Improve the Physical and Mental Health of Patients with COPD with Tai Chi

Improve the Physical and Mental Health of Patients with COPD with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“The gentle movements of Sun-style tai chi (SSTC) can improve the lives and boost the exercise endurance of people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.” – Matt McMillen

 

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases (COPD) are progressive lung diseases that obstruct airflow. The two main types of COPD are chronic bronchitis and emphysema. COPD is very serious being the third leading cause of death in the United States, over 140,000 deaths per year and the number of people dying from COPD is growing. More than 11 million people have been diagnosed with COPD, but an estimated 24 million may have the disease without even knowing it. COPD causes serious long-term disability and early death.

 

There is no cure for COPD. Treatments include lifestyle changes, medicine, bronchodilators, steroids, pulmonary rehabilitation, oxygen therapy, and surgery. They all attempt to relieve symptoms, slow the progress of the disease, improve exercise tolerance, prevent and treat complications, and improve overall health. Gentle mind-body exercise such as Yoga, Tai Chi and Qigong practices could improve COPD symptoms. Yoga has been shown to improve exercise tolerance and overall health and includes breathing exercises. Indeed, it has been shown that yoga practice improves the mental and physical health of patients with COPD. Mindful movement practices such Tai Chi and Qigong are ancient Chinese practices involving mindfulness and gentle movements. They are easy to learn, safe, and gentle. So, it may be appropriate for patients with COPD who lack the ability to engage in strenuous exercises to engage in these gentle mind-body practices.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of Tai Chi training on the physical and mental health status in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7139037/), Guo and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published research studies on the effectiveness of Tai Chi practices for the treatment of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases (COPD).

 

They found 16 published research studies that report that Tai Chi practice results in improvements in lung function including forced volume capacity, forced expiratory volume in 1 s, and degree of lung function recovery. It also increased exercise ability as measured by the distance walked in 6 minutes, improved mood by decreasing anxiety and depression, and improved the patient’s quality of life.

 

The results are striking and important. Tai Chi practice improves the lung function, exercise capacity, mood, and quality of life in patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases (COPD). It is safe and effective mindfulness practice. It is appropriate for all ages including the elderly and for individuals with illnesses that limit their activities or range of motion. It is inexpensive to administer, can be performed in groups or alone, at home or in a facility, and can be quickly learned. In addition, it can be practiced in social groups. This can make it fun, improving the likelihood of long-term engagement in the practice. Hence, Tai Chi practice would appear to be an excellent practice to be added to routine treatment of COPD.

 

So, improve the physical and mental health of patients with COPD with Tai Chi.

 

We conclude that tai chi is equivalent to [pulmonary rehabilitation] and may confer more sustained benefit.” – Yuan-Ming Luo

 

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

 

Guo, C., Xiang, G., Xie, L., Liu, Z., Zhang, X., Wu, Q., Li, S., & Wu, Y. (2020). Effects of Tai Chi training on the physical and mental health status in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of thoracic disease, 12(3), 504–521. https://doi.org/10.21037/jtd.2020.01.03

 

Abstract

Background

Tai Chi is a systematic whole body movement developed in ancient China. It plays an increasingly important role in the field of pulmonary rehabilitation for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Our review aimed to explore the impact of Tai Chi on the physical and mental health of patients with COPD.

Methods

We searched several English and Chinese databases and used the combination of subject words and free words to search for available literature from the establishment of the library until August 28, 2018. Two researchers screened studies and collected the data independently. The study inclusion criteria included: (I) patients diagnosed with COPD; (II) Tai Chi or Tai Chi Qigong as an intervention in addition to routine treatment; (III) routine treatment with or without exercises as control group. The primary outcomes were lung function, exercise capacity and health status; (IV) randomized controlled trials.

Results

Sixteen articles were included from 2009 to 2018 (n=1,096). The average time duration of Tai Chi program was 53.4 minutes each session, 4.13 sessions a week for a total of 4.13 months. Comparing with control group, Tai Chi group improved some lung function (forced volume capacity: mean difference =0.12, 95% CI: 0.03–0.21), (forced expiratory volume in 1s: mean difference =0.15, 95% CI: 0.08–0.21), enhanced 6-minute walking distance score (mean difference =30.78, 95% CI: 15.15–46.42), decreased COPD Assessment Test score (mean difference =−5.00, 95% CI: −7.51 to −2.50), decreased St. George’s Respiratory Questionnaire score (mean difference =−8.66, 95% CI: −14.60 to −2.72), enhanced Chronic Respiratory Disease Questionnaire score (mean difference =2.16, 95% CI: 1.49–2.83), decreased Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale score(anxiety: mean difference =−1.04, 95% CI: −1.58 to −0.51; depression: mean difference =−1.25, 95% CI: −1.77 to −0.73). Comparing with exercise group, Tai Chi group statistically enhanced 6-minute walking distance score (mean difference =7.77, 95% CI: 2.63–12.91).

Conclusions

Tai Chi may represent an appropriate alternative or complement to standard rehabilitation programs. However, whether Tai Chi is better than pulmonary rehabilitation exercise has not been determined.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7139037/

 

Improve Cardiovascular and Metabolic Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes with Yoga

Improve Cardiovascular and Metabolic Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Yoga practices such as cleansing processes, asanas, pranayama, mudras, bandha, meditation, mindfulness, and relaxation are known to reduce blood glucose levels and to help in the management of comorbid disease conditions associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus, resulting in significant positive clinical outcomes.” – Arkiath Veettil Raveendran

 

Diabetes is a major health issue. It is estimated that 30 million people in the United States and nearly 600 million people worldwide have diabetes and the numbers are growing. Type II Diabetes results from a resistance of tissues, especially fat tissues, to the ability of insulin to promote the uptake of glucose from the blood. As a result, blood sugar levels rise producing hyperglycemia. Diabetes is heavily associated with other diseases such as cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, and circulatory problems leading to amputations. As a result, diabetes doubles the risk of death of any cause compared to individuals of the same age without diabetes.

