The Effects of Mind-Body Medicine on Mindfulness and Quality of Life

Psychological stress has been associated with many chronic diseases. Such connections have suggested that holistic approaches that involve both of the mind and the body may be helpful in the prevention and treatment of the diseases.

Mind-body medicine (MBM) focuses on the interrelationships among the mind, body, behavior, and the environment in order to benefit both physical and mental functions to promote the overall wellbeing. An integrative MBM program may support flourishing and the development of human functioning and resilience (Gimpel et al., 2014). It may also enhance mindfulness, the sense of lucidity, as well as the quality of life (QOL).

A recent longitudinal cohort study done in Germany tested such ideas of integrative interventions among 48 patients using clinical outcomes as evidences in an outpatient clinical setting (Gimpel et al., 2014). The MBM program lasted 12 weeks with 7 hours of training each week. The total study lasted 18 weeks.

The researchers compared the conditions before and after the MBM program. The study found remarkable improvements in many aspects of psychological health, including the measurements of flourishing, mindfulness, and coherence (Gimpel et al., 2014).

The study also found that the MBM training led to the improvements of the connections between coherence and psychological health (Gimpel et al., 2014). In addition, interactions were identified between the different measurements including personal flourishing, mindfulness, and coherence.

Furthermore, the MBM intervention was related to lower level of suffering caused by the chronic diseases, better capacity of disease coping, as well as the promotion in the quality of life (Gimpel et al., 2014). These findings from an outpatient clinic provided the clinical evidences of the benefits of the mind-body interventions. More studies would be needed with larger groups of patients to examine the various aspects of the effectiveness in different chronic diseases.

Reference:

Gimpel C, von Scheidt C, Jose G, Sonntag U, Stefano GB, Michalsen A, Esch T. Changes and interactions of flourishing, mindfulness, sense of coherence, and quality of life in patients of a mind-body medicine outpatient clinic. Forsch Komplementmed. 2014;21(3):154-62. doi: 10.1159/000363784.

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