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J Altern Complement Med. 2010 Jun;16(6):627-31. doi: 10.1089/acm.2009.0372.

Intensive meditation for refractory pain and symptoms.

Author information

  • 1Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA. madhav@jhmi.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The objective of this study was to assess patient interest in intensive meditation training for chronic symptoms.

DESIGN AND SETTING:

This was a cross-sectional anonymous survey among six chronic disease clinics in Baltimore including Chronic Kidney Disease, Crohn's Disease, Headache, Renal Transplant Recipients, General Rheumatology, and lupus clinic.

SUBJECTS:

Subjects were 1119 consecutive patients registering for their appointments at these clinics.

OUTCOME MEASURES:

Outcome measures were 6-month pain, global symptomatology, four-item perceived stress scale, use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies, and attitudes toward use of meditation for managing symptoms. We then gave a scripted description of an intensive, 10-day meditation training retreat. Patient interest in attending such a retreat was assessed.

RESULTS:

Seventy-seven percent (77%) of patients approached completed the survey. Fifty-three percent (53%) of patients reported moderate to severe pain over the past 6 months. Eighty percent (80%) reported use of some CAM therapy in the past. Thirty-five percent (35%) thought that learning meditation would improve their health, and 49% thought it would reduce stress. Overall, 39% reported interest in attending the intensive 10-day meditation retreat. Among those reporting moderate to severe pain or stress, the percentages were higher (48% and 59%). In a univariate analysis, higher education, nonworking/disabled status, female gender, higher stress, higher pain, higher symptomatology, and any CAM use were all associated with a greater odds of being moderately to very interested in an intensive 10-day meditation retreat. A multivariate model that included prior use of CAM therapies as predictors of interest in the program fit the data significantly better than a model not including CAM therapies (p = 0.0013).

CONCLUSIONS:

Over 50% of patients followed in chronic disease clinics complain of moderate to severe pain. Patients with persistent pain or stress are more likely to be interested in intensive meditation.

PMID:
20569029
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3110811
Free PMC Article

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