 

Type 2 diabetes is a common and increasingly prevalent illness that is largely preventable. One of the reasons for the increasing incidence of Type 2 Diabetes is its association with overweight and obesity which is becoming epidemic in the industrialized world. A leading cause of this is a sedentary life style. Unlike Type I Diabetes, Type II does not require insulin injections. Instead, the treatment and prevention of Type 2 Diabetes focuses on diet, exercise, and weight control. Recently, mindfulness practices have been shown to be helpful in managing diabetes. A mindfulness practice that combines mindfulness with exercise is yoga and it has been shown to be helpful in the treatment of Type II Diabetes.

 

In today’s Research News article “Yoga-based lifestyle treatment and composite treatment goals in Type 2 Diabetes in a rural South Indian setup- a retrospective study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7156497/), Arumugam and colleagues recruited adults with Type 2 Diabetes in rural India and randomly assigned them to either standard care or to 6 months of 1 hour daily supervised yoga practice “comprised of loosening practices, asanas, pranayama, relaxation techniques, and meditation.” They were measured before and after treatment for blood levels of A1c, LDL and HDL-cholesterol, fasting blood glucose, postprandial blood glucose, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, weight, total cholesterol, triglyceride, and body mass index (BMI).

 

They found that for the most part the control group had deterioration of most measures of their cardiovascular and metabolic health while the yoga group had significant improvements in all measures, including blood fats and glucose, blood pressure, and body weight, except total triglycerides. Hence, the patients with Type 2 Diabetes markedly reduced their risk factors for cardiovascular disease while the control group increased their risk.

 

These are very encouraging results that yoga practice can improve the health of patients with Type 2 Diabetes in rural India and lower their risk of developing serious cardiovascular disease. It would be important in future research to include another condition of perhaps aerobic exercise to evaluate if yoga practice confers extra benefits beyond its exercise effects. Regardless, the results suggest that yoga practice improves the physical well-being of patients with Type 2 Diabetes in rural settings.

 

So, improve cardiovascular and metabolic symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes with yoga.

 

Yoga is considered to be a promising, cost-effective option in the treatment and prevention of diabetes, with data from several studies suggesting that yoga and other mind-body therapies can reduce stress-related hyperglycemia and have a positive effect on blood glucose control.” – Diabetes UK

 

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

 

Arumugam, G., Nagarathna, R., Majumdar, V., Singh, M., Srinivasalu, R., Sanjival, R., Ram, V. S., & Nagendra, H. R. (2020). Yoga-based lifestyle treatment and composite treatment goals in Type 2 Diabetes in a rural South Indian setup- a retrospective study. Scientific reports, 10(1), 6402. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-63133-1

 

Abstract

This multicentre retrospective study examined the effects of adjunct yoga-treatment in achieving composite cardiovascular goals for type 2 diabetes (T2D), set forth by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) in rural Indian settings. Records were extracted for 146 T2D patients, aged ≥20–70 years, and treated under the “Apollo Total Health Programme” for rural diabetes management, for the period April 2016 to November 2016. The study cohort comprised of two treatment groups (n = 73 each); non-yoga group (standard of care) and yoga group (adjunct yoga-treatment). Propensity score matching was applied between the study groups to define the cohort. Composite cardiovascular scores were based on the combination of individual ADA goals; A1c < 7%, blood pressure (BP) < 140/90 mmHg, stringent BP (<130/80 mmHg) and lipid, LDL-C < 100 mg/dl [risk factor for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease]. Logistic regression was used to compare between the two treatment groups. Compared to standard of care, adjunct yoga-treatment was found to significantly facilitate the attainment of ADA composite score by 8-fold; A1c, ~2-fold; LDL-C, ~2-fold; BP < 140/90 mmHg and <130/80 mmHg by ~8-and ~6-fold respectively. This study provides the first evidence for significant efficacy of adjunct yoga-treatment for the attainment of favourable treatment goals for T2D in rural Indian settings.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7156497/

 

Improve Borderline Personality Disorder with Mindfulness

Improve Borderline Personality Disorder with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Mindfulness meditation training may help individuals with BPD be more effective in applying healthy coping skills in the midst of emotional pain. Mindfulness skills allow you to get just a little bit of space to be able to notice the emotion and be more strategic in terms of how you will act in the face of the emotion.” – Kristalyn Salters-Pedneault

 

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a very serious mental illness that is estimated to affect 1.6% of the U.S. population. It involves unstable moods, behavior, and relationships, problems with regulating emotions and thoughts, impulsive and reckless behavior, and unstable relationships. BPD is associated with high rates of co-occurring depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, eating disorders, self-harm, suicidal behaviors, and completed suicides. Needless to say, it is widespread and debilitating.

 

One of the few treatments that appears to be effective for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). It is targeted at changing the problem behaviors characteristic of BPD through focusing on changing the thoughts and emotions that precede problem behaviors, as well as by solving the problems faced by individuals that contribute to problematic thoughts, feelings and behaviors. In DBT five core skills are practiced; mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, the middle path, and interpersonal effectiveness.

