In a new study, rheumatoid arthritis patients reported less psychological distress after practicing meditation for six months, compared with RA patients who didn’t get meditation training during that time.
Meditation didn’t cure RA or erase the joint disease’s physical symptoms, but it appeared to help the patients deal with those symptoms, according to the researchers, who studied 63 adults with RA.
The patients were randomly split into two groups. One group took an eight-week class in mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and members were asked to practice meditation at home for 45 minutes per day, six days a week. The other group of RA patients in the study was listed for a free MBSR training program held after the study concluded.
After two months, the groups reported similar reductions in psychological distress. But at the end of the six-month study, those benefits continued only for patients in the meditation group, who cut their psychological distress 35%.