Mindfulness exercises can help decrease the physical and psychological symptoms of sarcoidosis and improve well-being and motivation in patients and caregivers, a small study found.
Sarcoidosis patients, including some who have achieved clinical remission, can experience psychosocial consequences of the disease including depression, anxiety, and feelings of isolation. Coping strategies and methods to reduce stress are needed to improve health-related quality of life.
Interventions based on mindfulness exercises previously have shown to be useful in improving quality of life, memory, and concentration in cancer patients. However, standard mindfulness training consisting of at least eight three-hour sessions may not be feasible in chronically ill patients.
In the study titled, “Feasibility, utility and symptom impact of modified mindfulness training in sarcoidosis,” published in the journal ERJ Open Research, researchers developed and measured the impact of a modified mindfulness-based training exercise aimed at patients with sarcoidosis.
The study involved 26 participants. Of those, 23 had sarcoidosis and three were family members of patients. Participants filled out evaluation forms before and after mindfulness training, which they received while attending a workshop during a sarcoidosis educational day. The evaluation forms included questions that assessed a person’s symptoms, psychological state, degree of focus, well-being, and motivation.
The workshop was 45 minutes and included exercises lasting from 3 to 15 minutes. They focused on “body sensation and breath, with brief exposure to emotion and thought concepts,” researchers noted. During the workshop, participants were also told about the current evidence regarding the impact of mindfulness training on health.
Comparing the answers that participants gave before and after the training, researchers saw significant improvements in well-being and motivation and significant decreases in all physical and psychological symptoms.
Some patients said the exercises were highly beneficial and easy to incorporate into their daily routines. Some also said they were highly likely to seek similar experiences and would recommend it to other patients.
“In conclusion, this study is the first to show that a modified 45-min mindfulness training workshop had immediately measurable benefit and was perceived as a feasible, acceptable and beneficial introduction to routine daily life by people living with sarcoidosis and their caregivers. This model is cost-effective and sustainable as a one-off intervention,” the researchers wrote.
The study does have limitations, including the low number of participants. Also, results were based on a single workshop. Researchers said “further studies with a robust patient-centered end-point model are needed.”
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