Potential Benefits of Mind-Body Methods for Arthritis

Arthritis is a detrimental disease that may cause both of the physical and psychological incapability of patients. Up to now no effective ‘disease-modifying’ cures have been found in conventional medicine. Alternative and complementary approaches such as mind-body medicine have been suggested to provide potential benefits in both physical and psychological aspects.

A recent pilot study evaluated the effects on physical fitness and psychosocial results from the I Can Move Again (ICMA) program (Prusak et al., 2014). A total of 6 female patients with arthritis joined a series of daily training program for 12 weeks. The mind-body methods included massage, mindfulness meditation, Tai Chi, and whole body vibration platform. Other activities included aerobic and anaerobic training, bounce-back chairs, resistance chairs, as well as rebounders.

The study found significant differences before and after the training in 27 of the 61-item questionnaire, including sit-ups, chair stand, and arm curl (Prusak et al., 2014). Other items of improvements included the speed, six-minute walk test distance, as well as rotation.

The study demonstrated the potential beneficial effects of mind-body methods on improving both physical and psychosocial outcomes among arthritis patients (Prusak et al., 2014). However, the study was done in a very small group to have statistically significant evidences.

More clinical trials with more participants among various groups of populations are necessary to assess the effects of mind-body approaches on the physical and psychosocial health in arthritis patients. It would also be interesting to compare the outcomes from different methods.

Reference:

Prusak K, Prusak K, Mahoney J. An integrated mind-body approach to arthritis: a pilot study. J Tradit Complement Med. 2014 Apr;4(2):99-107. doi: 10.4103/22254110.124364.

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