 

It is not known if Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is effective for a subset of patients with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) who are not suicidal or self-harming. In today’s Research News article “Dialectical behaviour therapy skills reconsidered: applying skills training to emotionally dysregulated individuals who do not engage in suicidal and self-harming behaviours.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6993331/), Kells and colleagues recruited patients with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) who had never attempted suicide or engaged in any self-harming and who had high levels of emotional dysregulation. They received a 24-week Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) program that met once a week for 2.5 hours. They were measured before, during, and after treatment and 6 months later for emotion regulation, mindfulness, and DBT skills.

 

There was a 49% drop-out rate. They found that for those that completed the program at each time point during and after treatment including the 6-month follow-up there were significant reductions in dysfunctional coping and increases in emotion regulation, mindfulness, and DBT skills. The effects were quite large with changes of 22% to 50% from baseline.

 

The study has a number of interpretive problems as there wasn’t a control condition. Previous controlled research, however, has demonstrated that Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is effective for the treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). So. the present results were probably due to the treatment and not a confounding influence. The drop-out rate in this study was very high. BPD is a very difficult condition to treat and high drop-out rates are common. Hence it is reasonable to conclude that the present study successfully demonstrated that DBT is an effective treatment for BPD in patients without a history of suicide attempts or self-harming behaviors.

 

These findings suggest that Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) affects a core symptom of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), an inability to cope with and regulate emotions. The patients improved markedly in their ability to regulate their emotions and cope with them. It is possible that the observed improvements in mindfulness may have been responsible for the improvements as mindfulness has been shown repeatedly to improve emotion regulation and coping behavior. It remains for future research to investigate this idea.

 

So, improve Borderline Personality Disorder with mindfulness.

 

Strong emotions disrupt a person’s ability to think and to be mindful. This is true for all of us. An inability to think can lead to even stronger and more dysregulated emotions. This is of particular concern in people with BPD, who often experience strong and difficult to control emotions.” = Blaise Aguirre

 

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

 

Kells, M., Joyce, M., Flynn, D., Spillane, A., & Hayes, A. (2020). Dialectical behaviour therapy skills reconsidered: applying skills training to emotionally dysregulated individuals who do not engage in suicidal and self-harming behaviours. Borderline personality disorder and emotion dysregulation, 7, 3. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40479-020-0119-y

 

Abstract

Background

Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based intervention for borderline personality disorder (BPD) but is an intensive treatment with significant health service costs. Access to DBT can sometimes be restricted due to limited resources. Positive results have been reported for the use of DBT skills training (DBT-ST), one of the four modes of standard DBT, in the treatment of individuals with BPD who self-harm. This study evaluates DBT-ST for a subgroup of individuals attending community mental health services who may have a diagnosis of BPD (or emerging BPD traits) but who are not actively self-harming.

Methods

Participants in this study were 100 adults attending community mental health services with a diagnosis of BPD, emerging BPD traits or emotion dysregulation who were not actively self-harming. The majority of participants were female (71%), aged 25–34 years (32%), single (48%) and unemployed (34%). Participants partook in a 24-week DBT-ST intervention delivered by DBT therapists. Outcome measures included the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS), the DBT Ways of Coping Checklist (DBT-WCCL) and the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ). Measures were administered at pre-intervention, at the end of each skills module, and at post-intervention.

Results

Significant reductions in emotion dysregulation (DERS) and dysfunctional coping (DBT-WCCL) scores were reported from pre- to post-intervention (p < .001). A significant increase in mindfulness scores (FFMQ) and DBT skill use (DBT-WCCL) was also observed (p < .001). However, the drop-out rate was high (49% at post-intervention).

Discussion

The results of this uncontrolled study suggest that a standalone 24-week DBT-ST intervention may have a beneficial impact in terms of a reduction in emotion dysregulation and dysfunctional coping, and an increase in mindfulness and DBT skills use in patients with BPD/ emerging BPD traits who are not currently engaging in self-harm. Adequately powered randomised controlled trials are required to determine treatment efficacy in comparison to standard DBT for this population.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6993331/

 

Reduce Depression with Infertility with Mindfulness

Reduce Depression with Infertility with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Studies have shown that women dealing with infertility have anxiety and depression levels equals to women with cancer and HIV.” – Beth Heller

 

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. In addition, infertility can markedly impact the couple’s relationship, straining their emotional connection and interactions and the prescribed treatments can take the spontaneity and joy from lovemaking making it strained and mechanical. The stress of infertility and engaging in infertility treatments may exacerbate the problem. Since mindfulness training has been shown to reduce depression, anxiety, and stress it is reasonable to believe that mindfulness training may be helpful in reducing the distress in women with fertility issues.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-Based Group Counseling on Depression in Infertile Women: Randomized Clinical Trial Study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at:),   https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7139233/  Kalhori and colleagues recruited women aged 25 to 40 years who were diagnosed with infertility and who were undergoing in vitro fertilization. They were randomly assigned to receive treatment as usual or to receive 4 weeks, twice a week for 90 minutes of group mindfulness counseling with home exercises. They were measured before and after the 4-week training period for depression and measures of infertility.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the treatment as usual group, the women who received group mindfulness counseling had significant decreases in depression. It has been well established that mindfulness training reduces depression levels in a wide range of healthy and ill individuals. The present study demonstrates that it can also relieve depression in infertile women undergoing in vitro fertilization. It would be interesting in the future to determine if the improved mood increased the likelihood of successful in vitro fertilization.

 

So, reduce depression with infertility with mindfulness.

