Improve Health and Treat Illness with Qigong

Improve Health and Treat Illness with Qigong

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

in order to do qigong … we have to be pretend to be empty, so the first thing to empty is the mind, so we try not to think of anything and only listen to our breathing, relax all the strength and relax the mind, so it’s some kind of meditation.” – Joe Lok

 

Tai Chi and Qigong are ancient mindfulness practices involving slow prescribed movements. They are gentle and completely safe, can be used with the elderly and sickly, are inexpensive to administer, can be performed in groups or alone, at home or in a facility or even public park, and can be quickly learned. In addition, they can also be practiced in social groups without professional supervision. This can make it fun, improving the likelihood of long-term engagement in the practice.

 

Tai Chi and Qigong are both mindfulness practices and exercises. They have been shown to be beneficial to the health and well-being of individuals of a variety of ages, but particularly the elderly. They also improve the symptoms of a variety of diseases. The studies of the benefits for health of Tai Chi and Qigong are accumulating and so it makes sense to take a moment to summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Benefits of Qigong as an integrative and complementary practice for health: a systematic review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7365612/) Toneti and colleagues review and summarize the published research studies of the benefits for health of Qigong practice. They identified 28 published clinical trials.

 

They report that the published research studies found that Qigong practice significantly promotes health and is effective in the prevention and rehabilitation of diseases in adults and the elderly. The evidence supports the effectiveness of Qigong practice in treating the symptoms of cancer, fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s disease, cardiovascular disease, and COPD. It has also been shown to be effective in reducing chronic pain including low back pain, cervical pain, and osteoarthritis pain. In addition, it has been shown to be effective in reducing perceived stress, burnout, fatigue, social isolation, and depression.

 

Hence, the available published research suggests that Qigong practice is effective in promoting physical and psychological health in healthy people and people with diseases at a variety of ages including the elderly. These are impressive benefits for a gentle and safe practice that can be rolled out to a wide audience at low cost. This suggests that people should be encouraged to participate in Qigong practice to promote their health and well-being.

 

So, improve health and treat illness with Qigong.

 

Qi gong and tai chi are relaxing ways to improve your flexibility and balance. Both are great ways to stay active and vital. The gentle, flowing movements are easy on the joints.” – Jodi Helmer

 

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

 

Toneti, B. F., Barbosa, R., Mano, L. Y., Sawada, L. O., Oliveira, I. G., & Sawada, N. O. (2020). Benefits of Qigong as an integrative and complementary practice for health: a systematic review. Revista latino-americana de enfermagem, 28, e3317. https://doi.org/10.1590/1518-8345.3718.3317

 

Abstract

Objective:

to analyze, in the literature, evidence about the benefits of the integrative and complementary practice of Qigong with regard to the health of adults and the elderly.

Method:

a systematic review by searching for studies in the PubMed, CINAHL, LILACS, EMBASE and Cochrane Library databases. Randomized and non-randomized clinical trials were included; in Portuguese, English and Spanish; from 2008 to 2018. The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses strategy was adopted, as well as the recommendation of the Cochrane Collaboration for assessing the risk of bias in the clinical trials analyzed.

Results:

28 studies were selected that indicated the benefit of the practice to the target audience, which can be used for numerous health conditions, such as: cancer; fibromyalgia; Parkinson’s disease; Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease; Burnout; stress; social isolation; chronic low back pain; cervical pain; buzz; osteoarthritis; fatigue; depression; and cardiovascular diseases. However, there was a great risk of bias in terms of the blinding of the research studies.

Conclusion:

the practice of Qigong produces positive results on health, mainly in the medium and long term. This study contributes to the advancement in the use of integrative and complementary practices in nursing, since it brings together the scientific production in the area from the best research results available.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7365612/

 

Mindfulness is Associated with Lower Impact of Fibromyalgia and Greater Well-Being

Mindfulness is Associated with Lower Impact of Fibromyalgia and Greater Well-Being

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

people with fibromyalgia may have what’s called an “attentional bias” toward negative information that appeared to be linked to pain severity. . . mindfulness training may help manage this trait and therefore reduce pain.” – Adrienne Dellwo

 

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. Clearly, fibromyalgia greatly reduces the quality of life of its’ 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. Some of the effects of mindfulness practices are to alter thought processes, changing what is thought about. In terms of pain, mindfulness training, by focusing attention on the present moment has been shown to reduce worry and catastrophizing. Pain is increased by worry about the pain and the expectation of greater pain in the future. So, mindfulness may reduce worry and catastrophizing and thereby reduce fibromyalgia pain and improve the quality of life.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness is associated with psychological health and moderates the impact of fibromyalgia.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6545163/) Pleman and colleagues recruited adult patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia and had them complete measures of mindfulness, fibromyalgia impact, pain interference, symptom severity, anxiety, depression, perceived stress, coping strategies, health-related quality of life, self-efficacy, and walking ability.

