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ALS Worldwide
April 11, 2017

The Brilliance and Benefit of Meditation for Those With ALS

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"One way to strengthen oneself to face inner and outer problems is through practicing meditation. For ALS sufferers like me who are losing outer functionality, meditation can make one aware of an inner existence that does not depend upon outer circumstances. The ravages of ALS on the body become more tolerable in the awareness of this inner existence. Speaking for myself, I don’t think I could have remained as balanced and cheerful for the last fourteen years, if it had not been for my practice of meditation."

Snatak Eymundur Kjeld
Reykjavik, Iceland

Mindfulness meditation is associated with improvements in quality-of-life measures, depression, and anxiety over time compared with usual care in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), according to results reported in the European Journal of Neurology.

"Mindfulness has been reported by a couple of our studies as a relevant psychological aspect for the well-being of people with ALS. Being in the moment, aware, open, and with a flexible attitude is crucial to cope with the challenges that the disease may bring," lead investigator Francesco Pagnini, PsyD, PhD, from Catholic University of Milan, Italy, told Neurology Advisor.

Using a mindfulness-based stress reduction program modified for people with ALS, Dr. Pagnini and colleagues sought to evaluate the efficacy of mindfulness in improving quality-of-life measures in a group of patients with ALS.

The investigators conducted an open-label, randomized, controlled trial comparing an eight-week meditation training founded on the mindfulness-based stress reduction program and usual care in patients with ALS. The investigators found that meditation training was associated with improvements in the scores for overall quality of life as well as depression and anxiety. Improvements were also observed for trends in negative emotions and interactions in the meditation group.

The investigators acknowledged several limitations of the study, including the fact that the usual care group had no structured intervention as a comparison, and the meditation group may have shown improvement secondary to more attention. The researchers ultimately concluded that meditation "can be integrated in current multidisciplinary care and may represent a new way to enhance the [quality of life] in people with ALS."

"Being aware of how we are in a certain moment...dramatically increases well-being," Dr. Pagnini said. "Meditation practice, for those who are interested, can be a very helpful resource against stress and depressive thoughts. Furthermore, meditation teaches how to talk to the self, which can be used to improve acceptance of the lack of movements in advanced ALS stages."

To read the full article, please visit http://www.neurologyadvisor.com/…/meditation…/article/644722.

With a variety of different techniques to choose from, almost everyone can benefit from this practice. Anyone can begin meditating after just five minutes with the help of a free, friendly, simple app at http://stopbreathethink.org/index.html. This tool can guide you through meditations for mindfulness. It can be used online or downloaded as an app for Apple or Android mobile devices.

Even a few minutes a day can be beneficial to your mental health and can help keep you calm and focused. To learn more, please visit http://alsworldwide.org/care-and-s…/…/benefits-of-meditation.