 

Through sustained practice, mindfulness becomes a great ally, and combats the myopic thinking often caused by a diagnosis of infertility. Instead of seeing things in such bimodal terms of “all good, or “all bad,” we learn to appreciate the space in between by paying attention to whatever emerges moment to moment.” – Julie Fraga

 

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

 

Kalhori, F., Masoumi, S. Z., Shamsaei, F., Mohammadi, Y., & Yavangi, M. (2020). Effect of Mindfulness-Based Group Counseling on Depression in Infertile Women: Randomized Clinical Trial Study. International journal of fertility & sterility, 14(1), 10–16. https://doi.org/10.22074/ijfs.2020.5785

 

Abstract

Background

Assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) can lead to depressive symptoms in infertile women due to their low success and high costs. Mindfulness-based group counseling can decrease depressive symptoms by increasing mental concentration. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effect of mindfulness-based group counseling on depression in infertile women undergoing IVF.

Materials and Methods

The present clinical trial included 90 infertile women undergoing IVF treatment in an infertility center in 2016. Women were divided into two groups, intervention and control. Both groups completed a demographic questionnaire and the Beck depression inventory (BDI). Eight 90-minute sessions (two each week) of mindfulness-based group counseling were held with the intervention group, while the control group received treatment as normal. Following the intervention, the BDI was again completed by both groups. The data were analyzed and independent t tests and, paired t tests conducted at a significance level of P<0.05.

Results

No statistically significant demographic differences were observed between the two groups. Women in the control group had a somewhat lower depressive symptom score than the intervention group before the intervention. However, compared with before, the depressive symptom score among women in the intervention group decreased significantly (48%) (P<0.001) after the intervention. In contrast, the depressive symptom score in control women was higher after the intervention than before.

Conclusion

According to the findings of the present research, mindfulness-based group counseling is able to reduce depressive symptoms in infertile women under IVF treatment. Therefore, group counseling sessions are suggested for all depressed women undergoing infertility treatment (Registration number: IRCT2015082013405N14).

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7139233/

 

Reduce Intimate Partner Violence with Mindfulness

Reduce Intimate Partner Violence with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“teaching men mindfulness and emotional intelligence will help them develop self-awareness in moments of emotional trigger . . . and avoid violent reactivity.” – Prison Mindfulness Institute

 

The human tendency to lash out with aggression when threatened was adaptive for the evolution of the species. It helped promote the survival of the individual, the family, and the tribe. In the modern world, however, this trait has become more of a problem than an asset. It results in individual violence and aggression such as physical abuse, fights, road rage, and even murders, and in societal violence such as warfare.

 

These violent and aggressive tendencies can lead to violence directed to intimate partners, including sexual and physical violence. In the U.S. there are over 5 million cases of domestic violence reported annually. Indeed, it has been estimated that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have experienced physical violence and 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men have experienced sexual violence from an intimate partner.

 

Obviously, there is a need to find ways to reduce intimate partner violence. Mindfulness training has been shown to reduce aggressionhostility and violence. Hence, mindfulness training may be effective in reducing intimate partner violence. In today’s Research News article “Cognitive behavioural group therapy versus mindfulness-based stress reduction group therapy for intimate partner violence: a randomized controlled trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7169006/), Nesset and colleagues explored therapeutic techniques for perpetrators of intimate partner violence.

 

They recruited adult men who were referred by physicians for treatment for violence against intimate partners. They were randomly assigned to be treated with either 15 2-hour group Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) sessions or 8 2-hour group Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) sessions. CBT explores and attempts to change inaccurate or negative thinking so the patient can view challenging situations more clearly and respond to them in a more effective way. The MBSR program consisting on training in meditation, body scan, yoga, and discussions of using mindfulness in everyday life. They were measured at baseline and 3, 6, 9, and 12 months later for violence over the prior 3 months reported by both the patient and the intimate partner, including physical injury, and physical, psychological, and sexual violence.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline both Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) produced large and significant reductions in physical injury, and physical, psychological, and sexual violence over the 12-month follow-up period.

 

It is interesting that two very different therapeutic techniques were equally effective. This raises the possibility that the benefits may have been due to the confounding effects of participant expectancy (placebo) effects, demand characteristics, or experimenter bias effects. But the magnitude in the reductions in violence were striking and lasting. Confounding effects are usually short lived. So, it would seem that both therapies were effective in reducing violence in men with a history of intimate partner violence. Whether they act in different ways or share a common mechanism of action is a subject for future research.

 

So, reduce intimate partner violence with mindfulness.

 

Meditation is one of the most effective ways to calm the mind and clear built up stress from the nervous system.” – Diane Yeo

 

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

 

Nesset, M. B., Lara-Cabrera, M. L., Bjørngaard, J. H., Whittington, R., & Palmstierna, T. (2020). Cognitive behavioural group therapy versus mindfulness-based stress reduction group therapy for intimate partner violence: a randomized controlled trial. BMC psychiatry, 20(1), 178. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12888-020-02582-4

 

Abstract

Background

Violence in close relationships is a global public health problem and there is a need to implement therapeutic programs designed to help individuals who voluntarily seek help to reduce recurrent intimate partner violence. The effectiveness of such interventions in this population remains inconclusive. The aim of the present study was to compare the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioural group therapy (CBGT) vs mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) group therapy in reducing violent behavior amongst individuals who are violent in intimate partnerships and who voluntarily seek help.

Methods

One hundred forty four participants were randomized using an internet-based computer system. Nineteen withdrew after randomization and 125 participants were randomly assigned to the intervention condition (CBGT, n = 67) or the comparator condition (MBSR, n = 58). The intervention condition involved two individual sessions followed by 15 cognitive-behavioural group therapy sessions. The comparator condition included one individual session before and after 8 mindfulness-based group sessions. Participants (N = 125) and their relationship partners (n = 56) completed assessments at baseline, and at three, six, nine and twelve months’ follow-up. The pre-defined primary outcome was reported physical, psychological or sexual violence and physical injury as measured by the revised Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS2).