 

They found that the higher the levels of mindfulness the lower the levels of fibromyalgia impact, pain interference, symptom severity, anxiety, depression, and perceived stress, and the higher the mental health related quality of life, coping, and self-efficacy. This was true also for the individual mindfulness facets of describing, acting-with-awareness, and non-judging. Hence, mindfulness was associated with better psychological health and lower overall impact of fibromyalgia.

 

These findings are correlational and as such causation cannot be determined. But prior research has shown that mindfulness training causes improvements in fibromyalgia. So, the present findings are probably due to a causal effect of being mindful on the psychological and physical impact of fibromyalgia and the quality of life of the patients. Hence, mindfulness can go a long way toward relieving the suffering of patients with fibromyalgia.

 

So, mindfulness is associated with lower impact of fibromyalgia and greater well-being.

 

“Often, individuals with fibromyalgia demonstrate a series of maladaptive coping strategies which in turn can lead to poor mental health; however mindfulness meditation has been shown to significantly improve this.” – Breathworks

 

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

 

Pleman, B., Park, M., Han, X., Price, L. L., Bannuru, R. R., Harvey, W. F., Driban, J. B., & Wang, C. (2019). Mindfulness is associated with psychological health and moderates the impact of fibromyalgia. Clinical rheumatology, 38(6), 1737–1745. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10067-019-04436-1

 

Abstract

Objective

Previous studies suggest mindfulness is associated with pain and depression. However, its impact in individuals with fibromyalgia remains unclear. We examined associations between mindfulness and physical and psychological symptoms, pain interference, and quality of life in fibromyalgia patients.

Methods

We performed a cross-sectional analysis on baseline data from a fibromyalgia clinical trial. Mindfulness was assessed using the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ). Pearson’s correlations and multivariable linear regression models were used to evaluate associations between mindfulness and fibromyalgia impact, pain interference, physical function, depression, anxiety, stress, self-efficacy, and health-related quality of life. We also examined whether mindfulness moderated associations between fibromyalgia impact and psychological outcomes.

Results

A total of 177 participants (age 52.0±12.2 (SD) years; 93.2% women; 58.8% white; body mass index 30.1±6.7 kg/m2; FFMQ score 131.3±20.7; Revised Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire score 57.0±19.4) were included. Higher total mindfulness was significantly associated with lower fibromyalgia impact (r=−0.25), pain interference (r=−0.31), stress (r=−0.56), anxiety (r=−0.58), depression (r=−0.54), and better mental health-related quality of life (r=0.57). Describing, Acting-with-awareness, and Non-judging facets of mindfulness were also associated with these outcomes. Mindfulness moderated the effect of fibromyalgia impact on anxiety (interaction P=0.01).

Conclusion

Higher mindfulness is associated with less pain interference, lower impact of fibromyalgia, and better psychological health and quality of life in people with fibromyalgia. Mindfulness moderates the influence of fibromyalgia impact on anxiety, suggesting mindfulness may alter how patients cope with fibromyalgia. Future studies should assess how mind-body therapies aiming to cultivate mindfulness may impact the well-being of patients with fibromyalgia.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6545163/

 

Improve Medically Unexplained Symptoms with Mindfulness

Improve Medically Unexplained Symptoms with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Mindful people might have lower blood pressure, lower blood sugar, and better heart health. One study found that people who got a flu vaccine after 8 weeks of mindfulness training developed more antibodies against the flu than those who only got the vaccine. It may relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and cut down on migraines, too.” – WebMD

 

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.

 

A number of patients come to see a physician with long-lasting subjective symptoms that do not have a clear medical explanation. Examples are fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and irritable bowel syndrome. It is important to establish if mindfulness may also be effective for these medically unexplained symptoms. The evidence has been accumulating. It is important, then, to step back and summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “What Works in Mindfulness Interventions for Medically Unexplained Symptoms? A Systematic Review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7373253/) Billones and Saligan review and summarize the published research studies on the effectiveness of mindfulness training for the treatment of patients with medically unexplained symptoms including fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome and post-traumatic stress disorder. They identified 24 controlled trials which included a total of 2126 participants who were primarily female (98%).

 

They report that the published studies found that in comparison to control conditions and baseline, mindfulness-based interventions produced significant reductions in symptom severity with moderate to large effect sizes. There were also significant improvements in pain, anxiety, and depression. The results suggest that mindfulness training is highly effective in reducing the symptoms of medically unexplained symptoms.

 

So, improve medically unexplained symptoms with mindfulness.

