A study by the Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital looks into the link between stress levels and multiple sclerosis.

A recent study by the Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) indicates how a low-stress, positive mind-body attitude could reduce the need for healthcare services by up to 43 per cent.

The paper’s authors noted that stress-related illnesses, such as anxiety and depression, are the third-highest causes of health expenditures in the United States after heart disease and cancer (which also are affected by stress). Data was analysed from more than 4,400 participants to the 3RP (BHI Relaxation Response Resiliency program) from 2006 to 2014, and compared before and after their participation and against a demographically matched control group of almost 13,150 RPDR (Research Patient Data Registry of Partners Healthcare) Partners patients over a similar two year period The study, based at MGH’s Institute for Technology Assessment and the Benson-Henry Institute (BHI) for Mind Body Medicine, found that individuals in the relaxation-response program used fewer health care services in the year after their participation than in the preceding year.

Our study’s primary finding is that programs that train patients to elicit the relaxation response — specifically those taught at the BHI — can also dramatically reduce health care utilization,” said James E. Stahl of the MGH Institute for Technology Assessment, who led the study.

“These programs promote wellness and, in our environment of constrained health care resources, could potentially ease the burden on our health delivery systems at minimal cost and at no real risk.”

Professor George Jelinek's Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis recovery program has always recommended stress management as one of the vital lifestyle changes in managing MS, alongside regular exercise, receiving adequate sunlight and vitamin D, medication (when needed) and switching to a healthy, OMS-friendly diet.

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