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Lotus Therapy

Rating

5 Star

Lotus Therapy

Our Review Summary

This is a well-balanced report providing the reader with information on a new application of an old practice, i.e. mindfulness meditation for a variety of indications (mainly psychiatric). There is good information on this relatively new trend in medicine, and an appropriate tempering of any over-enthusiam for the practice. The journalist should be commended for interviewing a range of mindfulness experts, clinicians and patients, as these perspectives enriched the story.

The story does an excellent job balancing comments from proponents of mindfulness therapies with summaries of the evidence of this practice.  The story also discusses caveats that the practice may be useful as part of an integrative treatment plan, but evidence suggests it is not a panacea for depression or anxiety, and it should be used with caution (or not at all) with some patients.  

The story notes that mindfulness training in psychotherapy and for the management of chronic conditions is not standardized; thus, practitioners may have different interpretations of the practice in the clinical setting. The article does a great job explaining elements of the practice and listing resources (in the form of books, experts,  training centers/trials and home-based practices).  Readers could practice mindfulness meditation or learn more about related practices on their own based on information presented in the article.

Criteria

Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Satisfactory

Cost of treatment is not mentioned, but the story includes an excellent sidebar noting additional (free or low-cost) forms of mindfullness therapies and their demonstrated benefit  to date. The story also adequately describes the practice and provides resources for personal practice. It would still have been helpful to hear a range of costs for therapy (and typical number of sessions for the patient to master the technique) for a common problem, such as anxiety disorder.

Does the story adequately quantify the benefits of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Satisfactory

The story notes the evidence of potential benefit for some patients, and a lack of evidence for use  of mindfulness mediation with certain populations.  However, benefit from psychotherapy is difficult to quantify as endpoints are not always standardized.

Does the story adequately explain/quantify the harms of the intervention?

Satisfactory

The story alludes to the harms of mindfulness mediation for some patients who have had fewer than 3 episodes of depression (according to one study). The story also notes the general harms of a new practice becoming a fad when there are few standardized training programs, and it has not been studied long enough for all conditions for which it is currently being promoted.

Does the story seem to grasp the quality of the evidence?

Satisfactory

The story synthesizes evidence from several studies of mindfulness in mental health treatment and for the management of menopausal symptoms and chronic pain.  The story appropriately pairs the claims of mindfulness experts/researchers with available evidence from clinical studies. The writer did a particularly nice job exploring the strength of the evidence for this type of treatment. The story notes that the positive role of mindfulness meditation in patients with depression and anxiety is borne out in some studies, but not all.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Satisfactory

The story does not engage in disease mongering, but attempts to provide balanced information about the growing use of mindfulness meditation in psychotherapy and management of chronic pain and stress-related conditions.

Does the story use independent sources and identify conflicts of interest?

Satisfactory

The story does an excellent job balancing comments from several leading proponents of mindfulness therapies with summaries of the evidence of this practice in clinical trials. The story discusses caveats that the practice may be useful as part of an integrative treatment plan; however, evidence suggests it is not a panacea for depression or anxiety, and it should be used with caution (or not at all) with some patients.  The journalist should be commended for the range of mindfulness experts, clinicians and patients interviewed in the article. This is a well-balanced report providing the reader with good information on a trend in medicine, but appropriately tempering over-enthusiam for the practice with available evidence. 

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Satisfactory

The story does an excellent job describing the practice of mindfulness mediation, as well as the utility and purpose of mindfulness therapies in a clinical setting. The notes that mindfulness is typically compared with  traditional cognitive therapy, another treatment option. The sidebar listing meditative therapies and evidence of their relative benefit is an excellent addition to the article.

Does the story establish the availability of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Satisfactory

The story notes that mindfulness training in psychotherapy and for the management of chronic conditions is not standardized; thus, practicioners may have different interpretations of the practice in the clinical setting.  The story notes that practitioners who use elements of mindfulness meditation and related therapies may do so with different types of patients and for different conditions; there is not yet agreement or clear evidence for which patients are most helped by mindfulness mediation.  The article does a good job of explaining elements of the practice and listing resources (in the form of books, experts, clinical training centers and accessible home-based practices). Readers could practice or learn more about mindfulness mediation on their own based on information presented in the article.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Satisfactory

The story provides an historical perspective of mindfulness practices and discusses how the practice was popularized by Western practitioners.  The story notes that incorporating mindfulness meditation or elements of the practice into psychotherapy has become more popular, but the value of this practice still needs to be studied, especially with more vulnerable patients.

Does the story appear to rely solely or largely on a news release?

Satisfactory

The story does not rely on a press release and there is a great deal of independent reporting.

Total Score: 10 of 10 Satisfactory

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