 

“it’s encouraging to know that something that can be taught and practiced can have an impact on our overall health—not just mental but also physical—more than 2,000 years after it was developed. That’s reason enough to give mindfulness meditation a try.” – Jill Suttie

 

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

 

Billones, R., & Saligan, L. (2020). What Works in Mindfulness Interventions for Medically Unexplained Symptoms? A Systematic Review. Asian/Pacific Island Nursing Journal, 5(1), 1–11. https://doi.org/10.31372/20200501.1082

 

Abstract

Background/Purpose: Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) have been used in medically unexplained symptoms (MUS). This systematic review describes the literature investigating the general effect of MBIs on MUS and identifies the effects of specific MBIs on specific MUS conditions. Methods: The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis Guidelines (PRISMA) and the modified Oxford Quality Scoring System (Jadad score) were applied to the review, yielding an initial 1,556 articles. The search engines included PubMed, ScienceDirect, Web of Science, Scopus, EMBASE, and PsychINFO using the search terms: mindfulness, or mediations, or mindful or MBCT or MBSR and medically unexplained symptoms or MUS or Fibromyalgia or FMS. A total of 24 articles were included in the final systematic review. Results/Conclusions: MBIs showed large effects on: symptom severity (d  = 0.82), pain intensity (d  = 0.79), depression (d  = 0.62), and anxiety (d  = 0.67). A manualized MBI that applies the four fundamental elements present in all types of interventions were critical to efficacy. These elements were psycho-education sessions specific to better understand the medical symptoms, the practice of awareness, the nonjudgmental observance of the experience in the moment, and the compassion to ones’ self. The effectiveness of different mindfulness interventions necessitates giving attention to improve the gaps that were identified related to home-based practice monitoring, competency training of mindfulness teachers, and sound psychometric properties to measure the mindfulness practice.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7373253/

 

Improve Fibromyalgia Symptoms with Qigong

Improve Fibromyalgia Symptoms with Qigong

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Evidence is growing for the Traditional Chinese practice of qigong as a treatment for fibromyalgia..” – Adrienne Dellwo

 

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. Clearly, fibromyalgia greatly reduces the quality of life of its’ 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. Qigong is an ancient Chinese practice involving mindfulness and gentle movements. They are easy to learn, safe, and gentle. So, it may be appropriate for patients with fibromyalgia where exercise can produce painful flares. This suggests that Qigong might also be effective. Qigong practice involves body movements and also breathing exercises and meditation. It is not known which of these components are essential to produce benefits,

 

In today’s Research News article “The therapeutic efficacy of Qigong exercise on the main symptoms of fibromyalgia: A pilot randomized clinical trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7235941/), Sarmento and colleagues recruited adult non-obese female patients with fibromyalgia and randomly assigned them to receive either Qigong practice or a sham Qigong control condition. They received 2 weekly 45-minute training sessions followed by 10 weeks of daily practice at home. Qigong practice consisted of “deep diaphragmatic breathing, mild body movements, and meditation, along with uttering six healing sounds.”  The sham Qigong practice consisted of the body movements only. They were measured before and after training for self-reported pain levels, pressure pain thresholds, fibromyalgia impact, sleep quality, fatigue, quality of life, depression, and anxiety.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the sham Qigong group the participants that practiced Qigong had significantly lower levels of self-reported pain, fibromyalgia impact, fatigue, depression, and anxiety and significantly higher pressure pain thresholds and levels of sleep quality. These results are very interesting in that they demonstrate that Qigong practice markedly improves the symptoms of fibromyalgia in women.

 

The results are also interesting in that they demonstrate that the body movements component of Qigong practice is not essential for the benefits. The fact that the exercise is not effective alone is not surprising as it’s been reported that exercise can actually increase the likelihood of a fibromyalgia flare. The results suggest that breath control and meditation are essential for Qigong practice to improve the symptoms of fibromyalgia. It would appear that the mindfulness components of Qigong practice are essential. Previous research has shown that mindfulness training can improve the symptoms of fibromyalgia. The present results further confirm the effectiveness of mindfulness in reducing the women’s suffering.

 

Fibromyalgia patients suffer greatly and to bring relief with a simple, gentle, safe practice is very important. Qigong is inexpensive to administer, can be performed in groups or alone, at home or in a facility or even public park, and can be quickly learned. In addition, it can be practiced in social groups without professional supervision. This can make it fun, improving the likelihood of long-term engagement in the practice. Hence, Qigong practice would appear to be a wonderful effective treatment for the relief of the suffering of fibromyalgia patients.

 

So, improve fibromyalgia symptoms with qigong.

