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A one year follow-up of relaxation response meditation as a treatment for irritable bowel syndrome.

15 Aug

Ten of the thirteen original participants from the Relaxation Response pilot study with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) patients participated in a one year follow-up study, to determine whether the effects of Herbert Benson’s Relaxation Response Meditation (RRM) on IBS symptom reduction were maintained over the year.

From pre-treatment to one-year follow-up, significant reductions were noted for the symptoms of abdominal pain (p = 0.017), diarrhea (p = 0.045), flatulence (p = 0.030), and bloating (p = 0.018). When changes were examined from the original three month follow-up point, where the initial study ended, to the one year follow-up, significant additional reductions were noted in pain (p = 0.03) and bloating (p = 0.04), which tended to be the most distressing symptoms of IBS. The study tentatively concludes that: (1) continued use of meditation is particularly effective in reducing the symptoms of pain and bloating; and (2) RRM is a beneficial treatment for IBS in the both short- and the long-term.

Citation: Keefer L, Blanchard EB. A one year follow-up of relaxation response meditation as a treatment for irritable bowel syndrome. Behavioral Research & Therapy. 2002 May;40(5):541-6.

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