Meditation Techniques In The Rehabilitation Process Of Injured Athletes

This study was conducted to examine the role of a meditation technique known as Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) as a psychological intervention during the rehabilitation process of injured athletes. Its objective was to investigate the positive effects of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction on injured athletes throughout their recovery period. For example, the reduction in the perception of pain, anxiety and stress. As well as the increase in pain tolerance and mindfulness. In addition, the study aimed to improve the mood of the injured athletes. The study consisted of twenty injured athletes (14 males and 6 females) between the ages of 21 to 45 years who had experienced serious injuries which prevented them from partaking in sport for a period between 3 to 6 months. Prior to their injuries, the participants were all university level athletes. The participants played various sports including basketball, kickboxing and football. The athletes also sustained several types of injuries such as ankle, wrist, elbow, shoulder, and injuries. During their absence from sport between 3 to 6 months, all athletes received physiotherapy treatment at a therapy clinic specific to their injury. Furthermore, the experiment consisted of an intervention and a control group. The control and intervention groups both completed the cold pressor test (CPT) during week 0 of the experiment to determine their pain tolerance. The CPT test involves the participants submerging one hand in a bucket of cold water between 0 and 2 degrees celsius for a max of 8 min. The athletes were told to keep their hand in the bucket for as long as they can. The time between submersion and removal of the hand is the pain tolerance measure. Individual sessions were performed with each athlete because group sessions were not convenient due to their availability and physiotherapy treatments.

This psychological intervention is a type of imagery which included meditation exercises. The athletes spent around 15 minutes completing three types of questionnaires called Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS), Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS), and Profile of Mood States (POMS). After that they took 10 to 15 minutes to share their ideas about mindfulness meditation. Then, the participants completed 30 minutes of meditation with a researcher. This session included mindful breathing, body scan and sitting/lying down meditation. At the end of each meditation session, the athletes were asked to complete the three questionnaires for the second time. After the questionnaires, the participants shared their thoughts about mindfulness meditation practice once again. In addition, the athletes were required to listen to a CD guide of meditation at home and practice for 20 minutes per day. The CD included sitting/lying down meditation, mindful breathing, body scan meditation, mindful eating, mindful walking meditation, meditation for anxiety and stress, mindful lying yoga, mindful standing and yoga. These steps were completed throughout week 1 and 8. All athletes attended the approximately 90 minute session on the same day of each week. They also repeated the cold pressor test at the end of the experiment which as during week 9. The frequency of mindful states in the lives of the athletes were measured using the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS) which is a 15 item questionnaire. It is measured using a six-point scale from one being almost always, to two being almost never. Higher scores indicated greater mindfulness. This was used to acquire the level of mindfulness of each participant throughout the 8 weeks of the study. Moreover, the DASS was used to determine the level of anxiety and stress during the 8 weeks. Situational anxiety, autonomic arousal, nervous arousal, irritability, and having difficulty relaxing were all assessed.

The athletes rated these using a scale ranging from 0 meaning it did not apply to them at all, to three meaning it applied to them very much, or most of the time. Lastly, the POMS was also completed by the participants before and after each session during MBSR across the 8 weeks. They answered this survey according to how they felt at the time and selected from a scale of zero which is not at all, to four which is extremely. There weren’t any significant changes in the pain perception scores between the intervention and control groups. During week 0, there wasn’t an exceptional difference in the pain tolerance score between the intervention and control group. However, there was a significant contrast between the groups at week 9. The intervention group also scored higher scores on the MAAS compared to the control group. Furthermore, general changes in mood were seen across a table for session and time for depression, fatigue, tension and confusion scores. The DASS also indicated a significant decrease in anxiety and stress levels across several sessions. I am fairly confident in the findings being reported. During the 8-week program of MBSR, the intervention group was seen to have an increase in pain tolerance compared to those in the control group. In addition, mindful awareness increased significantly in the intervention group after MBSR. There was also a decrease in mood for depression, anxiety and fatigue. These are all pieces of evidence that suggest MBSR can be used by injured athletes to aid them during their sport rehabilitation process in increasing their pain tolerance and mindfulness. However, there are many limitations to this study that need to be considered. For instance, it was challenging to compare different categories of injury since this study consisted of various types and levels of sport injuries. Additional research is required to validate and support the findings of the study since the sample size comprised of only 20 injured athletes. The athlete's participation may have been affected because of the many demands during the MBSR. There are both limitations to this study as well as evidence that prove its effectiveness.

Therefore, I remain reasonably confident in the results of this study. The purpose of this study was to examine Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and its benefits in the rehabilitation process of injured athletes. Athletes had positive mood changes, an increase in mindfulness and pain tolerance according to the outcomes of this study. This indicates that this type of imagery is effective for improving mindfulness and in reducing pain tolerance of injured athletes in a rehab setting.

13 January 2020
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