Mindfulness of movement as a coping strategy in multiple sclerosis. A pilot study

Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2000 Nov-Dec;22(6):425-31. doi: 10.1016/s0163-8343(00)00100-6.


This study investigated the effectiveness of a short course of mindfulness of movement to help with symptom management in eight people with multiple sclerosis. Progress was compared to a control group who were asked to continue with their current care. Each participant received six individual one-to-one sessions of instruction. They were also provided with audio and videotape aides. Each participant was assessed on a test of balance, pre- and post-intervention, and at 3-month follow-up. All participants completed a rating of change of 22 symptoms relevant to multiple sclerosis. A close relative or friend was also asked to assess independently the degree of change. The mindfulness group reported improvement over a broad range of symptoms. This was verified by the relatives' independent rating and maintained at 3 month follow-up. The control group showed no improvement but instead tended towards a deterioration on many of the items. The physical assessment of balance also showed a significant improvement for the mindfulness group. This improvement was maintained at 3 month follow-up. In conclusion, training in mindfulness of movement appeared to result in improved symptom management for this group of people with multiple sclerosis. This was a pilot study, using small numbers, so the results need to be treated with caution. Several improvements to the experimental design are suggested. The role of individual therapeutic ingredients is discussed.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Awareness*
  • Breathing Exercises*
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Martial Arts*
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement*
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Progressive / physiopathology
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Progressive / psychology*
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Progressive / rehabilitation*
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Postural Balance
  • Surveys and Questionnaires