ million deaths yearly as a result of illicit drug use which includes unintentional overdoses, suicides, HIV and AIDS, and trauma. Obviously, there is a need to find effective methods to prevent and treat substance abuse. There are a number of programs that are successful at stopping the drug abuse, including the classic 12-step program emblematic of Alcoholics Anonymous. Unfortunately, the majority of drug and/or alcohol abusers relapse and return to substance abuse. Hence, it is important to find an effective method to both treat substance abuse disorders and to prevent relapses.

 

Mindfulness practices have been shown to improve recovery from various addictions. Tai Chi is a mindfulness practice that has documented benefits for the individual’s psychological and physical health and well-being. Tai Chi and Qigong are ancient mindfulness practices involving slow prescribed movements. Since Tai Chi is both a mindfulness practice and a gentle exercise, it may be an acceptable and effective treatment patients recovering from addictions. There has, however, been a paucity of studies on the use of Tai Chi practice to treat substance abuse.

 

In today’s Research News article “Long-Term Effects of Tai Chi Intervention on Sleep and Mental Health of Female Individuals With Dependence on Amphetamine-Type Stimulants.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01476/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_755938_69_Psycho_20180904_arts_A ), Zhu and colleagues recruited women who were in a drug abuse rehabilitation program for stimulant abuse. They were randomly assigned to receive either Tai Chi practice or usual care with light exercise and drug education. They were treated for 60 minutes per day for 3 months and measured before and after treatment and 3 months later for sleep quality, depression, and physical fitness. Drug relapses were also recorded over the subsequent 4 year period.

 

They found that the group that practiced Tai Chi had higher sleep quality with shorter sleep durations, greater sleep efficiency, and less daytime disruptions, at the completion of training but not 3 months later. They also found that the Tai Chi group had a significant decrease in their resting pulse rate that was maintained 3 months later. Importantly, significantly fewer of the Tai Chi group relapsed (9.5%) compared to the usual treatment group (26.3%) and for those who relapsed the Tai Chi group stayed abstinent for a significantly longer period (1209 vs. 880 days).

 

These are interesting and important results that suggest that Tai Chi practice can be of great benefit to women being treated for stimulant drug abuse. The practice appears to improve sleep quality and physical fitness but most importantly appears to help maintain abstinence. There are many programs that produce cessation of drug use, but relapse occurs frequently. That a simple and inexpensive mindfulness exercise can greatly enhance the effectiveness of the programs in producing and maintain abstinence is very encouraging.

 

So, improve sleep, fitness, and abstinence in women with stimulant addiction with Tai Chi.

 

“A common complaint many of us share in early recovery is difficulty sleeping. If we have been abusing alcohol or drugs, it may be many years since we last experienced ‘normal’ sleep, and it is going to take a little time for our body to adjust. One of the things you are likely to notice if you practice Tai Chi regularly is that you find it easier to get to sleep at night.” – Hope Rehab

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Zhu D, Dai G, Xu D, Xu X, Geng J, Zhu W, Jiang X and Theeboom M (2018) Long-Term Effects of Tai Chi Intervention on Sleep and Mental Health of Female Individuals With Dependence on Amphetamine-Type Stimulants. Front. Psychol. 9:1476. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01476

 

Previous studies provide evidence that Tai Chi (TC) can reduce the symptoms of sleep problems and be of benefit for the rehabilitation of substance abusers. In this study, we investigated if TC practice can improve sleep quality and mood of females who are dependent on amphetamine-type stimulant (ATS). Eighty subjects were randomly assigned to TC intervention and standard care (SC) for 6 months. We applied analysis of variance on repeated-measure with the year of drug dependence as the covariate to test the changes of the self-rated Pittsburg Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), Self-Rating Depression Scale (SDS), as well as fitness after 3 and 6 months. Relapse investigation was conducted by checking the database of China’s National Surveillance System on Drug Abuse and that of the Shanghai Drug Control Committee’s illicit drug dependents. Our investigation focused on the relapse of participants who had undergone and completed treatment in the Shanghai Mandatory Detoxification and Rehabilitation Center in 2015. The result showed that the PSQI scores of sleep duration [F (2, 92) = 9.86], need for sleep medications [F (2, 92) = 36.44] and daytime dysfunction [F (2, 92) = 5.15] were found to have a significant difference by time × group interaction after 6 months. SDS showed no significant difference between the two groups; however, the score of SDS in TC decreased after 6-month intervention, and no changes were observed in SC. Pulse rate had significantly decreased in the TC group compared with the SC group after 6 months. 9.5% (4) ATS dependents in TC and 26.3% (10) ATS dependents in SC were found to have relapsed. Our result suggested that TC had positive effects on sleep quality, depression and fitness. Long-term study demonstrated that TC may be a cheap and potential supplementary treatment for ATS-dependent individuals. TC may also be considered as an alternative exercise to escalate abstinence for ATS-dependent females.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01476/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_755938_69_Psycho_20180904_arts_A

