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Interesting study on mindful meditation and inflammation

PeterPositive

Senior Member
Messages
1,426
Just found this study and thought of sharing it here:
http://www.investigatinghealthyminds.org/pdfs/KalimanRapidPNEC.pdf

Summary:
A growing body of research shows that mindfulness meditation can alter neural,
behavioral and biochemical processes. However, the mechanisms responsible for such clinically
relevant effects remain elusive.

Conclusions:
The regulation of HDACs (histone deacetylases) and inflammatory pathways may represent some of the
mechanisms underlying the therapeutic potential of mindfulness-based interventions. Our findings
set the foundation for future studies to further assess meditation strategies for the treatment of
chronic inflammatory conditions.
Fascinating
Any meditators around here? :)
 

A.B.

Senior Member
Messages
3,780
Any meditators around here? :)

I've done it for years and found it helpful for mood and relaxation. It made no difference in physical symptoms. Eventually I stopped because it became difficult to concentrate. Looking back, there was also a negative side to it because it made me neglect physical symptoms in the belief that it was all a mental thing and could be solved on a mental level.
 
Messages
13,774
I like meditation, but think that there's some dodginess with the way mindfulness is being promoted at the moment. They seem to be dumping the moral core of it, and then treating it like the new CBT to be hyped for everything. I've not had a proper read of that paper, but am instinctively wary.
 

PeterPositive

Senior Member
Messages
1,426
I like meditation, but think that there's some dodginess with the way mindfulness is being promoted at the moment. They seem to be dumping the moral core of it, and then treating it like the new CBT to be hyped for everything. I've not had a proper read of that paper, but am instinctively wary.
I see what you mean, it happens with almost every new finding. Probiotics or Methylation support are good examples of similar remedies that are promoted for almost everything :)
 

Ema

Senior Member
Messages
4,729
Location
Midwest USA
I've been doing the Holosync program at night before bed. I think it helps me wind down and sleep better. I've not been patient enough to meditate on my own but I can seem to settle down to listen to the tracks.

There does seem to be quite a bit of upselling with the program (which can be irritating) but I have no problem resisting buying what I don't want.
 

hellytheelephant

Senior Member
Messages
1,137
Location
S W England
I have practiced for 5-6 years intermittently. One of the main problems I've found is that meditating requires energy and mental focus... which is not available when you feel like crap or fully crashed.

I was a twice daily meditator for about 20 years, then gave up when life got busy. I originally practised TM then learnt Buddhist meditation and then visualisation. I started again about 6 months ago and try to do 20 minutes daily.

I know exactly what you mean about not finding the energy when you feel absolutely terrible, and in pain. On a bad day or in flare-up I try to set the bar low and just lie flat and do a guided mediation from Youtube...and not beat myself up if I don't want to do it ( I never WANT to do it for some reason!). If I fall asleep, that's fine too.
For me Meditation is not about creating a cure, but rather, improving the quality of life.
 

PeterPositive

Senior Member
Messages
1,426
I was a twice daily meditator for about 20 years, then gave up when life got busy. I originally practised TM then learnt Buddhist meditation and then visualisation. I started again about 6 months ago and try to do 20 minutes daily.

I know exactly what you mean about not finding the energy when you feel absolutely terrible, and in pain. On a bad day or in flare-up I try to set the bar low and just lie flat and do a guided mediation from Youtube...and not beat myself up if I don't want to do it ( I never WANT to do it for some reason!). If I fall asleep, that's fine too.
For me Meditation is not about creating a cure, but rather, improving the quality of life.
Right on.
Indeed, when I have little energy or feel just super-bad I usually gravitate towards relaxation techniques more than actual meditation. The latter require energy to keep the mind focused which is not an easy job when it's a bad day.

Relaxation techniques such as autonomic training or guided visualizations are easier and more targeted at relieving the discomfort. They usually work, even if they don't make miracles. If I fall asleep it's already a miracle :D

cheers
 

xrunner

Senior Member
Messages
843
Location
Surrey
I must be an outlier because in the years that led me to coming down with ME/CFS/Lyme, in its various forms (sitting, walking, eating, body etc) mindfulness meditation was daily practice, for hours every day.
When I fell ill I tried to keep it up, mostly from my bed or on sofa but with some difficulty, due to brain fog, feeling wired all the time and lack of energy. Anyhow, in spite of that my health kept getting worse.
It wasn't even an effective cure for stress, anxiety or insomnia although I experienced relief from symptoms even though rather short-term.
In the meanwhile I also tried mindfulness-based CBT, the Kabat-Zinn programme, visualization and relaxation techniques, reverse therapy, the Gupta amygdala retraining but with no actual positive effects.
Eventually I gave it all up out of extreme frustration when my health got so worse with MCS.
I haven't done any kind of practice for six years now, time during which I started to recover.

