Midweek Meditations for ALS Patients and Other Mindful News

ALS Association is now offering mindfulness activities for patient populations

Dagmar Munn avatar

by Dagmar Munn |

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I’m excited to share good news about the growing access by ALS patients to the benefits of mindfulness and meditation. As readers of this column likely know, I’ve been on a quest to increase awareness in the ALS community about these wonderful mind-body practices. Being mindful and meditating have certainly helped me ever since I began the practice and started teaching it to others more than 20 years ago. It has also been beneficial for the past 12 years I have been living with ALS.

As a quick summary of my background in the field, I was introduced to mindfulness in the 1980s, when, as the manager of a hospital-based wellness program, I helped teach a course developed by biologist Jon Kabat-Zinn, called “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction.” I’ve since written numerous columns about mindfulness and even delivered a presentation at an “Ask the Experts” seminar sponsored by the Arizona chapter of the ALS Association (ALSA) in 2017.

So the good news is that I’ve discovered that the ALS Association is offering several unique ways for its patient populations to participate in mindfulness, meditation, and even modified yoga. Kudos!

Following is a rundown of my lively correspondence with Anne Supplee, the care services manager in Minneapolis, about what they’re doing and how you can join them:

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Midweek meditations

Midweek Meditations began several years ago as a call-in meditation session over the phone. It has since moved to Facebook and is available to anyone. Supplee told me she created the activity to give those in her ALS community a pause in the middle of the week.

The five-minute meditations are voice-led and accompanied by soothing nature sounds and music. They are posted every Wednesday at 11 a.m. Central time on the two chapters’ Facebook pages (MN/ND/SD and Wisconsin).

Supplee said 71 people attended a recent online Midweek Meditation, with many leaving positive comments.

A series of 64 Midweek Meditations from March 2020 through July 2021 is also available on YouTube.

Adaptive yoga

Adaptive yoga is a topic presented annually at the MN/ND/SD chapter’s support group meetings. These are led by a care services coordinator and yoga instructor from Mind, Body Solutions.

There’s more

The ALSA chapter goes even further by beginning each of their weekly multistate care services coordinator meetings with a short mindfulness activity. The purpose is to give the coordinators time to still their minds and mentally step away from their responsibilities of always being present for ALS patients, their families, and caregivers.

When I asked Supplee how people responded to the mindfulness activities, she said the following:

“Someone living with ALS offered that this was something she could invite her spouse to join. The spouse did so much for her, and the invitation to meditate was something she could do. Others have liked something specific about the meditations. Another person told me that she had gone back to the warm and cozy cabin in the woods she’d imagined (during the meditation) several times over the week when she needed a mental break from a busy schedule. Most just appreciate the permission to take a moment for themselves. It is a true act of kindness to oneself.”

Wow. I am impressed. Previously, it seemed I’d only been able to write about research on the benefits of mindfulness for ALS patients but never found any real-world applications. Now we have a shining example of how offering these programs can happen. I hope that this news will motivate more pALS to practice mindfulness and meditation.

Together, we can help each other learn to live well while living with ALS.

Note: ALS News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of ALS News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to ALS.


Len Jax avatar

Len Jax

I, too, have practiced and taught meditation in the past - and these are wonderful!! They are a brief respite from reality that we all need! Thank you for sharing.

Dagmar Munn avatar

Dagmar Munn

Thank you for your comment Len Jax :-) Wishing you a good day today1

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