The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Effect of breathing rate on pain and emotion in women with fibromyalgia

    Researchers at Arizona State University, in Tempe studied the effects of breathing rate following thermal pain in women with fibromyalgia syndrome.

    First, the details.

    • 27 women with fibromyalgia syndrome and 25 age-matched healthy control women were exposed to low and moderate thermal pain pulses during paced breathing at their normal rate and one-half their normal rate.

    And, the results.

    • Slow breathing reduced pain intensity and unpleasantness, particularly for moderate vs mild pain vs normal breathing.
    • The effects of slow breathing on pain were less reliable for women with fibromyalgia vs healthy women.
    • Influence of “affect” on the response to slow breathing
      • “Affect” describes whether a person is in a positive or negative mood.
      • Slow breathing decreased negative affect following thermal pain for both groups vs normal breathing.
      • It increased positive affect only for healthy women with high negative affect.
      • Participants who reported higher levels of positive affect prior to the study showed greater decreases in negative affect as a result of slow versus normal breathing.

    The bottom line?

    The authors concluded that the “findings provide support for prior reports on the benefits of yogic breathing and mindful Zen meditation for pain and depressed affect.”

    However, they also caution that patients with chronic pain may require guidance in order to obtain benefit from reduced breathing rates.

    Another recent study included breathing as part of a more comprehensive program fibromyalgia and reported improved flexibility and reduced impact of the illness.

    1/19/10 20:25 JR

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