Ten studies were included in the review: six randomised controlled trials (491 participants) and four non-randomised studies (460 participants). Five studies scored 3 points on the quality assessment scale. Length of follow-up ranged from the end of treatment to three years.
Pain (seven studies): Four studies found significantly greater improvements for mindfulness-based interventions than the comparison group (waiting list or progressive muscle relaxation). One study with three arms (mindfulness-based interventions, CBT and a support group) found mindfulness-based interventions to be superior to the support (educational) group but inferior to CBT. Two further studies found no significant difference between mindfulness-based interventions plus qigong and educational or between mindfulness-based interventions and massage/waiting list.
Depression (six studies): Four studies found significantly greater improvements for mindfulness-based interventions than a comparison group (waiting list or progressive muscle relaxation). But other studies reported no significant benefit for mindfulness-based interventions relative to CBT or an educational support group (whether the mindfulness-based intervention was delivered alone or in combination with qigong).
Further findings on coping with pain, physical function, stress reduction and quality of life were discussed in the article.