Results

The intent-to-treat analyses were based on 125 male participants (intervention group n = 67; comparator group n = 58). Fifty-six female partners provided collateral information. Baseline risk estimate in the CBGT-group was .85 (.74–.92), and .88 (.76–.94) in the MBSR-group for physical violence. At 12-months’ follow-up a substantial reduction was found in both groups (CBGT: .08 (.03–.18); MBSR: .19 (.11–.32)).

Conclusion

Results provide support for the efficacy of both the cognitive-behavioural group therapy and the mindfulness-based stress reduction group therapy in reducing intimate partner violent behavior in men voluntarily seeking treatment.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7169006/

 

Increase Altruism with Mindfulness

Increase Altruism with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

mindfulness can boost the intention to help others, even at a cost to oneself.” – Hooria Jazaieri

 

Homo Sapiens is a very successful species. In part its success has been due to it being a very social species. Members of the species form groups beyond the family unit and work together for the common good. Members also take care of one another. Individuals will sometimes sacrifice their own well-being and safety to help another. This is termed altruistic behavior. The fact that it sometimes actually reduces the likelihood of the individual’s survival appears to be a contradiction to the ideas of evolution that emphasize individual survival.

 

Altruistic behavior, however, is not rare. It is, in fact, often the rule and not the exception. Doctors and nurses risking infection, rush into Covid-19 riddled ICUs. This is an extreme example but altruistic behavior occurs in many simple ways on a daily basis. We routinely give to charities which benefit people on the other side of the world. We donate our time as volunteers to build houses for the disadvantaged. We roll down our car windows and hand money to a homeless person on a street corner.  Mindfulness has been shown to increase altruistic behavior. But it is unclear how much practice is sufficient to activate altruism.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness Meditation Activates Altruism.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7162971/), Iwamoto and colleagues recruited adults online and had them watch a 10 minute video either on breathing meditation or on drawing. After answering questions to verify that they actually watched the video they were told that their compensation was either $1, $2, or $3, They were then asked if they wanted to make a charitable contribution to the United Way.

 

They found that the participants who watched the breathing meditation video contributed 11% of their compensation while those that watched the drawing video contributed 6%. They also found that the mindfulness meditation video produced greater charitable contributions from younger participants (under 25 years of age), those with lower levels of education (Never attended College), from Hispanic participants, and from participants from India..

 

This study is fairly artificial and the ability to generalize the results are limited. In addition, they did not determine if watching the breathing meditation video actually increased mindfulness. So, it cannot be determined if increased mindfulness increased giving. It is also possible that watching a drawing video actually suppresses giving. Nevertheless, the results are interesting and corroborate previous findings that mindfulness can increase altruistic behavior.

 

So, increase altruism with mindfulness.

 

In my experience, the calmer you are, the more you think about and practice altruism and other good things, the more you benefit. . . . A compassionate attitude and a sense of caring are good not only for your peace of mind but also very good for your health… It is very important to utilize our existence for constructive purposes.” – Dalai Lama

 

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

 

Iwamoto, S. K., Alexander, M., Torres, M., Irwin, M. R., Christakis, N. A., & Nishi, A. (2020). Mindfulness Meditation Activates Altruism. Scientific reports, 10(1), 6511. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-62652-1

 

Abstract

Clinical evidence suggests that mindfulness meditation reduces anxiety, depression, and stress, and improves emotion regulation due to modulation of activity in neural substrates linked to the regulation of emotions and social preferences. However, less was known about whether mindfulness meditation might alter pro-social behavior. Here we examined whether mindfulness meditation activates human altruism, a component of social cooperation. Using a simple donation game, which is a real-world version of the Dictator’s Game, we randomly assigned 326 subjects to a mindfulness meditation online session or control and measured their willingness to donate a portion of their payment for participation as a charitable donation. Subjects who underwent the meditation treatment donated at a 2.61 times higher rate than the control (p = 0.005), after controlling for socio-demographics. We also found a larger treatment effect of meditation among those who did not go to college (p < 0.001) and those who were under 25 years of age (p < 0.001), with both subject groups contributing virtually nothing in the control condition. Our results imply high context modularity of human altruism and the development of intervention approaches including mindfulness meditation to increase social cooperation, especially among subjects with low baseline willingness to contribute.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7162971/

 

Improve Major Depressive Disorder with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Improve Major Depressive Disorder with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Insecure attachment styles are more prevalent in individuals with mood disorders and has been associated with worse clinical outcomes, whereas a secure attachment is linked to more positive health behaviors, such as greater adherence to health plans and preventive health behaviors.” – Tamara Cassis

 

Clinically diagnosed depression is the most common mental illness, affecting over 6% of the population. Major depression can be quite debilitating and difficult to treat. It is usually treated with antidepressant medication. But, of patients treated initially with drugs only about a third attained remission of the depression. After repeated and varied treatments including drugs, therapy, exercise etc. only about two thirds of patients attained remission. But drugs often have troubling side effects and can lose effectiveness over time.

 

Attachment has been shown to affect the individual’s well-being. There are a variety of ways that individuals attach to others. They are secure, insecure, avoidant, ambivalent, fearful, preoccupied, and disorganized attachment styles. Secure attachment style is healthy and leads to positive development while all of the others are maladaptive and unhealthy. All of the  attachment styles, save secure attachment, are associated with depression.

