A new study has suggested that meditation is an effective therapy for sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis.
Devised by Dr Kabat-Zinn and colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a meditation programme that teaches participants to relate differently to thoughts and emotions. It works on the premise that continually focusing the mind on the present moment can increase clarity and calmness.
The study compared psychological and physical disease symptoms among MBSR participants with those among controls.
After six months, the MBSR had a significant 35 per cent reduction in psychological distress.
Study author Dr Elizabeth Pradhan: "The study demonstrated that for patients with rheumatoid arthritis under routine medical supervision, an 8-week MBSR class plus a 4-month maintenance program had beneficial effects, and that it was safe and appealing to participants.
"For doctors wishing to offer patients a complement to medical management, mindfulness meditation may offer hope for improving psychological distress and strengthening well-being in patients with rheumatoid arthritis."
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