Background Improving the quality of life is becoming a primary aim in the treatment of patients with chronic rheumatic diseases. In this regard, the management of pain and fatigue is a huge challenge. Hence, our goal is to evaluate whether a multidisciplinary integrative approach (based on yoga, mindfulness and Ayurveda massage) could lead to a quality of life improvement.
Methods Our multidisciplinary integrative approach to systemic rheumatic diseases consists of yoga sessions (120 min classes held once a week for 6 months), mindfulness sessions (60 min classes held once a week for 6 months) and 5 sessions of Ayurveda massage (60 min each). All courses take place inside our hospital. Quality of life (QoL) is measured at baseline and after 6 months by the validated Italian version of the Medical Outcome Study Short Form 36 (SF-36) questionnaire. Long-term effects will be assessed 9 months after the enrollment in all patients completing the program.
Results 35 outpatients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and systemic sclerosis (SSc) were invited to the program. From June 2019, 15 patients were enrolled (7 SLE, 8 SSC). All invited patients expressed high interest in the novel proposed approach. Logistics and distance from the hospital were the primary reasons of the inability to participate in most invited patients. Preliminary data will be completed in February 2020.
Conclusions Although a larger cohort will have to confirm the ongoing study, we are confident that this holistic approach to rheumatic diseases has a high potential in improving the quality of life. All patients referred satisfaction for the project, mainly due to the fact that this experience has dramatically changed their perspective of the hospital: from a facility where medical tests and drug treatments are performed, to a place where they can make new friends and take care of their well-being.
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