Mindfulness exercises, a form of complementary health intervention, can help reduce the stress and fatigue associated with rheumatoid joint disease, a Norwegian study has found.
Researchers from the rheumatology department at Oslo’s Diakonhjemmet Hospital looked at 73 patients with rheumatoid arthritis aged between 20 and 70 years.
Half took part in 10 group mindfulness exercises over 15 weeks plus a booster session at six months and half received standard care plus a CD containing similar exercises to carry out at home alone.
Mindfulness exercises encouraged participants to become aware of, and concentrate on, their feelings without judging or trying to avoid them.
Those that took part in group mindfulness exercises also joined in with guided imagery, music and drawing workshops.
At the end of the study, only three members of those partipating in group mindfulness workshops still had a stress score above 23, via the GHQ-20 questionnaire, compared with eight in the standard care group.
Fatigue levels also dropped significantly after six months in the mindfulness group but did not change significantly in those that received standard care.
The researchers said: “There is a need for complementary interventions that enhance individuals’ health-promoting resources and help them adjust to their disease.”
- Zangi H, et al. A mindfulness-based group intervention to reduce psychological distress and fatigue in patients with inflammatory rheumatic joint diseases: a randomised controlled trial. Annals of Rheumatic Diseases 2011; Advance online publication.