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Expat Medical Insurance News: Research performed into mindfulness exercises and arthritis

Expatriates receiving help for arthritis or rheumatoid joint disease under international health insurance policies may wish to focus on experiencing what is going on at the present moment.

A small study published in the Annals of Rheumatic Disease found doing these so-called "mindfulness exercises" reduced feelings of fatigue and stress associated with this ailment.

In the research, which involved an analysis of 73 individuals with painful joint conditions aged between 20 and 70, participants were randomly split into two groups.

One of these underwent mindfulness sessions, which involved addressing topics such as limitations and emotions such as joy, sorrow and anger.

Furthermore, guided imagery, drawing, music and other creative exercises were undertaken by the research subjects.

This encouraged people to concentrate on their emotions and feelings, which they would share with others.

The second group were given standard care and were provided with a CD containing similar exercises, which they could use when they wanted.

Participants reported no change in disease activity, pain levels or the ability to articulate emotions, but there were notable drops in feelings of stress.

The intervention group also had lower levels of fatigue, which could indicate they incorporated mindfulness exercises into their daily lives.

"There is therefore a need for complementary interventions that enhance individuals' health-promoting resources and help them adjust to their disease," the researchers stated.

Although methods to treat rheumatoid arthritis have improved in recent years, these are not as successful for people who have more established forms of the illness.

This means many sufferers have to make significant lifestyle changes, which can impact their quality of life, as the disease can only be partially controlled.

Previous attempts to deal with the negative emotional impact of arthritis using psychological and educational strategies have tended to be short-term in their scope, the report authors declared.

Poor choices in footwear are linked to the development of this disease, an investigation led by Professor Keith Rome from AUT University in Auckland, New Zealand and published in the journal Arthritis Care & Research from the American College of Rheumatology indicated.

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