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The efficacy of mindfulness meditation plus Qigong movement therapy in the treatment of fibromyalgia

09 Feb

Somewhat surprisingly, a study out of The California Pacific Medical Center that compared mindfulness meditation and qigong with an education-support group intervention for fibromyalgia showed that they were about equally effective.

Researchers from the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute in San Francisco randomly assigned a total of 128 people with fibromyalgia (FM) to either an 8-week mind-body training program consisting of mindfulness meditation plus qigong movement therapy, or an education-support group.

Measures for pain, disability (Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire), depression, myalgic score (number and severity of tender points), 6 minute walk time, and coping strategies were assessed at baseline and at 8, 16, and 24 weeks.

Both groups registered statistically significant improvements over time for the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire, Total Myalgic Score, Pain, and Depression, and no improvement in the number of feet traversed in the 6 minute walk. However, there was no difference in either the rate or magnitude of these changes between the mind-body training group and the education control group.

Salutary changes occurring by the eighth week (which corresponded to the end of the mind-body and education control group sessions) were largely maintained by both groups throughout the 6 month followup period.

The study concludes that while both groups showed improvement on a number of outcome variables, there was no evidence that the multimodal mind-body intervention of mindfulness + qigong was superior to education and support as a treatment option. Additional randomized controlled trials are needed.

Citation: Astin JA, Berman BM, Bausell B, Lee WL, Hochberg M, Forys KL. The efficacy of mindfulness meditation plus Qigong movement therapy in the treatment of fibromyalgia: a randomized controlled trial. J Rheumatol. 2003 Oct;30(10):2257-62. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award