 

“qigong in fibromyalgia. . . . there are consistent benefits in pain, sleep, impact, and physical and mental function following the regimen, with benefits maintained at 4-6 months.” – Jane Sawynok

 

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

 

Sarmento, C., Moon, S., Pfeifer, T., Smirnova, I. V., Colgrove, Y., Lai, S. M., & Liu, W. (2020). The therapeutic efficacy of Qigong exercise on the main symptoms of fibromyalgia: A pilot randomized clinical trial. Integrative medicine research, 9(4), 100416. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.imr.2020.100416

 

Abstract

Background

Some of the most debilitating symptoms of fibromyalgia (FM) include widespread chronic pain, sleep disturbances, chronic fatigue, anxiety, and depression. Yet, there is a lack of effective self-management exercise interventions capable of alleviating FM symptoms. The objective of this study is to examine the efficacy of a 10-week daily Qigong, a mind–body intervention program, on FM symptoms.

Methods

20 participants with FM were randomly assigned to Qigong (experimental) or sham-Qigong (control) groups, with participants blinded to the intervention allocation. The Qigong group practiced mild body movements synchronized with deep diaphragmatic breathing and meditation. The sham-Qigong group practiced only mild body movements. Both groups practiced the interventions two times per day at home, plus one weekly group practice session with a Qigong instructor. Primary outcomes were: pain changes measured by the Short-Form McGill Pain Questionnaire, a visual analog scale for pain, pressure pain threshold measured by a dolorimeter. Secondary outcomes were: the Revised Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and the Quality of Life Scale.

Results

The experimental group experienced greater clinical improvements when compared to the control group on the mean score differences of pain, sleep quality, chronic fatigue, anxiety, depression, and fibromyalgia impact, all being statistically significant at p < 0.05.

Conclusion

Daily practice of Qigong appears to have a positive impact on the main fibromyalgia symptoms that is beyond group interaction.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7235941/

 

Mindfulness is a Cost-Effective Treatment for Fibromyalgia

Mindfulness is a Cost-Effective Treatment for Fibromyalgia

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Mindfulness as a practice of conscious meditation affects brain activity, achieving, on the one hand, deactivating the areas of negative pain assessment and, on the other, activating those related to the healing and resilience processes. In this way, it helps calm the sympathetic nervous system, which usually leads to reduced stress levels, on the one hand, and also the sensation of perceived pain.” – Andres Martin

 

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. Clearly, fibromyalgia greatly reduces the quality of life of its’ 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. Some of the effects of mindfulness practices are to alter thought processes, changing what is thought about. In terms of pain, mindfulness training, by focusing attention on the present moment has been shown to reduce worry and catastrophizing. Pain is increased by worry about the pain and the expectation of greater pain in the future. So, mindfulness may reduce worry and catastrophizing and thereby reduce fibromyalgia pain and improve the quality of life.

 

The effectiveness of mindfulness training for the treatment of fibromyalgia pain has been established. But whether it is cost-effective relative to other treatments has not been investigated. In today’s Research News article “Cost-Utility of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for Fibromyalgia versus a Multicomponent Intervention and Usual Care: A 12-Month Randomized Controlled Trial (EUDAIMON Study).” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6678679/), Pérez-Aranda and colleagues examine the cost-effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) training for the treatment of fibromyalgia.

 

They recruited adult fibromyalgia patients and continued treatment as usual. The patients were then randomly assigned to receive once a week for 2 hours for 8 weeks either Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) or relaxation and Fibromyalgia education, or were assigned to receive no additional treatment as. The MBSR program consisted of meditation, yoga, body scan, and discussion. The patients were also encouraged to practice at home. They were measured before and after the intervention and 12 months later for health-related quality of life, current health status, medications, and health services.

 

They found that over the year following treatment there were significant increases in the patient’s quality of life and their current health status for the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) group but not for the fibromyalgia education or treatment as usual groups. In addition, there was a significant reduction in total healthcare costs including the costs of the interventions for the MBSR group only. The largest reduction in costs for the MBSR group was in primary healthcare costs. So, MBSR training reduced treatment costs and increased the health-related quality of life of the fibromyalgia patients. Hence,  MBSR training is a safe, effective, and very cost effective treatment for fibromyalgia.

 

So, mindfulness is a cost-effective treatment for fibromyalgia.

 

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

 

Pérez-Aranda, A., D’Amico, F., Feliu-Soler, A., McCracken, L. M., Peñarrubia-María, M. T., Andrés-Rodríguez, L., … Luciano, J. V. (2019). Cost-Utility of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for Fibromyalgia versus a Multicomponent Intervention and Usual Care: A 12-Month Randomized Controlled Trial (EUDAIMON Study). Journal of clinical medicine, 8(7), 1068. doi:10.3390/jcm8071068

 

