Study found symptoms reduced far more with meditation than with therapy
By Ellin Holohan, HealthDay Reporter
MONDAY, May 9 (HealthDay News) -- A simple meditation technique can help ease the torment suffered by people with a chronic bowel disease, a new study has found.
The research found that women with irritable bowel syndrome who practiced "mindful meditation" had more than a 38 percent reduction in symptoms, far surpassing a nearly 12 percent reduction for women who participated in a traditional support group.
Moreover, meditation helped reduce psychological distress and improved quality of life, the study found.
The practice, based on a Buddhist meditative technique, "empowers" patients to deal with an illness that is difficult to treat.
Mindful meditation helps practitioners relax by focusing on the moment, paying attention to breathing, the body and thoughts as they occur, without judgment.
"It's a different way of using the mind and being aware," said Palsson. He noted that more than 200 hospitals around the country offer the mindfulness meditation training program.
The technique takes discipline to learn, but "becomes second nature after a while," said Palsson, adding, "this is not a clinical treatment, it's more educational."
The study authors also noted that mindful meditation was inexpensive and widely available.
One expert praised the research results as original and powerful.
To learn more about mediation, visit the U.S. National Institutes of Health.