Many people on the OMS Program report that meditation is one of the areas they find the hardest to adopt and to stick to. Some say they are just too busy, or they are too fidgety to really stick with meditation for any length of time.
The benefits of meditation
Others swear by it. But does it really add value to the Program? As with all other aspects of the Program, this has been under review in the HOLISM Study, and now we have solid data on which to base recommendations.
Our study found that, for the 2,244 people with MS completing the meditation section of the HOLISM survey, those who meditated at least once a week had considerably better quality of life in terms of mental health (9% better), better cognitive function (10%), and better perception of their own health (13%).
The effects on depression
Physical health was better too, but not by as much. Those meditating at least once a week were also around half as likely to screen positive for depression.
This is a very important consideration for PwMS, given that half of us will be diagnosed with depression at some stage during the illness.
Meditation appears to be a really simple way of reducing that risk. Overall, the study adds considerable weight to previous randomised controlled studies showing the benefits of meditation for PwMS.
Given that it is not an expensive treatment modality, and that it has countless other health benefits, why wouldn't one meditate?
► Taylor KL, Hadgkiss EJ, Jelinek GA, Weiland TJ, Pereira NG, Marck CH, van der Meer DM. Lifestyle factors, medications and demographics associated with depression risk in an international sample of people with multiple sclerosis. BMC Psych 2014;14:327 View pdf