 

Mindfulness training is an alternative treatment for depression. It has been shown to be an effective treatment for depression and its recurrence and even in the cases where drugs failAcceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a mindfulness-based psychotherapy technique that focuses on the individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior and how they interact to impact their psychological and physical well-being. It then works to change thinking to alter the interaction and produce greater life satisfaction. ACT employs mindfulness practices to increase awareness and develop an attitude of acceptance and compassion in the presence of painful thoughts and feelings. ACT teaches individuals to “just notice”, accept and embrace private experiences and focus on behavioral responses that produce more desirable outcomes.

 

It is possible that Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) may improve depression by affecting attachment. In today’s Research News article “Explicit and implicit attachment and the outcomes of acceptance and commitment therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy for depression.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7137238/),  A-Tjak and colleagues explore this possibility. They recruited adult patients diagnosed with major depressive disorder and randomly assigned them to receive 18 weekly 50 minute sessions of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). They were measured before and after treatment and 6 months later for depressive symptoms, quality of life, attachment anxiety, and attachment avoidance. Implicit attachment was measured with a card sorting task.

 

They found that the two treatments were equally effective producing 75% to 80% rates of remission from depression and significant reductions in depression, attachment anxiety, and attachment avoidance and increases in quality of life. The effects were still present at the 6-month follow-up. The decreases in attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance were associated with decreases in depression and increases in quality of life while no relationships were present for implicit attachment.

 

The fact that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) were equally effective for major depression is not surprising as ACT incorporates CBT. It is interesting that the magnitude in the changes in attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance were related to the improvements in depression and quality of life. But these results do not demonstrate causation, changes in attachment might cause changes in depression, changes in depression might cause changes in attachment, or therapy might change both independently. What is clear is that both ACT and CBT are highly effective and lasting treatments for major depressive disorder.

 

So, improve major depressive disorder with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

 

Mindfulness training can “generate positive emotions by cultivating self-compassion and self-confidence through an upward spiral process.” – Amanda MacMillan

 

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

 

A-Tjak, J., Morina, N., Boendermaker, W. J., Topper, M., & Emmelkamp, P. (2020). Explicit and implicit attachment and the outcomes of acceptance and commitment therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy for depression. BMC psychiatry, 20(1), 155. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12888-020-02547-7

 

Abstract

Background

Attachment theory predicts that patients who are not securely attached may benefit less from psychological treatment. However, evidence on the predictive role of attachment in the effectiveness of treatment for depression is limited.

Methods

Explicit attachment styles, levels of attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance, as well as implicit relational self-esteem and implicit relational anxiety were assessed in 67 patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) receiving Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). ANOVA and hierarchical regression analyses were performed to investigate the predictive power of explicit and implicit attachment measures on treatment outcome.

Results

Explicit attachment avoidance at pre-treatment significantly predicted reduction of depressive symptoms following treatment. Reductions in attachment anxiety and avoidance from pre- to post-treatment predicted better treatment outcomes. Neither one of the implicit measures, nor change in these measures from pre- tot post-treatment significantly predicted treatment outcome.

Conclusions

Our findings show that attachment avoidance as well as reductions in avoidant and anxious attachment predict symptom reduction after psychological treatment for depression. Future research should use larger sample sizes to further examine the role of attachment orientation as moderator and mediator of treatment outcome.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7137238/

 

Improve Primary School Students’ Attention and Behavior with Mindfulness

Improve Primary School Students’ Attention and Behavior with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

For kids who have suffered from prolonged stress or trauma, mindfulness seems to offer a way of “short-circuiting” the fight-or-flight response. It helps kids with the greatest self-regulation challenges adapt to slower, more methodical classroom settings.” – Amanda Moreno

 

Childhood is a miraculous period during which the child is dynamically absorbing information from every aspect of its environment. It is here that behaviors, knowledge, skills, and attitudes are developed that shape the individual. But what is absorbed depends on the environment. If it is replete with speech, the child will learn speech, if it is replete with trauma, the child will learn fear, if it is replete with academic skills the child will learn these, and if it is replete with interactions with others, the child will learn social skills.

 

Elementary school environments have a huge effect on development. They are also excellent times to teach children the skills to adaptively negotiate its environment. Mindfulness training in school, at all levels has been shown to have very positive effects. These include academic, cognitive, psychological, and social domains. Importantly, mindfulness training in school appears to improve the student’s self-concept. It also improves attentional ability and reduces stress, which are keys to successful learning in school. Since, what occurs in the early years of school can have such a profound, long-term effect on the child it is important to further study the impact of mindfulness training on the development of thinking skills in elementary school children.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Effect of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention on Attention, Self-Control, and Aggressiveness in Primary School Pupils.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7178275/), Suárez-García and colleagues recruited two 3rd grade primary school classes with children between the ages of 7 to 10 years. One class received 8 weekly mindfulness training sessions with 10 minutes of daily practice. At the end of the 8 weeks of training for the first class, the second class received the mindfulness training. They were measured before and after each intervention for intellectual ability and attentional ability. In addition, the teachers were asked to evaluate the children for attentional problems, self-control deficits, and aggressiveness.

 

They found that in comparison to the control classroom and the baseline the mindfulness trained children had significant reductions in attentional problems and self-control deficits. The second class after their mindfulness training also showed significant reductions in attentional problems and self-control deficits. No significant changes in aggressiveness were observed.

 

The results are similar to findings with adults that mindfulness training improves attention and self-control and that mindfulness training can be successfully implemented in schools producing improvements in attentional ability. The findings that mindfulness training in 3rd grade classrooms can also improve attention and self-control is important as these abilities are essential to the education of the students. The improvements would also contribute to better management of the classroom. Changes in academic progress were not measured. But the results suggest that the children would perform better in school after mindfulness training.

 

So, improve primary school students’ attention and behavior with mindfulness.

