In recent studies, researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine have found that meditation often benefits those suffering with rheumatoid arthritis.
Meditation which has proved to be a great stress buster can also reduce some symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, according to researchers at the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore.
The study of the therapeutic properties of meditation has revealed its association with reduced cardiovascular risk factors, decreased psychological distress and improved sleep patterns.
Support for this approach has grown, thanks to research suggesting that programs like the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, which incorporates meditation, yoga and relaxation exercises, may lead to these beneficial results.
To more definitively assess the effect of MBSR in reducing psychological distress and rheumatoid arthritis disease activity, researchers conducted a study among 63 predominately female rheumatoid arthritis patients.
All participants were asked to attend assessment sessions at the time they joined the study, two months later and again six months later.
The assessments included an examination by a rheumatologist for tender and swollen joints, completion of a self-report questionnaire to monitor psychological distress and a blood test to measure erythrocyte sedimentation rate, a non-specific test of inflammation.
All participants remained under the regular care of their rheumatologists during the study and continued with their normally prescribed medications.
"While physicians have treated rheumatoid arthritis competently with a range of effective medications, this study
shows that mindfulness-based stress reduction may complement that therapy and provide additional benefit to people with this disease," said Elizabeth Kimbrough Pradhan, MPH, co-investigator of the study led by Brian Berman, MD, at the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Maryland
School of Medicine, Baltimore.
Doctors may wish to recommend a meditation-based program to patients in addition to the medication regimen already prescribed," she added.
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