In a case study published in The Journal of Alternative Medicine (2005; 11 , 275-84), a significant relationship was found between mind-body therapies and a patient's recovery from a skin condition known as dermatomyositis. Since this condition is affected by the strength of the immune system, the researchers concluded that the benefits seen in the case study support the growing evidence that mind-body techniques improve immune system function.
Researchers monitored the patient over a 294-day period, during which she practiced meditation and visual imagery. In this time, she recovered without any conventional therapy, such as prescriptive drugs--a low-probability outcome. Researchers recommend further study on a larger scale to determine whether low-cost mind-body therapies can provide relief to all patients with dermatomyositis or to other patients with conditions that involve autoimmune diseases.