If you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome you probably know that there’s not much out there in the way of treatment and prevention. Sure you can change your diet and increase exercise, but unfortunately medicine and science haven’t been so quick to come up with a solution.
Some good news, however, is that mindfulness and meditation seem to be offering relief to many women afflicted with regular abdominal cramps, bloating, constipation and diarrhea, several symptoms indicative of IBS.
Amy Norton, in this latest Reuters post, discusses a recent research study of women with IBS who used mindfulness training to relieve their symptoms. According to the study, those women assigned to practice mindfulness meditation (which also included a gentle yoga practice and body focusing techniques) versus those only assigned to a support group, saw a decrease in symptoms over a three month period. One thought is that the mindfulness practice helped to relieve stress contributing to the IBS.
The researchers randomly assigned 75 women with IBS to either undergo the mindfulness training or attend an IBS support group once a week for eight weeks.
The training included lessons on meditation, gentle yoga postures and “body scanning,” in which people focus their attention on one body area at a time to detect muscle tension and other sensations.
Gaylord’s team found that three months after the therapy ended, women who’d undergone mindfulness training were faring better than the support group.
On average, their scores on a standard 500-point IBS symptom questionnaire fell by more than 100 points, with a 50-point drop considered a “clinically significant” improvement.
In contrast, women in the support group averaged a 30-point decline, according to results in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.
Read more on this study of mindfulness meditation and its practical use to relieve symptoms associated with IBS here.