mindfulness

MS Cognitive Problems Can Ease With Rehab, Mindfulness Training

Two alternative treatments for the cognitive challenges people with multiple sclerosis (MS) can face in daily life — cognitive rehabilitation therapy (CRT) and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) — were found to helpful in a clinical trial. Patients randomized to either treatment approach in the REMIND-MS study had fewer…

Expert Voices: Pain management for people with multiple sclerosis

In this installment of our “Expert Voices” series, Multiple Sclerosis News Today asked Dawn Ehde, PhD, to answer some of your questions about pain management for people with multiple sclerosis. Ehde is a clinical psychologist and professor of rehabilitation medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle, where…

Using Trait Mindfulness Techniques May Help Reduce Depression in MS

Multiple sclerosis (MS) patients reported fewer difficulties regulating their emotions, and reduced depressive symptoms when they applied trait mindfulness techniques, a study showed. Trait mindfulness refers to an innate ability to pay and maintain attention to moments in the present with an open, non-judgmental attitude. Notably, the use of…

On Being Truly Thankful

Well, friends, we are coming to the end of 2020. Thanksgiving is next week, and believe it or not, Christmas is just around the corner. And while I can’t say I’m grateful for all the challenges this very weird and wacky year has presented me with, I remain so for…

How to Cope and Thrive During a Challenging Time

Living through this unique time is nothing like I’ve ever experienced before.  There’s so much doom and gloom around lately. I don’t know about you, but the constant government alerts and updates don’t feel like they’re helping me. It’s enough to drive me insane if I…

Study Will Explore Benefits of Tai Chi, Meditation on MS Patients’ Physical Balance

A pilot study has been launched to assess the immediate and enduring benefits of tai chi and mindfulness meditation on the physical balance and mental wellness of people with multiple sclerosis (MS). This community-based study — currently enrolling participants — is being conducted by the Motor Control Lab directed by Richard van Emmerik, PhD, professor of kinesiology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The project was awarded a $54,972 one-year grant from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. While many MS symptoms vary from patient to patient, depending on the extent and location of the damage in the brain and spinal cord, difficulty in maintaining physical balance is a generalized complaint. Several MS symptoms can have an effect on balance, including difficulties with coordination, tremor and muscle weakness, stiffness, or dizziness and vertigo. "Mind-body interventions are beneficial as they train dynamic balance, such as transitioning between postures, turning, reaching, etc., in a manner similar to movements in daily life," Julianna Averill, a doctoral student at van Emmerik’s lab, said in a press release. Postural control and balance confidence is crucial to prevent patients' falls and reduce their fear of falling. Finding strategies that help patients cope and overcome this limitation is crucial, Averill noted. Contrary to other studies, which focus on mental health benefits, this project will look mostly at the effects of mindfulness practice on physical balance. Tai chi also will be evaluated for its potential to improve patients’ balance, both while they are standing and as they move. Participants will be randomly assigned to either eight weeks of free tai chi at YMAA Western Mass Tai Chi or mindfulness meditation classes at Downtown Mindfulness, in Hampshire County, Massachusetts. Tai chi is a Chinese martial art that involves body stretching and slow, focused, flowing postures that keep the body in motion. Mindfulness meditation is based on mindfulness practices, including training on body scan meditation, and loving kindness meditation. Participants will attend classes for 2.5 hours per week, where they will receive training to complete an additional 2.5 hours at home each week. At home, participants are asked to listen to meditation podcasts, or watch tai chi videos via a website that also tracks their activity. “The participants will be trained, and they will be able to practice on their own,” Averill said. Patients' postural sway will be recorded by wearable sensors while performing distinct movements at the study start, at the end of all classes, and two weeks later. On the same visits, participants will be surveyed to assess the frequency of falls, balance confidence, level of fatigue, and ability to cope and adapt. “We’re taking a more holistic look, considering the whole person and overall quality of life,” Averill said. The team plans to enroll 30 participants with mild-to-moderate MS symptoms, aged 21 to 70, and who are able to stand and move without assistance for 15 minutes. For more information about the study and how to participate, contact Averill at [email protected].

Mindfulness: Putting Mind Over MS

Can you use your mind to attack your MS, just as you use things such as medications and physical therapy? Some people who believe in the benefits of mindfulness think you can, at least to some extent. Mindfulness is defined as “the basic human ability to be fully present, aware…

Mind Your Mind

I don’t know about you, but oftentimes my thoughts are as unruly and irrepressible as Mickey’s broomsticks in “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.” Whether I’m worried about the tingling in my left foot or the fact it took me five minutes to remember the word “expeditor,” there’s always some…

Building Toward Optimism: The ‘Tetris’ Effect

In the video game “Tetris,” players fit falling puzzle pieces together in order to create the most complete picture. As the game continues, the pieces fall faster. Creating order and cohesion out of chaos is necessary, as it is a common human desire. I never liked “Tetris,” but…

The Heart of It All and Healing from Within

“The very beating of your heart has meaning and purpose.” This is a quote from Andy Andrews in “The Butterfly Effect.” I have referenced this quote on several occasions. It speaks volumes because it affirms that we are here on purpose, not by chance. I did an…

Find Your Strength and Adjust Your Mindset

The second module in the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s positive psychology program, “Everyday Matters,” is called “Adjusting Our Mindset,” or “the fulcrum and the lever.” In science, the law of the lever states that power into the lever equals the power out, and the ratio of output to…

National MS Society Highlights Diet, Lifestyle Research Focusing on Living Well With Multiple Sclerosis

The National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society has selected research highlights from a recent MS conference in an effort to help make living with the disease less burdensome. Presentations from the May 24-27 annual meeting of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC) in New Orleans — which ranged from advice on smartphone apps to diet…

Multitasking vs. Mindfulness

The glory days of multitasking may be fading. More and more research points to the fact that our brains actually cannot multitask. Rather, the brain shifts rapidly (it’s all relative) back and forth between tasks as we attempt to do multiple activities at once. Like many people with MS,…

Barefoot Mindfulness: Mastering Stress and Change with MS

I often watched “The Brady Bunch” as a kid.  In one episode, Peter’s voice changes right before the talent show and he isn’t able to sing his chosen song. His replacement song has been playing on repeat in my head for two months! “When it’s time to change, you’ve got…