PS
I actually believe it can potentially be a harmful exercise for those who are not well and stuck with an illness such as ME. If you follow the assumption that it all starts and ends in the mind, there's the danger of becoming a prisoner of you own mind. That's what happened to me anyhow and it felt horrible, feeling in a prison inside another prison. I felt I was about to be going mad and develop mental health problems at some stage.
 
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Maria1

Silence speaks volumes
Messages
139
Location
UK
I've been very lucky to have a great meditation teacher; I think this makes all the difference. For me, I think meditation has made a difference to sleep and general relaxation and wellbeing- all over positives. My teacher throws out lots of different techniques and helpful snippets so I can pick up bits that help and discard those that don't. I'm not sure what type of practice exactly but it seems to be in the same school as Jon Kabat Zinn, whose work I have also found helpful (As I understand it he was the starting point for mindfulness as a tool for chronic illness, but he is also critical of how its applied as a panacea by unskilled practitioners, particularly across the NHS).

As much as I feel a benefit, it's hard work to be disciplined and I'm rubbish at doing it on my own. I come and go with it, and have just started going back to classes again. Further on in my illness, I am less hard on myself with things, so skipping classes feels as much a benefit, if I don't feel up to attending, as attending when I want to. I can relate to people saying they feel worse concentrating on the body when the body's not feeling great.

I think it's worth exploring and doing if it feels good. It certainly feels good to me, almost trippy at times. Goodness knows I don't get many kicks these days and it's nice to get a buzz from something so natural.

I don't think ME is psychological, but I think it helps me to look after myself in every way I can right now. Meditation feels like exploring my relationship with the world in a very different way to how I always did. I find it comforting and relaxing. I also find that the more I practice, the easier I can get my body into a relaxed state for sleeping, and that's a major plus point.
 

ghosalb

Senior Member
Messages
136
Location
upstate NY
I have been trained by an oncologist turned meditation teacher...I was activity level 1-2....asked me to try lying down if necessary....the most important thing he insisted is that TM is not about focusing or concentrating but resting or relaxing your brain/mind so that you can really focus on task at hand later....for those with ME, we can rest physically but to rest our brain, we can use meditation.....I am doing it for 2 years and helped me almost every time....I can get instant energy, feel calm, relieve stress, sometimes even relieve mild fibro....only do 10-15 mins once or twice a day. If one falls asleep doing it, it is one of the signs that it is being done correctly.
 

L'engle

moogle
Messages
3,172
Location
Canada
I find just relaxing my mind and resting works more and takes less energy than a formal meditation practice. I don't have mental energy to spare and will usually spend it on things that distract or give me a window out of my thoughts. Creative visualization can be fun but mainly if I'm relaxed enough to begin with or partially asleep.
 

meandthecat

Senior Member
Messages
206
Location
West country UK
From my brief foray into mindfulness as used in the UK by health care providers I found the language restrictive and became wary of the implicit message, the subtext. It has been crafted into a psychological tool, or product, because it is marketed, by the same mindset that created CBT.

Call me a cynic and coming from a more eclectic age but I prefer less structured interventions into my psyche.
 

hellytheelephant

Senior Member
Messages
1,137
Location
S W England
Interesting article. I agree that 'Mcmindfulness' is being used as a treatment for all manner of ills, and is part of the trend to treating mental health problems in a group situation rather than providing 1-1 talking therapies. The cynic in me thinks that cost -cutting is at the heart of it. Mindfulness done with an appropriate level of depth is not a quick fix. There is a reason that Buddhists call mindful meditation 'a practice'.- it is a lifetime's work to learn how to do it.
 

JPV

ɹǝqɯǝɯ ɹoıuǝs
Messages
858
It's funny, I've tried meditation, off and on, for years now to no avail. I always chalked it up to (undiagnosed) ADHD making hard for me to stay still.

Now, seeing similar responses, from many other forum members that find it equally hard to engage in meditation, I wonder if something else might be going on. I suppose it could be lack of mental energy but that seems counterintuitive as you should be shutting down mental faculties during meditation. Or maybe I don't fully understand the process and it does take more mental energy than I realize.