Posted on Jan 24, 2013, 6 a.m.
A type of meditation, known as mindfulness-based stress reduction, helps to relieve the inflammation response seen in arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and asthma.
Previous studies have suggested that psychological stress is a major influence in the symptoms of chronic inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and asthma. Melissa A. Rosenkranz, from the University of Wisconsin (Wisconsin, USA), and colleagues compared to methods of reducing stress: a mindfulness meditation-based approach, and a program designed to enhance health in non-meditative ways including exercise and music therapy. The team induced psychological stress to the subjects, and measured changes in immune and endocrine markers. The results showed that mindfulness meditation was more effective at reducing stress-induced inflammation. The study authors conclude that: "These results suggest behavioral interventions designed to reduce emotional reactivity may be of therapeutic benefit in chronic inflammatory conditions. Moreover, mindfulness practice, in particular, may be more efficacious in symptom relief than the well-being promoting activities cultivated in the [non-meditative] program.”
Melissa A. Rosenkranz, Richard J. Davidson, Donal G. MacCoon, John F. Sheridan, Ned H. Kalin, Antoine Lutz. “A comparison of mindfulness-based stress reduction and an active control in modulation of neurogenic inflammation.” Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, Volume 27, January 2013, Pages 174-184.