 

for students specifically, mindfulness has been shown to improve cognitive performance, so students can focus and concentrate better.” – Anya Kamenetz

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Suárez-García, Z., Álvarez-García, D., García-Redondo, P., & Rodríguez, C. (2020). The Effect of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention on Attention, Self-Control, and Aggressiveness in Primary School Pupils. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(7), 2447. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17072447

 

Abstract

The objective of this study was to examine the effect of Mindkeys Training, a mindfulness-based educational intervention, on attention, self-control, and aggressiveness in third-year primary school pupils. In order to achieve this aim, a switching replications design was used. Two groups of third year primary students (nGE1 = 40; nGE2 = 33), aged between 7 and 10 years old (M = 8.08; DT = 0.49), had the intervention at different time points, such that while one served as the experimental group, the other served as the control group. Longitudinal differences were examined in both groups, and cross-sectional differences were examined between the two groups at three time points; at the start of the study, and following the intervention with each group. To that end, measurements of problems of attention, deficits of self-control, and aggressiveness for students were obtained via a teacher rating scale. The intervention program demonstrated a positive effect on the reduction of pupils’ attention problems, deficits of self-control, and aggressiveness. The effects were greater on the cognitive variables that the intervention worked on directly (attention and self-control). Attention was the variable on which the intervention exhibited the longest term effects.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7178275/

 

Mindfulness Training Changes Patients’ Relationship to Tinnitus and Improves Symptoms

Mindfulness Training Changes Patients’ Relationship to Tinnitus and Improves Symptoms

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

It hasn’t affected the tinnitus… It’s the way I think about it and the way I deal with it… knowing that in just a few moments it won’t be as bad… you have to accept that it’s there, you have to.” – Study Participant

 

Tinnitus is one of the most common symptoms to affect humanity. People with tinnitus live with a phantom noise that can range from a low hiss or ringing to a loud roar or squeal which can be present constantly or intermittently. It can have a significant impact on people’s ability to hear, concentrate, or even participate in everyday activities. The vast majority of people with tinnitus have what is known as subjective tinnitus. This is caused by unknown problems somewhere in the auditory system; the inner, middle, or outer ear, the part of the brain that translates nerve signals as sounds, or the auditory nerves.

 

Approximately 25 million to 50 million people in the United States experience it to some degree. Approximately 16 million people seek medical attention for their tinnitus, and for up to two million patients, debilitating tinnitus interferes with their daily lives. There are a number of treatments for tinnitus including, counseling, sound therapy, drugs, and even brain stimulation. Unfortunately, none of these treatments is very effective. Mindfulness practices have been shown to be effective in treating Tinnitus. How learning to be mindful affects tinnitus is unknown.

 

In today’s Research News article “I Wasn’t at War With the Noise: How Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy Changes Patients’ Experiences of Tinnitus.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00483/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1313244_69_Psycho_20200428_arts_A), Marks and colleagues recruited adults with tinnitus who participated in a study of the effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) for tinnitus. They were questioned with semi-structured interviews on the MBCT program and its effects on themselves and their tinnitus. The interview responses were analyzed with Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis.

 

The previous study that the subjects participated in demonstrated that Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) significantly reduced tinnitus severity, catastrophizing, and fear and significantly increased their acceptance of tinnitus. The participants responses in the structured interviews were found to reflect 4 different themes. First, they reported that they learned to relate to tinnitus in a new way, specifically to cease fighting and attempting to control their tinnitus and instead to allow and accept it and turn toward it. Second, MBCT reduced their emotional distress and improved their well-being. Third, MBCT improved their relationships with others and themselves increasing understanding and compassion. Finally, MBCT improved attitudes that supported change including open mindedness, motivation, and balancing realism with gentleness.

 

These results suggest that Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) improved tinnitus symptoms by changing the subjects attitudes and perspective. This is exactly what MBCT is designed to do. MBCT involves mindfulness training and cognitive therapy that attempts to teach patients to distinguish between thoughts, emotions, physical sensations, and behaviors, and to recognize irrational thinking styles and how they affect behavior. It would appear from the participants’ reports that the training indeed was effective in changing how they experienced and related to their tinnitus and this, in turn, improved their symptoms.

 

So, mindfulness training changes patients’ relationship to tinnitus and improves symptoms.

 

the rest of me has benefitted… You can’t catastrophize over everything else but manage it with your tinnitus. So it’s holistic… the big thing is the not catastrophizing…” – Study Participant

 

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

 

Marks E, Smith P and McKenna L (2020) I Wasn’t at War With the Noise: How Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy Changes Patients’ Experiences of Tinnitus. Front. Psychol. 11:483. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00483

 

Abstract

Objectives: Intrusive tinnitus is a challenging, life-changing experience for which traditional medical treatment does not yet have a cure. However, Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy for tinnitus (MBCT-t) is effective in reducing tinnitus-related distress, disability and intrusiveness. It is a priority to understand patients’ experience of MBCT-t and active processes which they regarded as underpinning the changes they experienced. Semi-structured interviews were conducted 6 months after participants had completed MBCT as part of a randomized controlled trial (RCT), with a focus on exploring their experiences of the course, what they felt had changed and how they felt such changes had occurred.

Methods: Nine participants took part and Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was used to analyze the interview transcripts.

Results: Four overarching themes emerged: (1) Relating to Tinnitus in a New Way, (2) Holistic Benefits, (3) Connection, Kindness and Compassion, and (4) Factors Supporting Engagement and Change.

