Tai Chi Practice Improves the Symptoms of Multiple Diseases

Tai Chi Practice Improves the Symptoms of Multiple Diseases

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“In addition to easing balance problems, and possibly other symptoms, tai chi can help ease stress and anxiety and strengthen all parts of the body, with few if any harmful side effects.” Peter Wayne

 

Tai Chi is an ancient mindfulness practice involving slow prescribed movements. It is gentle and completely safe, can be used with the elderly and sickly, 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 also be practiced in social groups without professional supervision. This can make it fun, improving the likelihood of long-term engagement in the practice. Indeed, studies have shown that Tai Chi practice is effective in improving the symptoms of many different diseases. The evidence is accumulating. So, it makes sense to step back and summarize what has been learned about the effectiveness of different Tai Chi practices for different disease conditions.

 

In today’s Research News article “.Clinical Evidence of Tai Chi Exercise Prescriptions: A Systematic Review” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7972853/ ) Huang and colleagues review and summarize the published randomized controlled trials on the effectiveness of different Tai Chi practices for different disease conditions. They identified 139 published randomized controlled trials utilizing a number of different Tai Chi styles and numbers of forms. Yang style was by far the most frequent style and 24 forms was the most frequent number of forms employed.

 

They report that the published research found that Tai Chi practice produced significant improvement in the symptoms of musculoskeletal system or connective tissue diseases such as osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, and chronic low back pain.; on circulatory system diseases such as hypertension, stroke, coronary heart disease, and chronic heart failure; on mental and behavioral disorders such as depression, cognitive impairment, and intellectual disabilities; on nervous system diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, dementia, and sleep disorders; on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); on endocrine, nutritional, or metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome; on the physical and mental state of cancer patients, and on traumatic brain injury and urinary tract disorders; on balance control and flexibility and falls in older adults.

 

These are remarkable findings. Tai Chi practice appears to be a safe and effective treatment for the symptoms of a wide variety of diseases. It doesn’t cure the disease. Rather if alleviates the symptoms. It is not known the mechanisms by which Tai Chi has these benefits. Future research needs to further explore what facets or effects of Tai Chi practice are responsible for the disease symptom improvements.

 

So, Tai Chi practice improves the symptoms of multiple diseases.

 

Tai Chi and Qigong are evidence-based approaches to improve health-related quality of life, and they may be effective for a range of physical health conditions.” – Ryan Abbott

 

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

 

Huang, J., Wang, D., & Wang, J. (2021). Clinical Evidence of Tai Chi Exercise Prescriptions: A Systematic Review. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM, 2021, 5558805. https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/5558805

 

Abstract

Objectives

This systematic review aims to summarize the existing literature on Tai Chi randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and recommend Tai Chi exercise prescriptions for different diseases and populations.

Methods

A systematic search for Tai Chi RCTs was conducted in five electronic databases (PubMed, Cochrane Library, EMBASE, EBSCO, and Web of Science) from their inception to December 2019. SPSS 20.0 software and Microsoft Excel 2019 were used to analyze the data, and the risk of bias tool in the RevMan 5.3.5 software was used to evaluate the methodological quality of RCTs.

Results

A total of 139 articles were identified, including diseased populations (95, 68.3%) and healthy populations (44, 31.7%). The diseased populations included the following 10 disease types: musculoskeletal system or connective tissue diseases (34.7%), circulatory system diseases (23.2%), mental and behavioral disorders (12.6%), nervous system diseases (11.6%), respiratory system diseases (6.3%), endocrine, nutritional or metabolic diseases (5.3%), neoplasms (3.2%), injury, poisoning and certain other consequences of external causes (1.1%), genitourinary system diseases (1.1%), and diseases of the eye and adnexa (1.1%). Tai Chi exercise prescription was generally classified as moderate intensity. The most commonly applied Tai Chi style was Yang style (92, 66.2%), and the most frequently specified Tai Chi form was simplified 24-form Tai Chi (43, 30.9%). 12 weeks and 24 weeks, 2-3 times a week, and 60 min each time was the most commonly used cycle, frequency, and time of exercise in Tai Chi exercise prescriptions.

