Mindfulness for Chronic Dizziness: Update and New Resources

Mindfulness for Chronic Dizziness: Update and New Resources

Debbie Cane, Lecturer in Audiology and Senior Clinical Scientist 


Following the publication in Audacity May 2016 of my patient’s experience of the use of mindfulness in patients with chronic dizziness, I was asked to update readers in this area. It is interesting that the Barany Society have recently published criteria for the diagnosis of persistent postural perceptual dizziness, [1] but research on the optimal management of this condition (and other chronic dizziness) still seems to be lacking.


In December I was privileged to take part in a live panel discussion with colleague Joey Remenyi on ‘Mechanisms and management of chronic dizziness’ as part of the BSA Global Brilliancy Online conference.  Joey also delivered a recorded lecture on this subject (both available from the BSA). Joey is a hugely experienced clinician who uses mindfulness along with many other techniques (many delivered on line) to empower patients with chronic dizziness and tinnitus to lead their own recovery. I encourage clinicians who work with this patient group to look at her resources, and how her patients have benefitted from her online programme. [2]


On a personal note I have become qualified as a Breathworks mindfulness teacher, and have led two Mindfulness for Health [3] courses specifically tailored to the needs of patients with chronic dizziness. Following this, and to help raise awareness amongst patients, I was asked by Breathworks to write some patient- friendly information for their website. [4]


Although I have no formal research on the courses, feedback from the patients who have completed these led courses, along with my own observations, continues to suggest that there is much in this programme that they find useful. This includes:


Most importantly the programme seems to help patients to slowly learn to build a different relationship with their symptoms and to be able to restart some of the activities they have stopped for fear of exacerbating their dizziness- even if the dizziness persists. Patients also report valuing being part of a positive supportive group of people who share similar symptoms and experiences. This in turn is able to reduce the feeling of isolation, and ‘not being understood’ that many patients with chronic dizziness report.


In summary then, there is still little awareness of and research on what some clinicians feel are the potential benefits of mindfulness in the often difficult- to-rehabilitate group of patients with chronic dizziness. I hope this update may encourage clinicians who work with these patients to investigate these techniques, and ultimately to promote research in this area.


[1] Diagnostic criteria for persistent postural-perceptual dizziness (PPPD): Consensus document of the committee for the Classification of Vestibular Disorders of the Bárány Society. Staab JP et al. J Vestib Res. 2017;27(4)
[2] https://www.seekingbalance.com.au
[3] http://www.breathworks-mindfulness.org.uk/mindfulness-for-health
[4] http://www.breathworks-mindfulness.org.uk/mindfulness-for-health/long-term-health-conditions/dizziness