A new online treatment programme called MindfulnessforMS, developed by expert psychologists at NUI Galway has just been launched and aims to help people who are living with primary or secondary progressive Multiple Sclerosis.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS ) is a lifelong disease of the nervous system including the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves, affecting 2.3 million people worldwide with more than 9,000 people living with MS in Ireland. Symptoms of MS range from mild sensory problems to severe disability. The cause of MS has not been identified and, currently, there is no cure.
The Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway, with support from MS Ireland and the Health Research Board, is currently recruiting people with primary or secondary progressive multiple sclerosis to take part in research evaluating the treatment programme. The MindfulnessforMS programme will provide participants with eight online mindfulness-based instruction and practice sessions.
Dr Christopher Dwyer, coordinator of the study at the Centre for Pain Research in NUI Galway, said: “MS affects each individual differently, however, understanding how MS impacts people both physically and psychologically, and how they use the supports available to them plays a role in coping strategies for overcoming symptoms. In recent years, mindfulness has emerged as a popular strategy for psychological wellbeing and research has shown that mindfulness-based psychological interventions can be used to help ease MS-related symptoms, including fatigue and anxiety.”
Online interventions have emerged as a popular platform for such programmes, as many people have access to the internet and, perhaps more importantly, because people can log in and practice mindfulness from the safety and comfort of their own home, in a potentially cost-effective manner, without needing to schedule appointments and meet face-to-face with an instructor.
The free online sessions within the MindfulnessforMS programme will focus on aiding participants to conduct mindfulness with respect to their attention and awareness of their own thought process. Participants will be provided with instructions on a range of paced activities to encourage helpful coping responses.
People who take part in the MindfulnessforMS trial will not need to attend any clinic or NUI Galway at any stage. Materials are tailored for those wishing to learn effective ways of managing their MS.
For further information, visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/centre-for-pain-research/
To participate in the programme, please email your name, phone number and details of your MS to [email protected]. GPs or healthcare practitioners who are interested in referring suitable patients to the trial can also use these contact details.