Conclusions

We recommend the more commonly used Tai Chi exercise prescriptions for different diseases and populations based on clinical evidence of Tai Chi. Further clinical research on Tai Chi should be combined with principles of exercise prescription to conduct large-sample epidemiological studies and long-term prospective follow-up studies to provide more substantive clinical evidence for Tai Chi exercise prescriptions.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7972853/

 

Control Chronic Pain with Mindfulness

Control Chronic Pain with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindfulness is not like traditional painkillers, which are intended to dull or eliminate pain. While many experts recommend mindfulness-based practices to manage pain, the goal of those practices is typically not to remove pain entirely, but to change your relationship with it so that you are able to experience relief and healing in the middle of uncomfortable physical sensations.” – Andrea Uptmor

 

We all have to deal with pain. It’s inevitable, but hopefully it’s mild and short lived. For a wide swath of humanity, however, pain is a constant in their lives. At least 100 million adult Americans have chronic pain conditions. The most common treatment for chronic pain is drugs. These include over-the-counter analgesics and opioids. But opioids are dangerous and highly addictive. Prescription opioid overdoses kill more than 14,000 people annually. So, there is a great need to find safe and effective ways to lower the psychological distress and improve the individual’s ability to cope with the pain.

 

There is an accumulating volume of research findings that demonstrate that mindfulness practices, in general, are effective in treating pain. Mindfulness appears to work by changing how the patient relates to pain rather than actually reducing or eliminating the pain. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is directed to change thought patterns and has also been shown to be an effective therapy for chronic pain. What is not known is the most effective treatment for chronic pain. The evidence has been accumulating. So, it makes sense to step back and summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Differential efficacy between cognitive-behavioral therapy and mindfulness-based therapies for chronic pain: Systematic review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7753033/ ) Pardos-Gascón and colleagues review and summarize the published randomized clinical trials of the effectiveness of mindfulness-based and cognitive-behavioral treatments for chronic pain. They identified 18 published randomized clinical trials.

 

They report that the published studies found that mindfulness-based treatments produced significant reductions in symptoms and impact of the pain on the patients’ lives for patients with fibromyalgia, low back pain, and headache. There were few studies that compared mindfulness-based treatment to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) but the few that did, did not find significant differences in effectiveness. It is clear that more direct comparisons are needed. Regardless, mindfulness-based treatments are effective for chronic pain.

 

So, control chronic pain with mindfulness.

 

Daily mindfulness practice can be helpful for people living with chronic pain because sometimes there are negative or worrisome thoughts about the pain. These thoughts are normal, and can affect mood and increase pain. Being able to focus on relaxing the body, noticing the breath and body sensations as being there just as they are, can help manage pain, as well as reduce depression and anxiety symptoms.” – Andrea Neckar

 

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

 

Pardos-Gascón, E. M., Narambuena, L., Leal-Costa, C., & van-der Hofstadt-Román, C. J. (2021). Differential efficacy between cognitive-behavioral therapy and mindfulness-based therapies for chronic pain: Systematic review. International journal of clinical and health psychology : IJCHP, 21(1), 100197. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijchp.2020.08.001

 

Abstract

Background/Objective: To assess the differential efficacy between mindfulness-based interventions and cognitive-behavioral Therapy (CBT) on chronic pain across medical conditions involving pain. Method: ProQuest, Science Direct, Google Scholar, Pubmed, and Embase databases were searched to identify randomized clinical trials. Measurements of mindfulness, pain, mood, and further miscellaneous measurements were included. Results: 18 studies met the inclusion criteria (fibromyalgia, n = 5; low back pain, n = 5; headache/migraine, n = 4; non-specific chronic pain, n = 4). In fibromyalgia, mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) was superior to the usual care and Fibroqol, in impact and symptoms. In low back pain, MBSR was superior to the usual care, but not to CBT, in physical functionality and pain intensity. There were no studies on differential efficacy between mindfulness and CBT for headache and non-specific chronic pain, but Mindfulness interventions were superior to the usual care in these syndromes. Conclusions: Mindfulness interventions are superior to usual cares in all diagnoses, but it is not possible to conclude their superiority over CBT. Comparisons between mindfulness interventions are scarce, with MBSR being the most studied. In central sensitization syndromes, variables associated with pain tend to improve with treatment. More research is needed to differentiate diagnosis and intervention.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7753033/

 

Change the Brain to Improve Fibromyalgia with Tai Chi

Change the Brain to Improve Fibromyalgia with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“tai chi appears to be as effective or better for managing fibromyalgia . . .  and patients are more likely to attend tai chi classes than aerobic exercise sessions.” – NCCIH

 

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 fibromyalgiaTai Chi 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.

