A type of mind-body treatment popular in Europe known as Mensendieck somatocognitive therapy can help ease chronic pelvic pain in women, with effects lasting several months after treatment ends, Norwegian researchers report.

Women with chronic pain often experience “somatic dissociation,” or a loss of awareness of their own bodies, Dr. Gro K. Haugstad of the University of Oslo and colleagues note, suggesting that therapies that help restore this awareness could be helpful.

With Mensendieck therapy, patients are instructed on understanding the causes of pain and gradually increasing body movement, “experiencing new body awareness and motor patterns,” the researchers explain. The therapy emphasizes correcting posture, movement, and breathing patterns (breath therapy).

In a previous study, Haugstad and colleagues found that Mensendieck therapy improved symptoms of pain and restored normal movement in a group of women with chronic pelvic pain.

In the study, 40 women with chronic pelvic pain with no apparent biologic cause were randomly assigned to standard care (emotional support and help with other gynecological problems) or standard care plus 10 weeks of Mensendieck therapy.

All of the women in the Mensendieck therapy group saw significant improvements in posture, gait, movement, sitting posture, and respiration, while women in the control group stayed about the same.

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