Mindfulness Training Can Relieve IBD Symptoms

Training in mindfulness-based techniques like meditation significantly improves mental health and quality of life for patients suffering from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Training in mindfulness-based techniques like meditation significantly improves mental health and quality of life for patients suffering from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

David Castle, MD, psychiatrist at St. Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne, Australia, remarked, “Our study provides support for the feasibility, acceptability, and effectiveness of a tailored mindfulness-based group intervention for patients with IBD.”

The research published in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases evaluated a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program for IBD patients included 60 adults with Crohn’s disease (CD) or ulcerative colitis (UC) for a mean of 11 years.

The MBSR intervention program comprised of eight weekly group sessions, a daylong intensive session, guided meditations, exercises, and group discussions regarding challenges and experiences. Furthermore, patients were encourages to practice “mindfulness meditation” at home.

Of the 37 patients who agreed to participate in the MSBR intervention, only 27 completed the program.

The researchers found that those completing the program significantly reduced their anxiety and depression scores, while simultaneously improving physical and psychological quality of life — the results still lasted six months later.

The study demonstrated how practical and accepted the MBSR approach was by IBD patients. Castle said, “This work reinforces the interaction between physical and mental aspects of functioning, and underscores the importance of addressing both aspects in all our patients.”

The team acknowledged that further work is necessary to better understand whether mindfulness techniques can help reduce IBD symptoms and relapses.