 

In general, mindfulness practices both produce psychological and physical benefits and also change the structure and connectivity of the brain. Indeed, Tai Chi practice has been shown to improve the symptoms of fibromyalgia. So, Tai Chi may be beneficial for fibromyalgia by altering the brain systems involved in the disorder.

 

In today’s Research News article “Altered resting state functional connectivity of the cognitive control network in fibromyalgia and the modulation effect of mind-body intervention.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6214794/ ) Kong and colleagues recruited adult patients with fibromyalgia and a group of age, gender, and body size matched controls. The fibromyalgia patients received Tai Chi practice twice a week for 1-hour for 12 weeks. All participants underwent functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) of their brains before and after the 12-week period and also completed measures of depression, and fibromyalgia impact, including function, overall impact, and symptom severity.

 

They found that after Tai Chi training there was a significant improvement in the fibromyalgia patients’ depression, and fibromyalgia impact, including function, overall impact, and symptom severity. They examined a set of connected brain structures (frontal gyrus, parietal gyrus, and anterior cingulate cortex) called the cognitive control network. At baseline, the fibromyalgia patients had significantly greater levels of resting functional connectivity between the structures in this network. After 12 weeks of Tai Chi practice the functional connectivity between the structures in the cognitive control network were further significantly increased. In addition, they found that the greater the increase in functional connectivity the greater the improvement in overall fibromyalgia symptoms.

 

The ability of Tai Chi to improve the symptoms of fibromyalgia has been documented preciously. The contribution of the present study is to document the differences in the brains of fibromyalgia patients and healthy people and the changes in the brain of these patients that occur with Tai Chi practice. In particular the cognitive control network had increased functional connectivity in these patients and that connectivity increased significantly after Tai Chi practice. This may indicate the neural mechanism by which Tai Chi practice improves fibromyalgia symptoms. The fact that the amount of connectivity change was associated with the degree of improvement, supports this inference.

 

The baseline difference in connectivity may indicate that the way the patients’ brains adapted to help deal with the impact of fibromyalgia and Tai Chi practice further improved this adaptation. The cognitive control network is involved in high level thinking, attention, and executive control. Hence, these patients may be employing high level thought processes including the allocation of attention to help deal with the disease and Tai Chi practice further improves their ability to do this. It has been shown that attention to the pain in the present moment while not thinking about its past occurrences or worrying about the future reduces the severity of the pain. This may be what the brain is doing to help cope with fibromyalgia symptoms; using attention to mitigate the pain.

 

So, change the brain to improve fibromyalgia with Tai Chi

 

subjects with fibromyalgia, reported benefits (compared with control groups or before/after comparisons) of Tai Chi in core symptom domains for this condition (pain, sleep, impact, physical function and mental function).” – Jana 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

 

Kong, J., Wolcott, E., Wang, Z., Jorgenson, K., Harvey, W. F., Tao, J., Rones, R., & Wang, C. (2019). Altered resting state functional connectivity of the cognitive control network in fibromyalgia and the modulation effect of mind-body intervention. Brain imaging and behavior, 13(2), 482–492. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11682-018-9875-3

 

Abstract

This study examines altered resting state functional connectivity (rsFC) of the cognitive control network (CCN) in fibromyalgia patients as compared to healthy controls, as well as how effective interventions, such as Tai Chi, can modulate the altered rsFC of the CCN. Patients with fibromyalgia and matched healthy subjects were recruited in this study. Fibromyalgia patients were scanned 12 weeks before and after intervention. The bilateral dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) was used as a seed to explore the rsFC of the CCN. Data analysis was conducted with 21 patients and 20 healthy subjects. Compared to healthy subjects, fibromyalgia patients exhibited increased rsFC between the DLPFC and the bilateral rostral anterior cingulate cortex (rACC) and medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) at baseline. The rsFC between the CCN and rACC/MPFC further increased after Tai Chi intervention, and this increase was accompanied by clinical improvements. This rsFC change was also significantly associated with corresponding changes in the Overall Impact domain of the Revised Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQR). Further analysis showed that the rACC/MPFC rsFC with both the PAG and hippocampus significantly decreased following Tai Chi intervention. Our study suggests that fibromyalgia is associated with altered CCN rsFC and that effective treatment may elicit clinical improvements by further increasing this altered rsFC. Elucidating this mechanism of enhancing the allostasis process may deepen our understanding of the mechanisms underlying mind-body intervention non-pharmacological treatment of fibromyalgia and facilitate the development of new pain management methods.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6214794/

