Meditation May Benefit People with MS

A new study has recently reported that meditation may help soothe and ease fatigue as well as depression in patients with multiple sclerosis or MS. People learning mindfulness meditation may help people deal with challenges that accompany MS such as fatigue, depression and anxiety.

The study conducted by researchers at the University of Basel Hospital in Switzerland involved 150 participants with mild to moderate MS. The participants were randomly assigned to take either an 8-week meditation training or the usual medical care for MS. The meditation class focused on performing mental as well as physical exercises aimed to develop non-judgmental awareness of the present moment, also known as mindfulness. The said training is composed of weekly classes that lasted two and a half hours in addition to a single all-day retreat and 40 minutes daily of homework assignments.

Participants who were part of the mindfulness meditation program showed very good attendance rates with 92 percent of them reporting high levels of satisfaction with the program. The same participants also showed improvements in nearly every measure of fatigue, depression and quality of life. In one example, those in the mindfulness meditation program showed a reduction of depressive symptoms by more than 30 percent compared to those who did not undertake the program. Those who received the usual medical care for MS declined a bit on most of the measures as well.

The vast improvements were particularly seen in the mindfulness meditation participants who had shown significant levels of fatigue and depression at the start of the study. About 65 percent of the participants in the meditation group showed serious levels of depression anxiety or fatigue at the beginning of the said study. It was eventually reduced by a third by the time the program ended up until six months later.

The details of the study is published on the September 28, 2010 issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Source: American Academy of Neurology. “Mindfulness Meditation May Ease Fatigue, Depression in Multiple Sclerosis.” ScienceDaily 28 September 2010. 29 September 2010 <http://www.sciencedaily.comĀ­ /releases/2010/09/100927162243.htm>

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