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.
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.