We have so many patients, and even friends and family, who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Multiple drugs are available to treat it, but often times they don’t always help. So if drugs aren’t working for you, could Yoga?
A study done here at the University of North Carolina, one of the top 3 best centers for IBS in the country, looked at whether mindfulness and yoga can help with the symptoms of IBS.
We’ve talked about yoga and alternative therapy before for treatment of fibromyalgia. It’s even related to the cognitive behavioral therapy, which we’ve discussed, where you address thoughts that you are having, and how that makes your body feel. We know that there is a mind-body connection in Irritable Bowel Syndrome and this study done at UNC looks to see how yoga influences that connection.
The researchers took 75 women, and they received either mindfulness and yoga training, or got assigned to a support group alone. What’s interesting here that we don’t see very often in studies, is that both groups were expected to get better, and both groups did indeed get better. The only difference was the mindfulness, meditation and gentle yoga group’s scores improved 100 points on a scale about their symptoms, as compared to only 30 points for the support group participants. This seems clinically relevant to us.
We think yoga is something that could be recommended for many patients because there are no downsides or negative side effects. The yoga classes, or similar mind-body training classes, may cost money, but it appears the investment may be worth it for many people.