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29-08-2017 | ORIGINAL PAPER | Uitgave 2/2018

Mindfulness 2/2018

The Effect of Mindfulness and Acupuncture on Psychological Health in Veterans: an Exploratory Study

Tijdschrift:
Mindfulness > Uitgave 2/2018
Auteurs:
Megan S. Wheeler, Carol R. Glass, Diane B. Arnkoff, Patrick Sullivan, Amanda Hull

Abstract

iRest Yoga Nidra® is a guided mindfulness approach that encourages relaxation, focused attention, experience of joy, observation of opposite feelings and emotions, non-judgment, and integration of these principles into daily life. iRest was developed for the military population, but the research on its effectiveness is in its infancy. This exploratory study examined the effectiveness of iRest in combination with acupuncture compared to acupuncture alone in improving psychological health in Veterans. The combined treatment yielded significant psychological benefit in depression, psychological symptom severity, depression or tension due to pain, and emotional interference with life activities, while the acupuncture-only treatment did not. Although both conditions showed significant decreases in perceived stress, the effect size for the treatment group was medium to large compared to a small effect size for those receiving acupuncture only. The combined treatment condition, iRest plus acupuncture, also demonstrated clinically meaningful change, with significant decreases in the number of Veterans meeting criteria for mild, moderate, and severe depression. Finally, the combined treatment was equally beneficial independent of factors such as age, gender, or race. Given the pervasiveness of psychological distress and depression in the Veteran population and the efficiency with which these group treatments can be provided, these findings lend preliminary support for the extension of complementary and integrative health offerings including iRest and acupuncture into more Veterans Administration hospitals across the country to improve military mental health. Indeed, the encouraging results of this exploratory study underscore the importance of expanded research on iRest and acupuncture for the treatment of psychological health.

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