Mind and Movement

Physical and mental health benefits


ANXIETY Mindfulness training has been shown to clinically reduce symptoms of anxiety, psychological distress and secondary depression (Kabat-Zinn, et al. Am. J Psychiatry 1992). These changes were maintained at 3-year follow-up (Miller et al. Gen. Hosp. Psychiatry 1995).
ASTHMA / RESPIRATORY DISORDERS Relaxation training has been shown to improve the psychological well-being, functional status and frequency of attacks of asthma patients as well as adherence to treatment (Devine 1996). It has been shown to have a beneficial effect on dyspnea and psychological well-being among adults with obstructive pulmonary disease (Devine & Pearcy, Patient Educ. Couns. 1996).
CANCER A randomized trial with cancer outpatients showed Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) was effective in significantly decreasing mood disturbance (65%), including depression, anxiety, anger and confusion, and also in decreasing the symptoms of stress such as cardiopulmonary and gastrointestinal symptoms (Speca, et al. Psychosom. Med. 2000). These changes were sustained at six month follow up (Carlson 2001). Survival rates of both melanoma and metastatic breast cancer patients have been significantly improved by relaxation and meditation training (Fawzy, 1993, Speigal, 1989) and psychological distress was lessened in women with early breast cancer (Bridge et al. British Medical Journal 1988). Anticipatory nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy is also inhibited (Green 1991).
CHRONIC PAIN Mindfulness meditation has been shown to reduce both the experience of pain and its inhibition of patients’ everyday activities. Further, mood disturbance and psychological symptomology (including anxiety and depression) are also reduced. Pain-related drug utilization was decreased and activity levels and self esteem increased. This was in marked contrast to a traditional pain clinic comparison group, which showed no change on these dimensions (Kabat-Zinn Gen. Hosp. Psychiatry 1982, 85). These gains were nearly all maintained at four-year follow-up (Kabat-Zinn 1987).
CORONARY ARTERY DISEASE The addition of meditation training to standard cardiac rehabilitation regimens has been shown to reduce mortality (41% decrease during the first two years following, and 46% reduction in recurrence rates) morbidity, psychological distress, and some biological risk factors (plasma lipids, weight, blood pressure, blood glucose) (Linden et al. Archives of Int. Medicine 1996, Zammara et al. Amer. J. of Cardiology 1996). Meditation practice alone has been shown to reduce exercise-induced myocardial ischemia in patients with coronary disease (Zammara, 1996, Ornish, 1983).
DEPRESSION The skills derived from mindfulness training and cognitive therapy have been shown effective in significantly reducing the recurrence of major depressive episodes in patients who have been treated for depression (Teasdale, et al. Consult. Clin.. Psychol. 2000; Ma and Teasdale, 2004; Segal et al 2002; Teasdale, 2000 & 2002)
DIABETES – TYPE I AND 2 Meditation training significantly lowered glucose levels in patients with Type I and 2 diabetes (Rosenzweig, et al. Alt Th in Health and Medicine, 2007; Nelson, Diabetes Self Mgnt. 2005).
FIBROMYALGIA Mindfulness training resulted in clinically significant improvements in physical condition and both psychological and social spheres (Grossman et al, Psychother. Psychosom 2007; Kaplin, et al. Gen. Hosp. Psychiatry, 1993; Sephton, et al. Arthritis Rheum 2007; Weissbecker 2002).
HEADACHE Meditation has been shown to decrease headache activity (Anastasio, 1987). Mind-body therapies can significantly reduce symptoms of headache (Sierpina, et al Am.Fam. Physician, 2007).
HEALTH RELATED QUALITY OF LIFE MBSR has been shown to significantly improve health-related quality of life. (functional status, well-being, reduced physical symptoms, psychological distress) (Reibel 2001) Mindfulness training has shown to improve chronic pain and stress in the elderly (McBee, 2003)
HYPERTENSION Meditation training has been shown to reduce blood pressure in amounts comparable to the changes that are produced by medication and other lifestyle modifications such as weight loss, sodium restriction, and increased aerobic exercise (Schneider 1955, Lenden & Chambers 1994, Alexander 1994).
IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME Meditation training has been shown to be effective in improving this condition (Keefer & Blanchard, Behavior Research & Ther. 2002; Mullin, et al. Expert Review, Gaston. And Hepatol, 2008).
MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS Training in mindfulness of movement resulted in MS patients reporting improvement over a broad range of symptoms, including balance (Mills & Allen. Gen Hosp Psychiatry 2000).
PSORIASIS Published research has shown that mindfulness meditation increases skin clearing rates four-fold when used in conjunction with phototherapy and photo chemotherapy (Kabat-Zinn, et al. Psychoso. Med 1998).
QUALITY OF LIFE MBSR has been shown to significantly improve health-related quality of life (functional status, well-being, reduced physical symptoms, psychological distress) (Reibel, et al. Gen Hosp Psychiatry 2001).
SLEEP PROBLEMS MBSR training significantly improved quality of sleep (Carlson & Garland, Into J Behav. Med. 2005).
SUBSTANCE ABUSE Research suggests that mindfulness meditation is effective in preventing relapse among substance abusers (Breslin, Zack and McMain, 2002)

SOURCE: Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society, UMass Medical School. “Issues in the Administration of a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program”, 2013, p. 14 (with additions)

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