 

Poor Mental Health in Patients with Fibromyalgia is Associated with Brain Systems

Poor Mental Health in Patients with Fibromyalgia is Associated with Brain Systems

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

practicing mindfulness techniques may be a low-cost, side effect free option for people wishing to reduce the severity of their fibromyalgia.” – Kim Jones

 

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. Brain systems are involved in pain processing. It is not known, however, what brain systems may be involved in the psychological effects of fibromyalgia.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Bed Nucleus of the Stria Terminalis as a Brain Correlate of Psychological Inflexibility in Fibromyalgia.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7074535/ ) Feliu-Soler and colleagues recruited adult women who were diagnosed with fibromyalgia and assigned them to either treatment as usual or to receive and 8-week program of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). They were measured before and after the program for psychological inflexibility in pain, functional impairment, anxiety, depression, perceived stress, pain catastrophizing, mindfulness, and self-compassion. They also underwent measurements of the gray matter volume in the brain with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).

 

They found that the higher the levels of psychological inflexibility in pain, the higher the gray matter volume of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST). Further they found that the higher the gray matter volume of the BNST the higher the levels of functional impairment, anxiety, depression, perceived stress, and pain catastrophizing and the lower the levels of mindfulness and self-compassion. The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program did not significantly alter the BNST volume or psychological inflexibility in pain.

 

These results are correlative and as such caution must be exercised in causal inferences. It was disappointing that mindfulness training did not produce a change in either psychological inflexibility or BNST volume. But the results are clear that the gray matter volume of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) is associated with poor mental health in patients with fibromyalgia. This brain structure is associated with physiological and psychological responses to stress. Since, the constant pain associated with fibromyalgia is very stressful it is not surprising that enlargement of the BNST would be associated with poor mental health in these patients.

 

So, poor mental health in patients with fibromyalgia is associated with brain systems.

 

being overly observant of symptoms or trying to avoid pain can actually contribute towards the development of fibromyalgia and worsen the existing symptoms. Mindfulness practice can actually change the way you relate to your pain, . . the mindfulness group showed less avoidant and hypervigilance behaviour, supporting the idea that mindfulness encourages a non-judgemental and accepting relationship with pain, rather than trying to push it away.” – Vidyamala Burch

 

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

 

Feliu-Soler, A., Martínez-Zalacaín, I., Pérez-Aranda, A., Borràs, X., Andrés-Rodríguez, L., Sanabria-Mazo, J. P., Fayed, N., Stephan-Otto, C., Núñez, C., Soriano-Mas, C., & Luciano, J. V. (2020). The Bed Nucleus of the Stria Terminalis as a Brain Correlate of Psychological Inflexibility in Fibromyalgia. Journal of clinical medicine, 9(2), 374. https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9020374

 

Abstract

This study explored the brain structural correlates of psychological flexibility (PF) as measured with the Psychological Inflexibility in Pain Scale (PIPS) in patients with fibromyalgia (FM). Structural magnetic resonance imaging data from 47 FM patients were used to identify Gray Matter Volume (GMV) alterations related to PIPS scores. Brain GMV clusters related to PIPS were then correlated with clinical and cognitive variables to further explore how emerged brain clusters were intertwined with FM symptomatology. Longitudinal changes in PIPS-related brain clusters values were assessed by studying pre–post data from 30 patients (15 allocated to a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program and 15 to treatment-as-usual). Changes in PIPS-related brain clusters were also explored in participants showing greater/lower longitudinal changes in PIPS scores. PIPS scores were positively associated with GMV in a bilateral cluster in the ventral part of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST). Significant associations between BNST cluster with functional impairment, depressive symptomatology, perceived stress and the nonjudging mindfulness facet were observed. Participants reporting greater pre–post increases in PIPS scores showed greater increases in BNST cluster values. These findings contribute to the understanding on the neurobiological bases of PF in FM and encourage further explorations of the role of the BNST in chronic pain.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7074535/

 

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/