Conclusion: All participants reported benefits from MBCT-t, based on a radically new relationship with tinnitus. It was no longer characterized by “fighting it” and was instead based on “allowing” tinnitus to be present. Changes were supported by the development of open, stable, present-moment awareness and attitudes of equanimity, kindness, and compassion. Practices encouraging focus on sound (including tinnitus) were challenging, but essential to learning this new way of being with tinnitus. MBCT-t had a huge range of benefits including reduced distress and enhanced wellbeing. The group nature of MBCT-t was an integral part of the therapeutic process. A number of clinical and research implications are discussed.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00483/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1313244_69_Psycho_20200428_arts_A

 

Reduce Distress and Increase Pregnancy in Women with Fertility Problems with Mind-Body Practices

Reduce Distress and Increase Pregnancy in Women with Fertility Problems with Mind-Body Practices

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

mindfulness becomes the perfect antidote for the paradoxical land mines infertility presents. Mindfulness starts from the perspective that you are whole and complete already, regardless of flaws or imperfections. It is based on the concept of original goodness: your essential nature is good and pure. Proceeding from this vantage point gives you freedom from the bondage of inadequacy and insecurity.” – Janetti Marrota

 

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 15-44, have an impaired ability to get pregnant or carry a baby to term and about 6% 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. In addition, infertility can markedly impact the couple’s relationship, straining their emotional connection and interactions and the prescribed treatments can take the spontaneity and joy from lovemaking making it strained and mechanical. The stress of infertility and engaging in infertility treatments may exacerbate the problem. Since mindfulness training has been shown to reduce depression, anxiety, and stress it is reasonable to believe that mind-body training may be helpful in reducing the distress in women with fertility issues.

 

In today’s Research News article “An internet-based mind/body intervention to mitigate distress in women experiencing infertility: A randomized pilot trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7080396/), Clifton and colleagues recruited childless adult women who were seeking care for infertility. They were randomly assigned to either a wait-list control condition or to receive a 10-week online program of mind/body for fertility including weekly online modules and homework assignments. “The skills and strategies taught included: (a) knowledge regarding the relationship between stress, lifestyle, and fertility; (b) relaxation techniques including diaphragmatic breathing and Hatha Yoga; (c) mindfulness; (d) cognitive restructuring; (e) stress reduction strategies; (f) listening and communication skills; (g) strategies for emotional expression and effective coping with anger; and (h) assertiveness training and goal-setting skills.” They were measured before and after training for anxiety, depression, perceived stress, and fertility problems.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the wait-list control group, the women who received the training had significantly lower levels of anxiety, depression, perceived stress, and infertility related stress specific to sexual and social concerns. At the end of the study the women who received the training had significantly higher self-reported pregnancy rates. 53% of the trained women reported successful pregnancy while only 20% of the wait-list control women did.

 

The study was a randomized controlled trial but the control condition, wait-list, was passive. It would be important for future research to include an active control condition, such as online health education. In addition, the program included a complex set of practices and it is impossible to tease apart what components or combination of components were necessary for the effects observed. It would be interesting in future research to examine the effectiveness of the individual components.

 

Nevertheless, these are interesting and potentially important findings. The online mind/body for fertility program produced significant reductions in the distress levels of the women and increased the likelihood of becoming pregnant. By reducing the psychological distress produced by infertility the program appeared to markedly improve the likelihood of becoming pregnant. This is very helpful in reducing the suffering produced by infertility and thereby improving pregnancy success..

 

In addition, the fact that the program was implemented online makes it scalable at low cost to large groups of women over wide geographic areas and the women can engage in the program at times and places that were most comfortable and convenient for them. This greatly expands the usefulness of the program.

 

So, reduce distress and increase pregnancy in women with fertility problems with mind-body practices.

 

“Many women fear that becoming mindful and starting to meditate will make them passive in their quest for a child.  This simply isn’t so.  The wish for a child remains vibrant and active – it’s simply that happiness doesn’t depend on the fulfillment of this wish.” – Beth Heller

 

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

 

Clifton, J., Parent, J., Seehuus, M., Worrall, G., Forehand, R., & Domar, A. (2020). An internet-based mind/body intervention to mitigate distress in women experiencing infertility: A randomized pilot trial. PloS one, 15(3), e0229379. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0229379

 

Abstract

Objective

To determine if an internet-based mind/body program would lead to participants experiencing infertility (1) being willing to be recruited and randomized and (2) accepting and being ready to engage in a fertility-specific intervention. Secondary exploratory goals were to examine reduced distress over the course of the intervention and increased likelihood to conceive.

Methods

This was a pilot randomized controlled feasibility trial with a between-groups, repeated measure design. Seventy-one women self-identified as nulliparous and meeting criteria for infertility. Participants were randomized to the internet-based version of the Mind/Body Program for Fertility or wait-list control group and asked to complete pre-, mid- and post-assessments. Primary outcomes include retention rates, number of modules completed, and satisfaction with intervention. Secondary exploratory outcomes sought to provide preliminary data on the impact of the program on distress (anxiety and depression) and self-reported pregnancy rates relative to a quasi-control group.

Results

The retention, adherence, and satisfaction rates were comparable to those reported in other internet-based RCTs. Although time between pre- and post-assessment differed between groups, using intent-to-treat analyses, women in the intervention group (relative to the wait-list group) had significant reduction in distress (anxiety, p = .003; depression, p = .007; stress, p = .041 fertility-social, p = .018; fertility-sexual, p = .006), estimated as medium-to-large effect sizes (ds = 0.45 to 0.86). The odds of becoming pregnant was 4.47 times higher for the intervention group participants as compared to the wait-list group, OR 95% CI [1.56, 12.85], p = .005 and occurred earlier. The findings suggest that the research design and program specific to this population are feasible and acceptable. Replication efforts with an active control group are needed to verify distress reduction and conception promotion findings.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7080396/