Meditation Can Help CIDP Inflammation
Meditation is showing promise in reducing markers of chronic inflammation in people with autoimmune diseases.
By Shiraz Abbas
Meditation is often associated with calmness of mind but studies are showing that it may affect our physiology as well when it comes to chronic inflammation, even at the DNA level. If you suffer from CIDP, an autoimmune chronic inflammation of the nerves, this may be good news for you.
Meditation is widely claimed to help with conditions such as depression, cancer or even autoimmune diseases like arthritis and dementia. But growing evidence is showing that meditation can help with a wide array of chronic inflammatory problems in the body.
In one particular study, researchers studied 35 stressed-out job-seekers. Half the group joined a meditation retreat and the other joined a relaxation retreat with no meditation. The participants had a brain scan before and after the program with blood sample follow up to detect markers of inflammation.
Results? Huffington Post writes:
The brain scans revealed that meditation increased functional connectivity between two brain areas that typically work in opposition: the default mode network (which is involved in mind-wandering and internal reflection) and the executive attention network (key to attention, planning and decision-making). Relaxation training, however, did not have this effect.
The blood samples showed that participants who underwent the mindfulness training had lower levels of Interleukin-6, a biomarker of inflammation, than those who did the relaxation retreat.
The researchers concluded that the changes in functional brain connectivity resulting from the mindfulness program seemed to help the brain manage stress (a known inflammation trigger), and therefore is responsible for the reduced levels of inflammation.
Why is this happening? Why does meditation help more than simple relaxation? The authors of the study provide the following clue:
“Mindfulness meditation teaches participants how to be more open and attentive to their experiences, even difficult ones,” Creswell said. “By contrast, relaxation approaches are good in the moment for making the body feel relaxed, but … [they’re] harder to translate when you are dealing with difficult stressors in your daily life.”
Although relaxation only provides temporary therapy, it does not seem to be as effective when it comes to managing thoughts that are stressful. Learning to manage thoughts and a chaotic mind is one of the most important stress relievers there is which can then in turn have a positive effective on the reduction of inflammation in the body if you suffer from CIDP.
Other studies have also shown that meditation reduces stress by 15% and is more effective than a counseling approach (aka seeing a shrink!).
Another study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison saw that meditation helped reduce chronic inflammation in people who had stopped responding to conventional anti-inflammatory medication.
Meditation is not supposed to replace your medication for your CIDP. It is a helpful exercise that may assist in reducing inflammation in your body which is at the crux of your neuropathic disorder.
Shiraz Abbas is the founder and manager of the CIDP Neuropathy Support Group. He is also one of the main community educators of IVIG therapy. He resides in Fresno, California. Shiraz can be contacted through our free CIDP advice service at 1-855-782-0574.