Abstract

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a prevalent, chronic, disabling, pain syndrome that implies high healthcare costs. Economic evaluations of potentially effective treatments for FM are needed. The aim of this study was to analyze the cost–utility of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) as an add-on to treatment-as-usual (TAU) for patients with FM compared to an adjuvant multicomponent intervention (“FibroQoL”) and to TAU. We performed an economic evaluation alongside a 12 month, randomized, controlled trial; data from 204 (68 per study arm) of the 225 patients (90.1%) were included in the cost–utility analyses, which were conducted both under the government and the public healthcare system perspectives. The main outcome measures were the EuroQol (EQ-5D-5L) for assessing Quality-Adjusted Life Years (QALYs) and improvements in health-related quality of life, and the Client Service Receipt Inventory (CSRI) for estimating direct and indirect costs. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) were also calculated. Two sensitivity analyses (intention-to-treat, ITT, and per protocol, PPA) were conducted. The results indicated that MBSR achieved a significant reduction in costs compared to the other study arms (p < 0.05 in the completers sample), especially in terms of indirect costs and primary healthcare services. It also produced a significant incremental effect compared to TAU in the ITT sample (ΔQALYs = 0.053, p < 0.05, where QALYs represents quality-adjusted life years). Overall, our findings support the efficiency of MBSR over FibroQoL and TAU specifically within a Spanish public healthcare context.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6678679/

 

Improve Fibromyalgia Symptoms with Mindfulness

Improve Fibromyalgia Symptoms with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindfulness training is a low-cost, side-effect-free addition to fibromyalgia treatment that almost anyone can try — research suggests it helps you improve negative emotions surrounding fibromyalgia pain and, over time, change the way you respond to and think about your fibromyalgia symptoms.” – Madeline Vann

 

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. Some of the effects of mindfulness practices are to alter thought processes, changing what is thought about. In terms of pain, mindfulness training, by focusing attention on the present moment has been shown to reduce worry and catastrophizing. Pain is increased by worry about the pain and the expectation of greater pain in the future. The studies are accumulating, so, it would make sense to pause and summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness- and acceptance-based interventions for patients with fibromyalgia – A systematic review and meta-analyses.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6719827/), Haugmark and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published randomized controlled trials exploring the effectiveness of mindfulness- and acceptance-based interventions in the treatment of fibromyalgia. They found 9 published randomized controlled trials employing Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

 

They found that the published research studies report that the mindfulness- and acceptance-based interventions produced small to moderate but significant improvements in the fibromyalgia patients’ levels of pain, depression, anxiety, sleep quality, health-related quality of life, and mindfulness. These benefits were sustained at follow-up but were diminished in magnitude. Hence, these interventions were safe and effective treatments for the suffering and psychological well-being of patients with fibromyalgia.

 

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) are quite different therapies with some vastly different therapeutic techniques. But they all have in common, mindfulness training. So, it would appear that mindfulness training was the critical component responsible for the benefits. This should not be surprising as mindfulness has been shown in many studies of various healthy and distressed groups to improve pain, depression, anxiety, sleep quality, and health-related quality of life. But fibromyalgia has no cure and causes great suffering in its victims. It is very comforting to see that mindfulness training can, at least, mitigate the suffering.

 

So, improve fibromyalgia symptoms with mindfulness.

 

people with fibromyalgia may have what’s called an “attentional bias” toward negative information that appeared to be linked to pain severity. Researchers suggested that mindfulness training may help manage this trait and therefore reduce pain.” – Adrienne Dellwo

 

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

 

Haugmark, T., Hagen, K. B., Smedslund, G., & Zangi, H. A. (2019). Mindfulness- and acceptance-based interventions for patients with fibromyalgia – A systematic review and meta-analyses. PloS one, 14(9), e0221897. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0221897

 

Abstract

Objectives

To analyze health effects of mindfulness- and acceptance-based interventions, including mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). Additionally, we aimed to explore content and delivery components in terms of procedure, instructors, mode, length, fidelity and adherence in the included interventions.

Methods

We performed a systematic literature search in the databases MEDLINE, PsychINFO, CINAHL, EMBASE, Cochrane Central and AMED from 1990 to January 2019. We included randomized and quasi-randomized controlled trials analyzing health effects of mindfulness- and acceptance-based interventions for patients with fibromyalgia compared to no intervention, wait-list control, treatment as usual, or active interventions. MBSR combined with other treatments were included. Predefined outcomes were pain, fatigue, sleep quality, psychological distress, depression, anxiety, mindfulness, health-related quality of life and work ability. The Template for Intervention Description and Replication (TIDieR) checklist and guide was used to explore content and delivery components in the interventions. Meta-analyses were performed, and GRADE was used to assess the certainty in the evidence.

Results

The search identified 4430 records, of which nine original trials were included. The vast majority of the participants were women. The analyses showed small to moderate effects in favor of mindfulness- and acceptance-based interventions compared to controls in pain (SMD -0.46 [95% CI -0.75, -0.17]), depression (SMD -0.49 [95% CI -0.85, -0.12]), anxiety (SMD -0.37 [95% CI -0.71, -0.02]), mindfulness (SMD -0.40 [-0.69, -0.11]), sleep quality (SMD -0.33 [-0.70, 0.04]) and health-related quality of life (SMD -0.74 [95% CI -2.02, 0.54]) at end of treatment. The effects are uncertain due to individual study limitations, inconsistent results and imprecision.

