A to Z of MS
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A to Z of MS Meditation and mindfulness
Meditation and mindfulness belong to a group of therapies known as complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).
There are various types of meditation, but it is generally described as a mental technique that requires inward focus and mental concentration. An individual may choose to practice meditation independently, perhaps with the guidance of a book, or attend meditation classes where various techniques may be taught to a group of individuals.
Where it is practiced correctly, meditation is said to induce a state of calm and mental clarity. Proponents of meditation frequently point to the therapeutic value of the 'relaxation response' that meditation helps to promote.
Though no formal studies have fully evaluated the effects of meditation in people with multiple sclerosis, other research has examined the effect it has on symptoms that are common to both MS and other conditions. Such studies have shown that meditation can help improve stress, anxiety, depression and various types of pain.
MindfulnessMindfulness is a related approach based on the Buddhist meditative tradition. In mindfulness an individual focusses non-judgmentally on the present moment. Mindfulness has been studied in MS where a trial inviolving 150 found that it led to improvements in depression, fatigue, anxiety and quality of life.
Complementary and Alternative Medicine and Multiple Sclerosis. 2nd ed.
New York: Demos Medical Publishing; 2007.
Grossman P, et al.
MS quality of life, depression, and fatigue improve after mindfulness training: a randomized trial.