meditation and fibromyalgia
My fibromyalgia comments:

Here's an article by Reuters below showing that meditation reduces a person's stress levels that in turn helps prevent fibromyalgia symptom flare-ups such as pain, fatigue, and poor sleep. If meditation does not work for you, find some other means to always manage your stress.

Meditation may help fibromyalgia patients

By Alan Mozes NEW YORK, Mar 14 (Reuters Health) - Meditation may be helpful in reducing the pain, fatigue and sleep deprivation experienced by patients who suffer from the poorly understood chronic condition known as fibromyalgia, according to researchers. "Medical treatments for fibromyalgia are inadequate--patients are on a variety of drugs none of which are particularly helpful--and this type of psycho-social intervention has provided a significant relief for a broad range of symptoms," said Dr. Sandra E. Sephton. Sephton and colleague Dr. Paul Salmon, both of the University of Louisville in Kentucky, presented their findings last week at the annual meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society in Monterey, California. Sephton and Salmon focused on the potential benefits of stress management among over 90 women diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a chronic pain syndrome that typically has no obvious explanation. While some women were assigned to a four-month group meditation stress-reduction program, others were randomly wait-listed and did not receive any training. Those in the group program were helped to develop a routine involving daily meditation lasting between 45 minutes to 1 hour on a 6 day per week basis. The study program was based on meditation techniques that have been developed and taught for over a decade at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Noting that individuals under stress tend to exhibit higher levels of the body's stress hormone cortisol--particularly on waking in the morning--the researchers took saliva samples to measure changing levels of cortisol over the course of the training. They found that those women who had participated in the group meditation sessions experienced a decrease in their cortisol levels by the conclusion of the program. The researchers also found that patients who meditated were less depressed, less sleep-deprived, and reported that their disorder had less of an impact on their lives than those women who did not meditate. Sephton and Salmon concluded that meditation can help fibromyalgia patients by both reducing stress and changing the way the body reacts to stressful situations. Sephton expressed optimism that fibromyalgia patients can benefit 24 hours a day from 1 hour of meditation in much the same way that 30 to 45 minutes of aerobic exercise is said to benefit the heart even at rest. "We looked at how your body responds to stress in general when you're not meditating," she noted. "And the research shows that meditation sort of dampens down your physiological response to stress even when you're not meditating. So you benefit the next time you're in traffic: instead of getting high blood pressure you deal with it better physiologically." Sephton cautioned, however, that meditation appears to only help those who are committed to a sustained practice of the stress-reduction techniques. "My hunch is that there are (going to) be people who are suited for this type of intervention and some who will not be. It's a very rigorous one hour a day meditation, requiring a lot of effort on the part of the patient," she said. "And it is only those people who use the techniques regularly who are the ones who showed this decrease in this regulatory stress response."


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