There are many forms of movement meditation and all are useful in undertaking a balanced management plan for those with fibromyalgia and pain.
Movement meditation practices include:
- Tai Chi
- Walking meditation
A recent research article demonstrated that routine practice of qigong (chi gung) seemed to have significantly improved pain in patients with fibromyalgia and lessened the impact of the disorder.
Sustained benefits were reported in sleep, physical and mental function.
In this study the type of qigong used was Chaoyi Fanhuan Qigong. This form includes seven specific movements and related exercises to promote relaxation and distribution of “qi energy” throughout the body.
Participants had fibromyalgia and in addition 44% had back pain, 58% had headaches, osteoarthritis in 38%, and rheumatoid arthritis in 9%.
Change the brain -neuroplasticity
Research has indicated that meditation leads to changes in both the function and structure of the brain. To achieve this requires practise.
In this study participants returned for 2 hour-long practice sessions once each week for 2 months. They were required to perform the movements and exercises at home for 45 to 60 minutes each day for 6 months.
Most of the participants were women. Mean age was 52, and disease duration averaged 9.6 years.
Over the 8 weeks of the classes patients reported practicing for a mean time of 4.9 hours each week. By 4 months and 6 months, respectively, mean weekly practice times were 2.9 and 2.7 hours.
After 8 weeks of regular practice of this “meditative movement”, the participants were assessed using the 100-point Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire ( FIQ) which quantitates the effects of multiple disease components including pain, function, sleep, and psychological distress. In those undertaking quigong practice there was a significant decrease in FIQ of 18.45 points compared with a change of 0.93 points in controls.
The FIQ scores increased slightly after 4 and 6 months, but remained significantly decreased compared to baseline results.
Pain as measured on a 10-point scale decreased by 1.55 points, compared with a change of only 0.02 points in controls.
Sleep quality and physical and mental well-being also improved.
The 52% of participants who practiced 5 hours each week had higher rates of clinically important differences across the various domains.
Reference: Lynch M, et al “A randomized controlled trial of qigong for fibromyalgia” Arthritis Res Ther 2012;
Movement and stillness meditation is recommended for all individuals with chronic pain conditions. Both are taught in our More Than Meditation Course.