The widespread pain of fibromyalgia is hard to treat, but a small clinical study published in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics shows that meditation may deliver lasting benefits. 39 women with fibromyalgia attended the 8 week MBSR Programme, focusing on deepening mind-body awareness and cultivating acceptance of parts of their condition that they were unable to control. At the end of the Course – and at a three-year follow-up – the women in the Mindfulness group coped better with pain than those whose classes included relaxation training and exercise.
The MBSR Programme included elements on managing stressful situations, which National Fibromyalgia Association senior medical adviser Patrick Wood M.D. considers important. “Fibromyalgia pain is often triggered by some sort of stressor” he says, “so learning to handle stress better can make a big difference in terms of symptom experience”