Mind-Body Study Finds Positive Results for Women Suffering with Fibromyalgia

Wednesday, August 25, 2010 by: Christine Roberts
Tags: fibromyalgia, mind-body medicine, health news

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(NaturalNews) A recent clinical mind body study has come up with promising results for fibromyalgia patients. The study observed the use of affective self awareness therapy on 45 female patients diagnosed with the condition. The study was led by Dr. Howard Schubiner who developed the therapy. The therapy focuses on determining the connection between patients' emotions and the physical pain they are experiencing. Dr Schubiner is the founder and director of the Mind Body Medicine Program at Providence Hospital in Southfield, Michigan.

During the study 45 woman were divided into two groups. One group underwent affective self awareness therapy while the other was subject to a wait list, acting as a control group. The women undergoing therapy all had a one-on-one consultation. They were then taught in 3 different group sessions techniques that they could use to become more aware of their emotional connections to their pain. The techniques included meditation, mindfulness and "expressive" journaling. They were also encouraged to exercise and get back to doing activities they enjoyed before the chronic pain and discomfort of fibromyalgia.

It is estimated that fibromyalgia disrupts the lives of over 5 million people in the U.S. with the greater number being middle aged woman. Fibromyalgia is a condition which causes pain and discomfort on a minimum of 11 out of 18 specific "tender points" in the body. The discomforts can include sleep disturbances, fatigue, overall body aches and irritable bowel. Traditional treatment methods for fibromyalgia have included exercise, cognitive-behavioural therapy, antidepressants and pain relievers. The specific cause of fibromyalgia remains unknown. Previous studies have found that people diagnosed with the condition in comparison to those who are not have experienced more stressful life experiences. These include situations like childhood abuse, heavy responsibilities at an early age, marital issues and raised employment stress. There is also supportive evidence to suggest that they are less aware of their own emotions and how they express them. This can lead to additional damage to themselves and those around them.

The small 6 month study was the first one to test the useful effects of affective self awareness on fibromyalgia patients. It was found that 46 percent of the women in the treatment group were able to reduce their pain and discomfort by thirty percent using the affective self awareness therapy where as the wait list group did not show comparable pain reduction.

Due to the study's limited size and the general model for understanding being controversial Dr. Howard Schubiner said that he and his colleagues have applied for funding to conduct a larger clinical trial. The larger study will compare affective self-awareness therapy with standard cognitive behavioural therapy.

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About the author

Christine Roberts is a certified Natural Health Consultant who enjoys yoga, healing arts, heirloom gardening and writing. She provides resources, inspiration and support to those seeking holistic guidence. She offers help in person as well as through her online site in a means to encourage everyone to live their best lives naturally. She also works full time as an eco friendly cleaning technician.

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