Meditation belongs 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. You may choose to practice meditation independently, perhaps with the guidance of a book or video, or attend meditation classes where you can be taught various techniques directly. Meditation instruction can also be delivered online.
When practised correctly, meditation is said to induce a state of calm and mental clarity, and to make practitioners more resilient and relaxed. Being relaxed and less stressed is thought to make it easier to deal with MS symptoms, and studies have shown that meditation can help improve quality of life, stress, anxiety, depression and various types of pain.
Some research into meditation and MS has investigated whether these benefits persist if you stop practising meditation, or if meditating has any long term effect on your MS disease course. The evidence at present is inconclusive. However, there are no reported side effects from practising meditation, so it is safe to try it out and see.
Mindfulness is a related approach based on the Buddhist meditative tradition.
- New York: Demos Medical Publishing; 2007. Complementary and Alternative Medicine and Multiple Sclerosis. 2nd ed.
- Behav Neurol. 2014;2014:916519 Full article Can Meditation Influence Quality of Life, Depression, and Disease Outcome in Multiple Sclerosis? Findings from a Large International Web-Based Study
- Mult Scler. 2018 Feb 1: Summary Online meditation training for people with multiple sclerosis: A randomized controlled trial.