Mindfulness of movement as a coping strategy in multiple sclerosis

Author: Mills N//Allen J
Affiliation: Clinical Psychologist and Course Tutor, South Wales Doctoral Course in Clinical Psychology, South Wales, UK
Conference/Journal: Gen Hosp Psychiatry
Date published: 2000
Other: Volume ID: 22 , Issue ID: 6 , Pages: 425-31 , Special Notes: Clinical Trial Randomized Controlled Trial , Word Count: 219

This study investigated the effectiveness of a short course of mindfulness of movement to help with symptom management in eight people with multiple sclerosis. Progress was compared to a control group who were asked to continue with their current care. Each participant received six individual one-to-one sessions of instruction. They were also provided with audio and videotape aides. Each participant was assessed on a test of balance, pre- and post-intervention, and at 3-month follow-up. All participants completed a rating of change of 22 symptoms relevant to multiple sclerosis. A close relative or friend was also asked to assess independently the degree of change. The mindfulness group reported improvement over a broad range of symptoms. This was verified by the relatives' independent rating and maintained at 3 month follow-up. The control group showed no improvement but instead tended towards a deterioration on many of the items. The physical assessment of balance also showed a significant improvement for the mindfulness group. This improvement was maintained at 3 month follow-up. In conclusion, training in mindfulness of movement appeared to result in improved symptom management for this group of people with multiple sclerosis. This was a pilot study, using small numbers, so the results need to be treated with caution. Several improvements to the experimental design are suggested. The role of individual therapeutic ingredients is discussed.