Those with fibromyalgia often suffer from things like sleep disorders, cognitive issues, and emotional problems that go along with the chronic pain and tender point tenderness so commonly seen in patients suffering from fibromyalgia and other chronic pain syndromes.
Many of these individuals have never heard of mindfulness therapy and mindfulness techniques that can actually be very useful in overcoming pain, emotional distress, and cognitive issues seen in fibromyalgia.
Often pain medications and other Western medical therapies fail for fibromyalgia patients because they don’t address the overall picture of what’s going on with this complex disease. Instead, these people need a holistic approach that involves alternative therapies and techniques, and that take the entire patient and their symptoms into account. This is where mindfulness therapy can be very appropriate.
What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness focuses on here and now issues and attempts to draw away from past traumas, past issues, and worries about the future. In mindfulness, all that is happening is accepted and embraced as part of the living condition. In many ways, mindfulness can reduce the common symptoms of depression and anxiety, which are part and parcel of what it means to be a fibromyalgia patient.
Mindfulness can be practiced by anyone with or without emotional difficulties and is a good approach to life in general. It is all about acceptance of what is and not focusing on anything other than what is directly felt, heard, seen or experienced by the individual, regardless of their mental and emotional state.
The Purpose Of Mindfulness
The whole point of mindfulness and mindfulness therapy is the acceptance of how you feel, including the physical symptoms and mental symptoms you are experiencing. This is done on a moment-to-moment basis so that you are focusing on what is around you and within you rather than what has happened to you in the past or might happen to you in the future.
Mindfulness is all about being nonjudgmental and accepting the feelings that exist no matter how they exist.
In mindfulness, you are allowed to have the feelings, whether they are physical or emotional feelings, and then you can let them go. It results in less rumination over the physical problems that face fibromyalgia patients as well as the emotional trauma going on inside your mind.
Mindfulness therapy has been found in research studies to be extremely helpful in people who have cognitive and emotional pain syndromes including fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and irritable bowel syndrome. These patients often suffer from symptoms that are very resistant to standard pain therapies and have symptoms that are considered medically unexplainable.
One Research Study
Researchers have been studying mindfulness therapy for people with somatization problems such as irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome for many years. In one study, researchers combined the results of many different smaller studies and discovered that, for the most part, mindfulness therapy can reduce stress and the perception of pain in patients suffering from fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome (which often goes along with fibromyalgia), and chronic fatigue syndrome (which can also be part of the fibromyalgia picture).
Some of the studies conflicted with one another but the researchers felt it was due to the multitude of ways the earlier studies were performed. Some of the older studies didn’t include control groups that were adequate so the placebo effect may have taken place, allowing other therapies to be just as useful as mindfulness therapies in the management of these chronic pain conditions.
The study showed, in particular, a reduction in anxiety when the individuals practiced the techniques used in mindfulness therapy. Anxiety is a common problem in patients with fibromyalgia and was relieved when mindfulness techniques were employed when compared to placebo treatments. Things like quality of life, depression, and fatigue were also found to be lessened when mindfulness was practiced.
Keys To The Effectiveness Of Mindfulness Therapy
The important factor to remember when it comes to mindfulness therapy is that acceptance is what it is all about. The symptoms themselves do not change but your perception of and acceptance of the symptoms is what actually changes.
When you learn how to accept the symptoms for what they are, you begin to cope better and your quality of life improves. The depression and anxiety experienced by fibromyalgia sufferers can be lessened by refusing to ruminate on them.