The objectives of this systematic review were to: 1) characterize mind-body medicine studies that
assessed immune outcomes, 2) evaluate the quality of mind-body medicine studies measuring immune system effects, and
3) systematically evaluate the evidence for mind-body interventions effect on immune system outcomes.
Data Sources: Data sources included MEDLINE, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Alt HealthWatch, Allied and Complementary
Medicine Database, Cochrane Library, Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects, Health Technology Assessment Database.
Selection criteria included publications in any language, all study designs and participant types, mindbody
interventions, and any immune outcome. Quantitative and qualitative data were extracted and quality assessments
were made independently by 2 reviewers. Meta-analysis was not possible due to study heterogeneity. The Natural Standard
evidence-based validated grading rationale™ was employed to evaluate the evidence.
111 studies with 4,777 subjects were reviewed, 81 of which were RCT’s. The three largest intervention type categories
were Relaxation Training (n=25), Cognitive Based Stress Management (n=22), and Hypnosis (n=21). Half the studies
were conducted with healthy subjects (n=51). HIV (n=18), cancer (n=13) and allergies (n=7) were the most prominent
conditions examined in the studies comprising of non-healthy subjects. Natural killer cell and CD4 T lymphocyte measures
were the most commonly studied outcomes.
Most categories had limited or inconclusive evidence. Relaxation training had the strongest scientific evidence
for affecting immune outcomes. Immunoglobulin A had the strongest scientific evidence for positive effects from
mind-body medicine. Issues for mind-body medicine studies with immune outcomes are discussed and recommendations
are made to help improve future clinical trials.