 

Decrease Depression in Women with Reproductive Problems with Mindfulness

Decrease Depression in Women with Reproductive Problems with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness is a potentially feasible and efficacious intervention for reducing depressive symptoms and preventing major depression among people with subthreshold depression in primary care.” – Samuel Wong

 

Infertility is primarily a medical condition due to physiological problems. It is quite common. It is estimated that in the U.S. 6.7 million women, about 10% of the population of women are infertile. Infertility can be more than just a medical issue. It can be an emotional crisis for many couples, especially for the women. Couples attending a fertility clinic reported that infertility was the most upsetting experience of their lives. Women with infertility reported feeling as anxious or depressed as those diagnosed with cancer, hypertension, or recovering from a heart attack.

 

Mindfulness training been shown to be an effective treatment for depression and its recurrence and even in the cases where drugs fail. This is especially true for Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) which was specifically developed to treat depression. So, it would be expected that MBCT would be effective in treating the depression that occurs in women with infertility and sexual dysfunction.

 

In today’s Research News article “Comparative Effectiveness of Antidepressant Medication versus Psychological Intervention on Depression Symptoms in Women with Infertility and Sexual Dysfunction.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5767934/ ), Pasha and colleagues recruited women with infertility who were also showing symptoms of depression. They were randomly assigned to receive either Psychosexual Therapy, Antidepressant drugs, or treatment as usual. Psychosexual Therapy consisted of MBCT, relaxation training, and behavior sex therapy. MBCT consisted of 2-hour sessions once a week for 8 weeks and included home practice. MBCT involves mindfulness training, containing sitting and walking meditation and body scan, and cognitive therapy to alter how the patient relates to the thought processes that often underlie and exacerbate psychological symptoms. Depression and sexual dysfunction levels were measured before and after training.

 

They found that both the Psychosexual Therapy and antidepressant drug groups had significant decreases in depression, but the Psychosexual Therapy group had significantly greater improvements (58% decrease) than the antidepressant drug group (28% decrease). They also found that the lower the levels of depression the higher the levels of sexual function. These results suggest that Psychosexual Therapy that includes Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is not only an effective treatment for depression in women with infertility but is also superior in effectiveness to antidepressant drugs. This is a remarkable result, with Psychosexual Therapy being far superior to drug treatment in treating depression in these women.

 

So, decrease depression in women with reproductive problems with mindfulness.

 

“mindfulness regimens, at least as they are often structured, may be better attuned to addressing the ways that women typically process emotions than the ways that men often do.” – David Orenstein

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Pasha, H., Basirat, Z., Faramarzi, M., & Kheirkhah, F. (2018). Comparative Effectiveness of Antidepressant Medication versus Psychological Intervention on Depression Symptoms in Women with Infertility and Sexual Dysfunction. International Journal of Fertility & Sterility, 12(1), 6–12. http://doi.org/10.22074/ijfs.2018.5229

 

Abstract

Background

Fertility loss is considered as a challenging experience. This study was conducted to compare the effectiveness of antidepressant medication and psychological intervention on depression symptoms in women with infertility and sexual dysfunctions (SD).

Materials and Methods

This randomized, controlled clinical trial study was completed from December 2014 to June 2015 in Babol, Iran. Of the 485 participants, 93 were randomly assigned in a 1:1:1 ratio to psychosexual therapy (PST), bupropion extended-release (BUP ER) at a dose of 150 mg/d, and control (no intervention) groups. The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) was completed at the beginning and end of the study. Duration of study was eight weeks. Statistical analyses were performed by using paired-test and analysis of covariance.

Results

The mean depression score on the BDI was 22.35 ± 8.70 in all participants. Mean BDI score decreased significantly in both treatment groups (PST: P<0.0001, BUP: P<0.002) from baseline to end of the study, whereas intra-individual changes in BDI score were not significant in the control group. The decrease in mean BDI score was greater with PST compared to BUP treatment (P<0.005) and the control group (P<0.0001). The PST group showed greater improvement in depression levels (severe to moderate, moderate to mild) in comparison with the two other groups (P<0.001). Drug treatment was well tolerated by the participants in the BUP group.

Conclusion

PST can be a reliable alternative to BUP ER for relieving depression symptoms in an Iranian population of women with infertility and SD

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5767934/