Conclusion

Health effects of mindfulness- and acceptance-based interventions for patients with fibromyalgia are promising but uncertain. Future trials should consider investigating whether strategies to improve adherence and fidelity of mindfulness- and acceptance-based interventions can improve health outcomes.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6719827/

 

Reduce Pain Catastrophizing and Pain with Mindfulness

Reduce Pain Catastrophizing and Pain with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

People often increase the pain experience by adding to the physical sensations with a host of thoughts and feelings, like catastrophizing the pain or trying to suppress and ignore the pain. Mindfulness is a practice of attending to pain — or body sensations — and thoughts and feelings with that present-moment attention in an accepting and curious manner.” – Susan Smalley

 

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. Some of the effects of mindfulness practices are to alter thought processes, changing what is thought about. In terms of pain, mindfulness training, by focusing attention on the present moment has been shown to reduce worry and catastrophizing. Pain is increased by worry about the pain and the expectation of greater pain in the future. So, mindfulness may reduce worry and catastrophizing and thereby reduce fibromyalgia pain.

 

In today’s Research News article “Interactive effects of pain catastrophizing and mindfulness on pain intensity in women with fibromyalgia.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6198401/ ), Dorado and colleagues recruited adult women suffering with fibromyalgia and had them complete questionnaires measuring mindfulness, pain, pain catastrophizing and fibromyalgia interference in daily activities and keeping a 7-day diary of their daily levels of pain and pain catastrophizing. They then examined predictors of the daily pain intensity and pain catastrophizing.

 

They found a strong positive relationship between pain catastrophizing and pain intensity indicating that the higher the daily levels of catastrophizing the greater the levels of pain. They also found that the higher the levels of mindfulness the lower the levels of daily pain catastrophizing and daily levels of pain. They found that this relationship was modified by facets of mindfulness. In particular, the greater the observing facet of mindfulness the smaller the relationship between daily pain catastrophizing and daily pain intensity. On the other hand, when the mindfulness facets of non-judging and acting with awareness were high then the greater the daily levels of catastrophizing the greater the levels of pain.

 

These relationships suggest that observing mindfully tends to mitigate the relationship of catastrophizing to pain while mindfully non-judging and acting with awareness tends to amplify the relationship. But, overall, mindfulness tends to be associated with lower catastrophizing. It has been shown in other work that mindfulness tends to lower fibromyalgia pain, The present study suggests that it may do so by reducing pain catastrophizing. Even though mindfulness, in general lowers pain and catastrophizing not judging the situation and acting toward it with awareness can actually heighten the effects of catastrophizing on pain.

 

It should be kept in mind that these results are correlational and conclusions about causation cannot be made. In addition, the results are complicated suggesting complex relationships between mindfulness and daily pain and catastrophizing levels. This indicates that further research is needed especially work in which mindfulness is altered by training and then observing the effects of this change on pain levels and catastrophizing and their relationships with each other.

 

So, reduce pain catastrophizing and pain with mindfulness.

 

When pain is consistently part of your day, you can start to dwell on it. You may feel stress and anxiety about the pain you’re feeling now, as well as pain that may occur in the future. Mindfulness may lead to changes in the brain that provide benefits for those with fibromyalgia.” – Peggy Pletcher

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are available at the Contemplative Studies Blog http://contemplative-studies.org/wp/

They are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Dorado, K., Schreiber, K. L., Koulouris, A., Edwards, R. R., Napadow, V., & Lazaridou, A. (2018). Interactive effects of pain catastrophizing and mindfulness on pain intensity in women with fibromyalgia. Health psychology open, 5(2), 2055102918807406. doi:10.1177/2055102918807406

 

Abstract

The objective of this study was to examine the association between facets of trait mindfulness, pain catastrophizing, and pain severity in a sample of patients with fibromyalgia. Patients with fibromyalgia completed validated baseline and diary assessments of clinical pain, mindfulness, and pain catastrophizing. Multilevel modeling analyses indicated that the daily association between catastrophizing and pain intensity was moderated by certain mindfulness facets. Our findings suggest that various aspects of mindfulness may interact differently with pain and catastrophizing, which may have implications for the design and testing of interventions targeting mindfulness and catastrophizing in fibromyalgia patients.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6198401/

 

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

Reduce the Symptoms of Fibromyalgia with Tai Chi

Reduce the Symptoms of Fibromyalgia with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Tai chi mind-body treatment results in similar or greater improvement in symptoms than aerobic exercise, the current most commonly prescribed non-drug treatment. This mind-body approach may be considered a therapeutic option in the multi-disciplinary management of fibromyalgia.” – Wang et al.

