Integrative Care
Research News

Meditation or training may cut frequency of UTIs

19 September, 2012 by David Finer

Two months of daily meditation or exercise markedly reduced the frequency of upper respirator tract infections, UTI compared to a control group Meditation cut the number of associated sick days buy 76 percent, and training buy 48 percent, according to a US study of 154 individuals.

The study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison was funded by NCCAM and published in Annals of Family Medicine.

All the observed changes were not statistically significant but they were clinically relevant, the authors conclude.

UTI are common
Viral UTIs like influensa are extremely common and cost society large sums in lost school and work days. Previous research has suggested that people who improve their general physical and mental wellbeing also strengthen their defense systems against infection.

The study design was such that 154 individuals, 50 years of age or more, were randomly assigned to one of three groups – a mindfulness meditation group, an exercise group and a control group put on a waiting list.

The meditation group was trained in mindfulness-based stress reduction. The exercise group did moderately intensive training using training bikes, treadmills and other equipment and were given fast walking routines to do as “homework”. Both interventions were carried out as 2.5 hourly group exercises plus 45 minutes of daily exercise at home. In all, the study lasted eight weeks.

Patient self-assessed infection severity was complemented by clinical tests. Patients were also asked to respond to psychosocial survey questions, to report any contacts they had with the health care system and if they had to be on sick leave absence from school or work.

Reduced rate of infection
The researchers registered a substantial reduction in UTI infections in the exercise group and still greater improvements in the mindfulness meditation group. All the improvements were not statistically significant, but most were clinically significant, the researchers say.

In comparison with the control group, the exercise had 48 percent less and the meditation group 76 percent fewer UTI-related sick leave days. The authors note that the results are particularly noteworthy given that so far no measures except hand hygiene have demonstrated effectiveness against the spread of UTIs. They also write that more research is needed to confirm the associations found in the study.

David Finer


Comments are closed.