Healthy Living

Doctors are Prescribing "Mindfulness" for Fibromyalgia

Doctors are Prescribing "Mindfulness" for Fibromyalgia

There are many types of alternative therapies that can help ease fibromyalgia pain. Some are more traditional, while others are non-conventional. Instead of treating chronic illnesses with medications, doctors would tell the patient to be more "mindful." But, should doctors really prescribe mindfulness?

Here are a few patient stories that show that mindfulness may not be an effective treatment.

Sarah Yahm once believed in mindfulness, but now? She thinks it's a cop-out

Sarah Yahm experienced a series of illnesses and injuries that made it difficult for her to sleep, drive, and work. She basically became a professional patient. Similar to other professions, she took this role seriously. When she went to her doctor appointments, she prepared a list of questions that were carefully researched, read medical journal articles, and detailed her explanations of her varied symptoms.

Her goal was to ensure her doctor took her condition seriously and search comprehensively about treatments for her case. She wanted to know and understand what was wrong with her health and do something about it so that she could live her life somewhat normally.

“Focusing on the present or mindfulness was the same prescription I got from my doctors,” she stated.

Her doctor advised her to download audio files for meditation from the hospital website. She was also told to do deep breathing exercises, though this type of exercise caused her to have abdominal pains. The clinic, however, insisted on practicing mindfulness before any medical interventions. After 2 appointments and a good MRI result, the clinic dismissed her and gave her the responsibility of managing her pain.

Yahm was not really fascinated with the idea of meditation before she experienced health problems. Since her parents were born in the 1960s, they went to Omega Institute and Kripalu when she was still young. She also tried to meditate in college to impress someone. She thought, at first, that the idea of mindfulness was a favorable alternative treatment and more focused on the experience of the patients.

Now, because she was prescribed mindfulness as a form of health management, her perception became a bit different. She believed this treatment was disappointing and had little place in medicine. She was convinced that mindfulness makes physicians less accountable to their patients. Instead, the burden would be transferred to the patients.

Yahm then collected data that showed how women normally didn't reveal some of their symptoms, which ultimately affected how doctors treat their diagnosis, and posted it on a forum for other women. After a couple of hours, she saw over 100 comments that had similar stories of physicians advising mindfulness instead of the prescribed treatment for their diagnosis. 

Read on to learn more real-life accounts on mindfulness and whether or not it is truly an effective treatment for fibromyalgia.