Author(s): Astin JA, Bausell B, Lee W, Berman BM
OBJECTIVE: To test the short and longterm benefits of an 8 week mind-body intervention that combined training in mindfulness meditation with Qigong movement therapy for individuals with fibromyalgia syndrome (FM). METHODS: A total of 128 individuals with FM were randomly assigned to the mind-body training program or an education support group that served as the control. Outcome measures were pain, disability (Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire), depression, myalgic score (number and severity of tender points), 6 minute walk time, and coping strategies, which were assessed at baseline and at 8, 16, and 24 weeks. RESULTS: Both groups registered statistically significant improvements across time for the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire, Total Myalgic Score, Pain, and Depression, and no improvement in the number of feet traversed in the 6 minute walk. However, there was no difference in either the rate or magnitude of these changes between the mind-body training group and the education control group. Salutary changes occurring by the eighth week (which corresponded to the end of the mind-body and education control group sessions) were largely maintained by both groups throughout the 6 month followup period. CONCLUSION: While both groups showed improvement on a number of outcome variables, there was no evidence that the multimodal mind-body intervention for FM was superior to education and support as a treatment option. Additional randomized controlled trials are needed before interventions of this kind can be recommended for treatment of FM.