Health Tips: Mindfulness Meditation May Relieve Chronic Inflammation

People suffering from chronic inflammatory conditions in which psychological stress plays a major role—such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and asthma— may benefit from mindfulness meditation techniques according to a new study published in Brain, Behavior and Immunity.

While interest in meditation as a means of reducing stress has grown over the years, there has been little evidence to support benefits specific to mindfulness meditation practice. This was the first study designed to control for other therapeutic mechanisms, such as supportive social interaction, expert instruction, or learning new skills.

The study compared two methods of reducing stress: a mindfulness meditation-based approach, and a program designed to enhance health in ways unrelated to mindfulness. The results show that behavioral interventions designed to reduce emotional reactivity are beneficial to people suffering from chronic inflammatory conditions. The study also suggests that mindfulness techniques may be more effective in relieving inflammatory symptoms than other activities that promote well-being.