Scientific research suggests that mindfulness meditation may improve mood, decrease stress, and boost immune function. Some IBD patients report that incorporating meditation into their therapy program – especially when the meditation includes some form of positive mental imagery – has had a calming effect on the body, and even relieved some of the tension experienced in the abdomen during flare-ups. Additionally, meditation affords us quiet time to reflect on the positive things occurring in our lives, which can be a welcome break from negatively fixating on the stress caused by the disease.
We have heard from IBD patients who regularly meditate because they believe it has a measurable effect on the frequency of their flare-ups. While none of these patients believe meditation is a cure for IBD, they report that the technique helps them manage stress and anxiety – two key triggers for IBD. However, we must note that these reports are anecdotal, and no clinical research to date has specifically focused on MBSR‘s ability to reduce the physical symptoms of IBD. However, MBSR has been scientifically shown to have a positive effect on the symptoms of other chronic diseases.
In summary, we recommend MBSR because (1) it has been scientifically shown to have positive physiological and psychological effects on practitioners, (2) it is a clinically significant form of therapy recognized by numerous highly reputable physicians, Ph.D. psychologists, and researchers, and (3) it is a simple and cost-effective modality (think “free,” unless you elect to sign up for a class that charges you to study under an expert).
Next Section: Examining the Science