Jon Kabat-Zinn (né Kabat) (born June 5, 1944) is Professor of Medicine Emeritus and founding director of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Kabat-Zinn was a student of Zen Master Seung Sahn and a founding member of Cambridge Zen Center. His practice of yoga and studies with Buddhist teachers led him to integrate their teachings with those of Western science. He teaches mindfulness meditation as a technique to help people cope with stress, anxiety, pain and illness. A stress reduction program created by Kabat-Zinn is offered at medical centers, hospitals, and health maintenance organizations.
Life and work
Kabat-Zinn was born in 1944, to Elvin Kabat, a biomedical scientist, and Sally Kabat, a painter. Kabat-Zinn received his Ph.D. in molecular biology in 1971 from MIT where he studied under Salvador Luria, Nobel Laureate in medicine.
Kabat-Zinn is the founder and former Executive Director of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He is also the founder (1979) and former director of its renowned Stress Reduction Clinic and Professor of Medicine emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
Kabat-Zinn began teaching the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) at the Stress Reduction Clinic in 1979. MBSR is an eight week course which combines meditation and Hatha yoga to help patients cope with stress, pain, and illness by using moment-to-moment awareness. Kabat-Zinn and colleagues have studied the effects of practising moment-to-moment awareness on the brain, and how it processes emotions, particularly under stress, and on the immune system. Over 200 medical centers and clinics in the US and elsewhere now use the MBSR model.
In 1993, Kabat-Zinn’s work in the Stress Reduction Clinic was featured in Bill Moyers's PBS special Healing and the Mind and in the book by Moyers of the same title. Kabat-Zinn and his colleagues published a research paper demonstrating in a small clinical trial a fourfold effect of the mind on the rate of skin clearing in patients with psoriasis undergoing ultraviolet light therapy. A more recent paper shows positive changes in brain activity, emotional processing under stress, and immune function in people taking an MBSR course in a corporate work setting in a randomized clinical trial.
Kabat-Zinn conducts annual mindfulness retreats for business leaders and innovators, and with his colleagues at the Center For Mindfulness, conducts training retreats for health professionals in MBSR.
Kabat-Zinn is the author or co-author of scientific papers on mindfulness and its clinical applications. He has written Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness (Delta, 1991), and Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life (Hyperion, 1994). He co-authored with Myla Kabat-Zinn Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting, (Hyperion, 1997). Other books include Coming to Our Senses (Hyperion, 2005), The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness, co-authored with J. Mark G. Williams, John D. Teasdale and Zindel V. Segal (Guilford, 2007), and The Mind's Own Physician: A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama on the Healing Power of Meditation, co-authored with Richard Davidson (New Harbinger, 2012) (based on the 13th Mind and Life Institute Dialogue in 2005).
- Full catastrophe living: using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain, and illness, by Jon Kabat-Zinn. Delta Trade Paperbacks, 1991. ISBN 0-385-30312-2.
- Full catastrophe living: how to cope with stress, pain and illness using mindfulness meditation. Piatkus, 1996. ISBN 0-7499-1585-4.
- The power of meditation and prayer, with Sogyal Rinpoche, Larry Dossey, Michael Toms. Hay House, 1997. ISBN 1-56170-423-7.
- Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting, with Myla Kabat-Zinn. Hyperion, 1997. ISBN 978-0-7868-8314-1.
- Mindfulness Meditation for Everyday Life. Piatkus, 2001. ISBN 0-7499-1422-X.
- Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life. Hyperion Books, 2005. ISBN 1-4013-0778-7.
- Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness. Hyperion, 2006. ISBN 0-7868-8654-4.
- The mindful way through depression: freeing yourself from chronic unhappiness, by J. Mark G. Williams, John D. Teasdale, Zindel V. Segal, Jon Kabat-Zinn. Guilford Press, 2007. ISBN 1593851286.
- Arriving at Your Own Door. Piatkus Books, 2008. ISBN 0-7499-2861-1.
- Letting Everything Become Your Teacher: 100 Lessons in Mindfulness. Dell Publishing Company, 2009. ISBN 0-385-34323-X.
- Horstman, Judith (2010). The Scientific American Brave New Brain. San Francisco, Calif.: John Wiley & Sons. p. 33. ISBN 978-0-470-37624-9 0470376244 Check
- "What is the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Course?".
- Kabat-Zinn et al., Psychosomatic Medicine 60:625-623 (1998)
- Davidson, Kabat-Zinn, et al. Psychosomatic Medicine 65: 564-570 (2003)
- "Jon Kabat-Zinn bio". Mind and Life Institute.
- Gesund durch Meditation p330 and 331 the German translation of Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain and Illness