Listed in Issue 231


HELGASON and SARRIS, (1)Saybrook University, School of Mind-Body Medicine, San Francisco, CA reviewed the use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine by psychiatric patients.


Over half of psychiatric patients use some kind of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, with Mind-Body Medicine (MBM) being the most commonly used collective modality. To date however, to our knowledge, no overarching review exists examining MBM for psychotic disorders.


Thus the purpose of this paper is to present the first review in this area. A MEDLINE search was conducted of articles written in English from 1946 up to January 15, 2011 using a range of MBM and psychotic disorder search terms. Human clinical trials and, where available, pertinent meta-analyses and reviews were included in this paper. Forty-two clinical studies and reviews of MBMs were located, revealing varying levels of evidence. All studies included used MBMs as an adjunctive therapy to usual care, including medication.


Overall, supportive evidence was found for music therapy, meditation and mindfulness techniques. Some positive studies were found for yoga and breathing exercises, general relaxation training, and holistic multi-modality MBM interventions. Due to insufficient data, a conclusion cannot be reached for hypnosis, thermal or EMG biofeedback, dance or drama therapy, or art therapy. No clinical trials were found for guided imagery, autogenic training, journal writing, or ceremony practices. For many techniques, the quality of research was poor, with many studies having small samples, no randomization, and no adequate control.


While the above techniques are likely to be safe and tolerable in this population based on current data, more research is required to decisively assess the validity of applying many MBMs in the mainstream treatment of psychotic disorders.


Helgason C(1), Sarris J. Mind-body medicine for schizophrenia and psychotic disorders: a review of the evidence. Clin Schizophr Relat Psychoses. 7(3):138-48. Oct  2013. doi:


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