Psychological interventions for the management of restless legs syndrome (RLS) have yet to be thoroughly investigated. The aim of the present pilot study was to investigate whether mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) can be used as a feasible and acceptable treatment option for the RLS patient population. Eight participants (four men and four women, with ages ranging from 44 to 67 years; M = 56.28, SD = 8.11) seeking treatment for RLS at a sleep clinic attended a 6-week MBSR group program. Five of these participants also participated in a focus group, 3 months post-intervention, to provide their experiences and opinions of the program. The findings revealed group and individual improvements in RLS symptom severity (d = 0.75), RLS-specific quality of life (d = 1.09), sleep quality (d = 1.47), and daytime sleepiness (d = 1.15). Results also revealed significant reductions in general psychopathology (d = 1.96), and overall significant improvement in mindfulness (d = 2.00) and mental health status post-intervention (d = 2.12) with stable improvements at a 3-month follow-up. Qualitative findings showed that participants found the program to be highly beneficial. The findings of the current study suggest that MBSR could be a promising treatment option in the management of RLS and associated conditions. This proof-of-concept study provides a strong rationale for further research to examine mindfulness-based interventions for RLS using larger sample sizes and randomized controlled trials.
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Bablas, V., Yap, K., Cunnington, D. et al. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for Restless Legs Syndrome: a Proof of Concept Trial. Mindfulness 7, 396–408 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-015-0457-9
- Mindfulness-based stress reduction
- Restless legs syndrome
- Sleep disorder