Mindfulness and its role in reducing inflammation in auto immune disease.
A recent research study carried out at the University of Wisconsin-Madison found a link between the practice of mindfulness and reduced inflammation in auto immune disease.
Conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, sarcoidosis and asthma all feature increased inflammation causing pain and distress. In some cases disease activity results in disability, organ malfunction and a marked deterioration in quality of life.
At an intuitive level people who practice mindfulness report that it reduces their stress and pain levels.
Less stress in the system is believed to result in a decrease in the production of the stress hormone, Cortisol. Less Cortisol production, it seems may contribute to reduced inflammation. Less inflammation in chronic disease is very welcome news.
As an example, perhaps you have noticed that after a few days on vacation your pain level seems lower. You may have also recognised that soon after you return home you start to feel worse again. It is well known that pain and anxiety levels seem to increase during stressful periods.
The practice of mindfulness can help you accomplish what is important and necessary to you without increasing your stress levels. Living fully in the present moment has a positive effect on general wellbeing.
Increasingly, it is also believed that meditation has a positive effect on disease activity. This is particularly so when mindfulness is combined with a diet rich in antioxidants and appropriate exercise is taken. It is crucial to state that before starting an exercise routine you must seek medical advice. More research is needed to fully understand the positive effects of mindfulness on inflammation
Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), originally designed for patients with chronic pain, consists of continuously focusing attention on the breath, bodily sensations and mental content while seated, walking or practicing yoga.
Sheehan Brooke Psychology is undertaking a research pilot study which will attempt to investigate the effects of Mindfulness on wellbeing in patients having a diagnosis of auto immune disease.
To achieve their objective the organisation is running the 8 week MBCT/MBSR programme specifically for people who have a diagnosis of auto immune illness. It will commence at the beginning of March 2014.
The only requirement is that participants agree to have their inflammatory markers tested by their GP. This involves a simple blood test at the beginning of the study and again six months later. Full information is available from Sheehan Brooke Psychology.
The MBSR programme will take place at the Sheehan Brooke Clinic Nr Chichester, West Sussex. The eight week programme is completely free to participants who agree to take part in the pilot study.
Sheehan Brooke also welcome enquiries from chartered psychologists having a research background and training in mindfulness who are interested in conducting the research in other locations in the UK and US
If you are interested in learning the practice of mindfulness and have been diagnosed with an auto immune illness please do get in touch.
The research study will be led by consultant chartered psychologist Chrissie Tizzard.
Chrissie is also chartered scientist who has undergone training in mindfulness and has completed a research doctorate using quantative and qualitative methods at Roehampton University.
Sheehan Brooke provide a range of Mindfulness courses and longer retreats in the UK and Cyprus.
Sheehan Brooke Psychology 9, The Courtyard, Trident Business Park, Selsey, Chichester, West Sussex PO20 9TY. Telephone 01243 775055