 

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. Mindfulness practices that are also exercises may be particularly effective. Indeed, yoga practice has been shown to improve the symptoms of fibromyalgia. This suggests that Tai Chi, another mindful exercise might be similarly effective.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effect of tai chi versus aerobic exercise for fibromyalgia: comparative effectiveness randomized controlled trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5861462/ ), Wang and colleagues recruited patients with fibromyalgia and randomly assigned them to one of three groups; 60 minutes of Tai Chi once a week for 24 weeks, 60 minutes of Tai Chi twice a week for 12 weeks, or 60 minutes of light to moderate aerobic exercises twice a week for 24 weeks. Participants were encouraged to practice at home and continue the exercises after the end of formal sessions. Participants were measured before and at 12, 24, and 52 weeks into the intervention for overall severity of fibromyalgia, including intensity of pain, physical function, fatigue, morning tiredness, depression, anxiety, job difficulty, and overall wellbeing, anxiety, depression, self-efficacy, sleep quality, symptom severity, physical and mental health, coping strategies, social support, disability, and physical function, including muscle strength and power.

 

They found that at 24 and again at 52 weeks all groups showed significant improvement but the Tai Chi groups had significantly greater improvement than the aerobic exercise group in overall fibromyalgia severity, self-efficacy, anxiety, and coping strategies. Hence, participation in Tai Chi exercise produce significant improvement in the symptoms of fibromyalgia that were better than those produced by aerobic exercise.

 

These are remarkable findings that Tai Chi practice is better than aerobic exercise in treating the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Both helped, but Tai Chi helped more. Fibromyalgia patients suffer greatly and to bring relief with a simple, gentle, safe exercise is very important. Tai Chi is inexpensive to administer, can be performed in groups or alone, at home or in a facility or even public park, and can be quickly learned. In addition, it can be practiced in social groups without professional supervision. This can make it fun, improving the likelihood of long-term engagement in the practice. Hence, Tai Chi practice would appear to be a wonderful effective treatment for the relief of the suffering of fibromyalgia patients.

 

So, reduce the symptoms of fibromyalgia with Tai Chi.

 

“The authors attributed the success of the program to the postures and low impact movements of Tai Chi, and to the “controlled breathing and movements leading to restful state and mental tranquility.” Pain thresholds were likely raised in the process, which helped break the cycle of movement pain.“ – Joanna Fernandes

 

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

 

Wang, C., Schmid, C. H., Fielding, R. A., Harvey, W. F., Reid, K. F., Price, L. L., … McAlindon, T. (2018). Effect of tai chi versus aerobic exercise for fibromyalgia: comparative effectiveness randomized controlled trial. The BMJ, 360, k851. http://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k851

 

Abstract

Objectives

To determine the effectiveness of tai chi interventions compared with aerobic exercise, a current core standard treatment in patients with fibromyalgia, and to test whether the effectiveness of tai chi depends on its dosage or duration.

Design

Prospective, randomized, 52 week, single blind comparative effectiveness trial.

Setting

Urban tertiary care academic hospital in the United States between March 2012 and September 2016.

Participants

226 adults with fibromyalgia (as defined by the American College of Rheumatology 1990 and 2010 criteria) were included in the intention to treat analyses: 151 were assigned to one of four tai chi groups and 75 to an aerobic exercise group.

Interventions

Participants were randomly assigned to either supervised aerobic exercise (24 weeks, twice weekly) or one of four classic Yang style supervised tai chi interventions (12 or 24 weeks, once or twice weekly). Participants were followed for 52 weeks. Adherence was rigorously encouraged in person and by telephone.

Main outcome measures

The primary outcome was change in the revised fibromyalgia impact questionnaire (FIQR) scores at 24 weeks compared with baseline. Secondary outcomes included changes of scores in patient’s global assessment, anxiety, depression, self efficacy, coping strategies, physical functional performance, functional limitation, sleep, and health related quality of life.

Results

FIQR scores improved in all five treatment groups, but the combined tai chi groups improved statistically significantly more than the aerobic exercise group in FIQR scores at 24 weeks (difference between groups=5.5 points, 95% confidence interval 0.6 to 10.4, P=0.03) and several secondary outcomes (patient’s global assessment=0.9 points, 0.3 to 1.4, P=0.005; anxiety=1.2 points, 0.3 to 2.1, P=0.006; self efficacy=1.0 points, 0.5 to 1.6, P=0.0004; and coping strategies, 2.6 points, 0.8 to 4.3, P=0.005). Tai chi treatment compared with aerobic exercise administered with the same intensity and duration (24 weeks, twice weekly) had greater benefit (between group difference in FIQR scores=16.2 points, 8.7 to 23.6, P<0.001). The groups who received tai chi for 24 weeks showed greater improvements than those who received it for 12 weeks (difference in FIQR scores=9.6 points, 2.6 to 16.6, P=0.007). There was no significant increase in benefit for groups who received tai chi twice weekly compared with once weekly. Participants attended the tai chi training sessions more often than participants attended aerobic exercise. The effects of tai chi were consistent across all instructors. No serious adverse events related to the interventions were reported.

