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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2014, Article ID 140724, 11 pages
Review Article

Mindfulness-Based Therapies in the Treatment of Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders: A Meta-Analysis

Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, 1255 Sheppard Ave East, Toronto, ON, Canada M2K 1E2

Received 4 July 2014; Accepted 19 August 2014; Published 11 September 2014

Academic Editor: Toku Takahashi

Copyright © 2014 Monique Aucoin et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Functional gastrointestinal disorders are highly prevalent and standard treatments are often unsatisfactory. Mindfulness-based therapy has shown benefit in conditions including chronic pain, mood, and somatization disorders. Objectives. To assess the quality and effectiveness reported in existing literature, we conducted a meta-analysis of mindfulness-based therapy in functional gastrointestinal disorders. Methods. Pubmed, EBSCO, and Cochrane databases were searched from inception to May 2014. Study inclusion criteria included randomized, controlled studies of adults using mindfulness-based therapy in the treatment of functional gastrointestinal disorders. Study quality was evaluated using the Cochrane risk of bias. Effect sizes were calculated and pooled to achieve a summary effect for the intervention on symptom severity and quality of life. Results. Of 119 records, eight articles, describing seven studies, met inclusion criteria. In six studies, significant improvements were achieved or maintained at the end of intervention or follow-up time points. The studies had an unclear or high risk of bias. Pooled effects were statistically significant for IBS severity (0.59, 95% CI 0.33 to 0.86) and quality of life (0.56, 95% CI 0.47 to 0.79). Conclusion. Studies suggest that mindfulness based interventions may provide benefit in functional gastrointestinal disorders; however, substantial improvements in methodological quality and reporting are needed.