Conclusion

Tai chi mind-body treatment results in similar or greater improvement in symptoms than aerobic exercise, the current most commonly prescribed non-drug treatment, for a variety of outcomes for patients with fibromyalgia. Longer duration of tai chi showed greater improvement. This mind-body approach may be considered a therapeutic option in the multidisciplinary management of fibromyalgia.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5861462/

 

Lessen Fibromyalgia Pain with Mindfulness

Lessen Fibromyalgia Pain with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“You’ve heard the expression “mind over matter,” but did you know that it’s a tried-and-true approach to easing many conditions, including fibromyalgia?” – Madeline Vann

 

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. In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness Meditation for Fibromyalgia: Mechanistic and Clinical Considerations.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5693231/ ), Adler-Neal and Zeidan review and summarize the published research literature on the employment of mindfulness training for the relief of fibromyalgia symptoms.

 

They report that “mindfulness interventions . . . are generally premised on (a) developing sustained attention to arising sensory, affective, and cognitive events, (b) recognizing such experiences as momentary and fleeting, and (c) attenuating reactions/judgments to said experiences. Mindfulness training reliably improves catastrophizing, anxiety, depression, mood, and stress. Thus, improvements in mood and cognitive flexibility could lead to greater pain relief by altering the way patients interpret/contextualize pain-related ruminations.”

 

They report that the research finds that mindfulness training, especially if tailored for fibromyalgia, significantly improves fatigue, stress, sleep, pain, pain coping, positive emotions, family stress, loneliness and global well-being in fibromyalgia patients. In addition, these benefits appear to be sustained for at least 2 months after the completion of training. Hence, mindfulness training would appear to be a safe and effective treatment for fibromyalgia.

 

The improvements produced by mindfulness training appear to be mediated by changes in the nervous system. It heightens activity in the brain cortical areas that underlie the cognitional and emotional evaluation of pain and decreased activation of brain thalamic areas that process sensory information. Hence, mindfulness training appears to alter the brain to improve mechanisms underlying attention and emotions and decrease sensory sensitivity to pain. This can deaden pain itself plus improve the non-judgmental and non-reactive awareness of the pain, reducing the suffering of fibromyalgia pain.

 

People with fibromyalgia suffer to an extent where some contemplate suicide. It is wonderful to see that relatively simple and safe mindfulness training can effectively reduce the suffering.

 

So, lessen fibromyalgia pain with mindfulness.

 

“While being mindful did make them more aware of pain or a symptom of their condition, it also helped them be open to something good happening and they had the choice to focus on the good. Many people spoke of trying to negotiate a balance in their feelings,” – Jaqui Long

 

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

 

Adler-Neal, A. L., & Zeidan, F. (2017). Mindfulness Meditation for Fibromyalgia: Mechanistic and Clinical Considerations. Current Rheumatology Reports, 19(9), 59. http://doi.org/10.1007/s11926-017-0686-0

 

Abstract

Purpose of Review

Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread pain and a spectrum of psychological comorbidities, rendering treatment difficult and often a financial burden. Fibromyalgia is a complicated chronic pain condition that requires a multimodal therapeutic approach to optimize treatment efficacy. Thus, it has been postulated that mind-body techniques may prove fruitful in treating fibromyalgia. Mindfulness meditation, a behavioral technique premised on non-reactive sensory awareness, attenuates pain and improves mental health outcomes. However, the impact of mindfulness meditation on fibromyalgia-related outcomes has not been comprehensively characterized. The present review delineates the existing evidence supporting the effectiveness and hypothesized mechanisms of mindfulness meditation in treating fibromyalgia-related outcomes.

Recent Findings

Mindfulness-based interventions premised on cultivating acceptance, non-attachment, and social engagement may be most effective in decreasing fibromyalgia-related pain and psychological symptoms. Mindfulness-based therapies may alleviate fibromyalgia-related outcomes through multiple neural, psychological, and physiological processes.

Summary

Mindfulness meditation may provide an effective complementary treatment approach for fibromyalgia patients, especially when combined with other reliable techniques (exercise; cognitive behavioral therapy). However, characterizing the specific analgesic mechanisms supporting mindfulness meditation is a critical step to fostering the clinical validity of this technique. Identification of the specific analgesic mechanisms supporting mindfulness-based pain relief could be utilized to better design behavioral interventions to specifically target fibromyalgia-related outcomes.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5693231/